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340 WesternAmerican Literature a weight and consequence of new things.” Michael Heffernan finds The Teeth MotherNaked at Last to be “uncompromising,” “frequently unbearable”because of Bly’s insistence on writing a “nightmare poem” about the “barbarities of American wars.”Joyce Carol Oates, in her review of the same volume, calls Bly “intellectual and relentlessly emotional.” Several reviewers identify Jungian influences in Bly’s poems. For instance, Stephen Kuusito, in his review of Iron John, calls Bly a “popularizer of archetypal psychology,”whose heroic archetype “restores men to the center of the cosmological drama.” The longer essays present, quite naturally, a broader and deeper examina­ tion of Bly’s work, both poetry and prose. Their attention ranges from the earlier capturing of the essence of particular landscapes (through “deep im­ ages”), to Jungian shadows on the 1970s political landscape, to the Jungian “soul-making”in IronJohn. The volume closes with a short excerpt from Richard Sugg’s Robert Bly in which Sugg places Bly “squarely within the American Romantic tradition”and identifies Bly’s ultimate importance as, through Bly’s own “psychic journey,” redefining theAmerican poet. The composite of all selections is appropriately represented by Sugg’s finaljudgment that Bly’s “ultimate achievement... is in awakening, even inspiring, his audience with a sense of human community.” All this is a heavy burden for one literary artist to carry. However, the selections in this volume convince the reader that Robert Bly manages that burden very well. JAMES R. SAUCERMAN Northwest Missouri State University Mark Twain: Protagonist for the Popular Culture. By Marlene Boyd Vallin. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992. 208 pages, $49.95.) Marlene Boyd Vallin’s study is the eighteenth book in a series titled Great American Orators, organized by Bernard K. Duffy and Halford R. Ryan. In the “Series Foreword,”Duffy and Ryan state that “The idea for a series of books on great American orators grew out of the recognition that there is a paucity of book-length studies on individual orators and their speeches.” This assertion establishes the first of numerous expectations that Vallin’s book fails to meet, since there is scarcely enough here to qualify this as a book-length study (64 of the 208 pages comprise Vallin’s discussion of Twain; the remainder is mostly a collection ofTwain’s speeches, which is the best part of the book). Such dearth would perhaps be a minor flaw in a book that offered some­ thing significantly new to Twain scholarship, butVallin’s book falls short here as well. Many of the critical insights and rhetorical analyses of Twain’s “works of oratory”are no more than critical commonplaces shared across the table in any Twain graduate seminar: “Twain was critical ofthe practice ofcivilizing. Civiliza­ Reviews 341 tion corrupts, distorts reality, and encourages hypocrisy.” Beyond this, Vallin offers such insights as “Twain’s use of the ship metaphor seems to indicate his sense of individualism. We are all pilots of our own ships, with the free will to chart our own courses.”And these “profundities”are themselves quite few and far between. Vallin sets forth many large (and some potentially interesting) claims, but she presents very little development of or evidence for her assertions. For example, she claims that “the focus of Twain’s performance was on the audi­ ence, specifically the interaction between speaker and listeners,” but no real discussion of this idea or analysis of Twain’s speeches with this point in mind ever materializes. We are led, by the editors of this series, to expect “a complete analysis of a speaker’s rhetoric,” which will investigate “speech invention, style, delivery, organizational strategies, and persuasive effect” for the “public address scholar,”but Vallin’sbook falls far short ofthat aim. Myrecommendation is that you go see Hal Holbrook instead. MICHAEL HOBBS NorthwestMissouri State University New Voicesin Native American Literary Criticism. Edited by Arnold Krupat. (Wash­ ington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993. 555 pages, $79.00/$34.95.) In Arnold Krupat’s introductory unapologetic apology, he explains that presenting a volume of eclectic essays on Native American literatures is still useful and necessary even though some academics may prefer more “post”minded approaches. New generations of students, new sources...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 340-341
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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