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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 must be judged in the light of Crabbe's creation of a dramatic structure of narrative which can contain multiple points of view: 'he is not offering a solution to problems, but a method which could yield solutions' (p 242). This lucidly written book reminds us that Crabbe's originality and importance lie not so much in his stance on social and moral issues as in his unsparing delineation of material and spiritual degradation. Even more than Wordsworth, Crabbe makes poverty visible. (TIMOTHY BROWNLOW) Kathleen Coburn. In Pursuit of Coleridge Clarke Irwin. 202 . $12.50 There is a pleasure (to adapt Cowper) in editorial pains which most editors know and will recognize, more or less, in Professor Coburn's accounts of discoveries of unpublished Coleridgean manuscipts, Coleridgean sources, and Coleridgean backgrounds. Certainly there can have been few discoveries in this century in the field of English literature to equal, in importance or in sheer bulk, the Coleridge notebooks, the editing of which occupies the narrative of most of this book. The Boswell papers come to mind; the nearest approach to the Coleridge papers themselves is, of course, the superb Wordsworth collections at Grasmere and Cornell, which bore fruit in Ernest de Selincourt's twelve volumes of verse and letters, and which are currently yielding a second crop in the new Oxford Letters and the Cornell editions of the major verse. But here 4'4 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 the work of collection and recognition was done by Gordon Wordsworth and Cynthia Morgan St John before the editors began their labours; Coburn had the task, and the excitement which she continually conveys, of physical discovery in the private libraries of Lord Coleridge and G.H. B. Coleridge. Not that discovery is impossible at Grasmere even now, as the Oxford Prose Works reveals from time to time; new manuscripts of The Prelude have been identified, and its important manuscript D is no longer frustratingly (in de Selincourt's inelegant phrase) 'stuck over.' But perhaps none of these more recent Wordsworthian discoveries will generate such a gain in knowledge over earlier editions as Coburn's Notebooks have provided when compared with such brief and tantalizing fragments as were made available in Anima Poetae and The Road to Xanadu. Adequate annotation of a difficult text is always a source of editorial satisfaction, and Coburn conveys hers from time to time with considerable detail and relish. She followed Coleridge's footsteps literally in the Lake District, Scotland, Malta, Sicily, and Italy, and metaphorically in the resources of the British Library, for a better understanding of the notebooks. What one does in such matters is, no doubt, governed by time, opportunity, and sense of importance. De Selincourt (or Helen Darbishire) failed, inexplicably, to print the epitaph on which Wordsworth based the anecdote of the deaf man in The Excursion, book VII; it is easily available (or perhaps not so easily, from...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 413-415
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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