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412 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 sauna of Benthamic exposition, the short concluding chapter (which is slightly marred by the admittedly anachronistic comparison of Bentham to B.F. Skinner). Some flaws must be mentioned. It is simply a fact that no one emerges from the Bentham manuscripts unscarred, including Long, who has laboured more than anyone else on what he designates the 'Preparatory Manuscripts: which crop up like King Charles's Head throughout the book. (Without, alas, any guidance as to the proper reading of the phrenological bumps, the editorial apparatus of brackets and slashes being unexplained. And see also the unhelpful description of the changes in the passage printed on pp 84-5.) The fault is most certainly excusable, especially in default of a reliable published canon (Long attempts an apology for Bentham on that account [see p 691 and nearly brings it off - but then Bentham never quite brought it off), but some readers will find the road mired. The proofreading was not of the high quality of the research, and the VIP setting makes one regret some aspects of technological change. But the design of the jacketless cover is a change of the right kind. Virtues, however, triumph: it has been all too easy to see Bentham steadily; Long helps us towards seeing him whole. (JOHN M. ROBSON) Ronald B. Hatch. Crabbe's Arabesque: Social Drama in thePoetry ofGeorge Crabbe McGill-Queen's University Press 1976. xvi, 284. $14.00 It was Francis Jeffrey, perhaps the best of Crabbe's early critics, who wrote: 'the pattern of Crabbe's Arabesque is so large, that there is no getting a fair specimen of it without taking in a good space' (Edinburgh Review, 32 [1819], 140). Ronald Hatch also realizes that Crabbe's work needs 'a good space'; quoting liberally, he sets out to analyse Crabbe's artistic development in his handling of social issues. In order to pick out clearly the pattern in the arabesque, he has wisely chosen to follow a single line as it interweaves its way through the whole of Crabbe's work. He shows a good deal of tact and tactical delicacy in persuading us that, for all Crabbe's faults, his virtues are well worth the patient effort required to appreciate them. Hatch argues that to see Crabbe as either a social critic or as a moralist limits our response to the complexity and ambivalence of feeling present in the poetry. Crabbe nearly always disappoints the reader's expectations ; as D.H. Burden puts it: 'Much of what we call satire in his work is not so much corrective of the reader's conduct as of his expectation' (Essays and Poems presented to Lord David Cecil [London, 1970], p 90). The peculiar tension in Crabbe's best work arises from the way in which the large intangible ironies of life as it is lived through time (the province of HUMANITIES 413 the nineteenth-century novel) provide a counterpoint to the more static, technically controllable ironies (the province of the heroic couplet). The great Augustans could write true satire because they knew where they stood and could measure each detail in perspective; Crabbe, often called 'the last Augustan: has no single perspective and is continually pulling the ground from under our feet, or defying perspective with his 'horizontal Eye' ('Midnight: line 219) and gift for the menacing particular. Hatch judiciously shows us the long process by which Crabbe evolves a'redemptive ethic' of self-awareness which transcends the abstractions of the moralist and social critic. Crabbe's non-committal or contradictory attitudes towards social problems within a single poem strike some critics as suspect. This is especially true of the introduction of the eulogy of Robert Manners in The Village, otherwise an anti-pastoralist poem. For Raymond Williams this episode is a 'pathetic retreat' and 'the prelude to a particular social ratification' (The Country and the City [London, 1972], p 95); for Peter New this 'ending in general is very badly managed' (George Crabbe's Poetry [London, 1976], p 45). It is part of the strength of Hatch's book that we are made to see this passage as typical of Crabbe's procedure. It...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 412-413
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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