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THE RURAL TRADITION 517 place, pointing out that 'in concentrating on the excesses, [it] seemed to be attacking the very novelists who were trying to move beyond a merely documentary fidelity.' But where regional fiction as such is concerned, Keith seems unsure ofits overall significance. He quotes Lawrence's 'What does life consist in, save a vivid relatedness between the man and the living universe that surrounds him?,' and the comment isone that he presumablyendorses;buthis concluding remark that 'While that link still held, regional fiction had much to offer' seems curiously negative, and one wishes that he had developed further his contention that 'Contemporary regions of the imagination may seem very different, but they share more than is generally realized with the writers ... who explored the interconnections of individual and society with their local spirit of place.' But if this book is not especially persuasive as an argument, the individual essays are rich in insight and written in a humane, engaging style: Keith is clearly in sympathy with his subject. There are one or two misspellings (misprints?) such as Morecombe for Morecambe, Berryn for Berwyn, but these are not important; errors in fictional names, however, are more disturbing. The change from Tom' to 'Tim' Walker may matteronlyto those who have read Holme's He-Who-Came?; but to turn Gerda Torp into Gerda Toop is to decline from Powysian eccentricity to the cold comforts of linguistic bathos. Such errors, however, are minor blemishes on a book that is otherwise as elegantly produced as were its two forerunners; the layout is identical with theirs and a delight to the eye. This is creative book production in which fonnat and subject matter are hannoniously allied. Thinking, Desiring, Possessing ROBERT K. MARTIN Sharon Cameron. Thinking in Henry James University of Chicago Press 1989. 200 US $29.95 Alfred Habegger. Henry James and the 'Woman Business' Cambridge University Press 1989.288. US $34.50 David McWhirter. Desire and Love in Henry James: A Study of the Lale Novels Cambridge University Press 1989. 218. US $34.50 Henry James remains as protean as ever. Once thought of as a genial recorder of manners, and then mined for seemingly endless exegesisby New Critics fascinated by a rich verbal structure, 'the Master' has more recently become grist for many mills, Mandst, feminist, deconstructionist. Despite Todorov's (and james's) warning that there may be no figure in the carpet, the struggle for ownership of James, and hence of the modern novel, still rages, as believers in various faiths stake out claims for their Henry James. 518 ROBERT K. MARTIN Sharon Cameron's study is deconstructive: her muses are Husserl and Derrida. Her method involves 'press[ing] on' the text to reveal a distinction between consciousness and psychology; she wants to free James from the burden of being above all a psychological novelist. Her major texts are two novels, The Golden Bowl and The Wings ofthe Dove, as well as The American Scene and the Prefaces, primarily those to Roderick Hudson and The Portrait of a Lady. These prefaces are crucial, because they illustrate for Cameron the way in which the late James, by and large her James, revised his concept of consciousness, freeing it from the limitations of psychological realism. This approach can be marvellously helpful at times, and enables Cameron to come to terms with those baffling silences and non-verbal understandings that structure the later fiction. Her reading of The Golden Bowl, wonderfully titled 'Thinking Speaking,' argues for a 'radical revision by which ... speech is emptied of significant implication and thought is laden with significance by being imagined as overheard.' While this surely goes a long way to helping us think about the function of imputed thought in James, and while the attempt to rescue James from realism is an important revisionary project, Cameron is led to overstating her case when she claims, for instance, that 'what happens' in The Golden Bowl is 'that consciousness '... is made adequate in the sense of made ultimate; in the sense of empowered; in the sense of made to have the last, the only, word.' The ecstasy of her prose communicates Cameron's joy as she liberates James...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 517-520
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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