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418 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 In general, Literature and Folk Culture promises more than it delivers (in the introduction the editors promise us 'straight-from-the-horse's mouth articles ... [that] illuminate the traditions of two islands that have long shared the same household gods'). The volume could have been strengthened by an analysis of the aesthetics of folk culture and by more consideration of the way in which writers in Ireland and Newfoundland have shaped literature from folk material. The volume is only peripherally concerned with literature. Still it may serve as an inspiration to Canadians to take cognizance of their folk customs and to be aware of the ways in which these can, as they did in Ireland, serve as the basis for a distinctive literature. (ROBERT O' DRISCOLL) Norman Page. E.M. Forster's Posthumous Fiction University of Victoria, English Literary Studies monographs. 107. $).75 Professor Page's monograph on Forster's 'posthumous fiction' - Maurice (1971) and The Life to Come (1972) - is curiously timed. It comes too soon to be a definitive study, which indeed it does not claim to be; yet, despite its eschewal of 'biographical interpretation' in favour of literary criticism , the acumen of the latter would surely have been strengthened had Page waited to take into account at least the first volume (1977) of P.N. Furbank's official biography. Of benefit also would have been some recourse to the manuscripts - in enabling him, for instance, to avoid the present discrepancy between his two accounts (pp 99 and 101) of the original '9'4 epilogue to Maurice, which by no means 'guarantees' a 'happy-ever-after ending: At the same time, Page's study comes too late to be the pioneer work he misleadingly implies it is. He states that 'only two' recent studies, those published in 1975 by John Colmer and Bonnie Blumenthal Finkelstein, have given 'serious attention' to the posthumous work; but what other studies, between 1972 and then, have there been? Since 1975 John Sayre Martin's E.M. Fors/a: The Endless Journey has appeared (1976). As both he and Colmer not only deal with Maurice and The Life /0 Come but place them and their homosexual outlook in the total context of Forster's work, Page's virtual isolation of the homosexual writings lacks both their degree of perspective and - at this late date - the element of surprise which his manner of presentation tends to assume.,It would have been fairer all round had Page simply asserted as the reason for his study the wish to look at the posthumous, homosexual writings in more detail than the format of a complete critical book on Forster would have allowed him to do. Page's study is not without value. In attempting to account for Forster 's withholding of his homosexual writings during his lifetime, chapter HUMANITIES 4"9 1 offers a useful survey of literary censorship and of Forster's attitudes to it. The accounts of the short stories are shrewd and sensitive, that of 'Arthur Snatchfold' particularly so (Page has a good eye for Forster's unobtrusive symbolism); and it is good to see the apparent lack of surface 'brilliance' in Maurice being viewed by this sympathetic and sensible critic as proceeding from 'design rather than misfortune.' I am puzzled, however, by Page's choosing to discuss The Life to Come (whose eight homosexual stories date from 1922 onwards) before Maurice, written in 1914: as he does not deal with the latter's post-19"4 revisions, there seems no adequate reason for an order of presentation which follows neither that of composition nor of publication. A couple of factual errors need to be pointed out. 'The Story of the Siren' (published in 1920) is referred to as a 'post-war story'; Oliver Stallybrass, however, in his introduction to The Life to Come, clearly implies that it was written in or before "904. Arctic Summer is assigned to 1914, but both P.N. Furbank and Elizabeth Ellem (in her study of its manuscripts) date its composition as "911-12 (1914 was a lapse of memory on Forster's part). It is hardly reasonable, therefore, for Page to reproach...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 418-419
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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