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Lydgate's quotation about 'sugared inventions' (p 102) have their source in these notebooks, as do many of the chapter epigraphs. The notes are particularly interesting in their attempt to trace the exact sequence of Eliot's reading on a particular point (see, for example, the suggestion about the source of Will Ladislaws name, p 104) and to supply a significant context for seemingly inconsequential notebook entries (e.g. on the 'Dietary of Cornaro: pp 94-5). It is unfortunate therefore that the notes are so difficult to use. The shape of the volume is unusual: it is short and wide, and each page holds two columns of material. The editors have numbered Eliot's pages, although she herself did not (p xv); their practice of keying their footnote numbers not to their own pages but to hers results in duplication and causes real confusion. The notes are not collected at the end of the volume but placed after each notebook unit, and there are no running heads. All of these features make locating - and holding onto - the relevant reference a frustrating process. The editors define their editorial principles in rather general terms, stating that they 'have not always indicated missing accent marks, errors of capitalization, slight differences in punctuation, omitted quotation marks, and the like' (p xiv). Attempting to deduce these principles by an examination at the pages reproduced in facsimile is neither very illuminating nor very reassuring, for the transcriptions are inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate. There are too many simple errors: 'Odyssey .I' has become 'OdysseyI' (p 215); Eliot's verb 'practise' becomes 'practice' (p 60). Obvious slips, like 'pene' for 'pen' (p 210). are silently emended, but so is Eliot's consistent spelling of'Shakspeare' (pp 86, 210). Words which Eliot crossed out are sometimes noted (pp 59, 63), sometimes not (p 215). Since this volume will be an essential source for students of Eliot, the notebook entries in their very heterogeneity providing evidence of the kinds of uses she made of her material, it is unfortunate that problems of format and editing have not been more thoughtfully addressed. (MARJORIE GARSON) Christopher Wiseman. Beyond the Labyrinth: A Study of Edwin Muir's Poetry Sono Nis Press 1978. 252 Kathleen Raine has claimed that Edwin Muir was one of those poets for whom the real is the signature of the mystery, that in Muir's work 'we find " those hard symbolic bones" that Yeats found in Dante and in Blake that give form to events: Christopher Wiseman claims similarly that Muir is a post-symbolist poet, writing in the tradition of MalJarme and Verlaine. This basic assumption immediately provides Wiseman with two conveniences. First, he can point towards a genuine 'transcendental' quality in Muir's poetry using an accepted critical language; Wiseman reads Muir's poetry as a 'constant search for the symbols and techniques which allow a transcendence of the surface reality of time and place, and a penetration to a wider, more fertile, world of experience.' Secondly, sharing in the tradition of critics dealing with the symbolists and their heirs the modems, Wiseman can discuss Muir's poetry in terms of technique, of structure, and of form. In so doing his service to Muir is significant: he rescues Muir's poetry from a criticism inclined to regard it as unfashionable, over-simple, not of its own age. He supports his general argument by a detailed and often intelligent analysiS of individual poems; particularly good are his readings of'An Island Tale: 'The Interceptor: 'The Good Town.' But there are problems with Wiseman's argument both at the general level and also with particulars. Wiseman gives his considered attention to only the last two of nine published volumes of Muir's poetry, offering a poem-by-poem analysis of The Labyrinth, One Foot in Eden, and Last Poems - poems published after Muir's death. Not every poem in Muir's later work merits discussion , nor is Muir's poetry often of the complexity of Stevens's or of Eliot's, a complexity which might necessitate a reader's-guide approach. What would be valuable is some evaluation within the limits which the critic has set for himself...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 428-430
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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