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Book Reviews churches and catiiedrals). Focusing on die medievalism of die 1880s and 1890s as manifested in three novel cycles. Romancing the Cathedral carves out a narrow niche witiiin the study of die nineteenth-century gouiic revival. Emery seeks to demonstrate how Emile Zola, J.-K. Huysmans and Marcel Proust influenced the attitudes of dieir contemporaries and successors by transforming the public discourse on medieval churches and cathedrals, a discourse whose terms had been set by Chateaubriand, Hugo and Michelet. A wealth of secondary sources on medievalism, die catiiedral and uie Gothic revival are copiously cited in support of readings of Les Trois Villes, the Durtal cycle and A la recherche du temps perdu. It is shown how Zola and his characters use the catiiedral to advance a social agenda, how Huysmans and his characters use it to attract worshippers through art, and how Proust uses it as a gauge of uie Narrator's aestiietic maturation. Citing as evidence the sales figures and publicity surrounding the publication of diese novels, Emery argues that their authors were largely responsible for the way in which the catiiedral was transformed from a religious edifice into a secular national symbol which synthesized French diversity into a national unity. Emery's chapters on Zola and Huysmans are particularly welcome, as they deal with works which are difficult to appreciate and which have received little critical attention. A number of important themes emerge from these readings interspersed witii cultural analysis . These include religious conversion, mysticism, spirituality, symbolism, nationalism, historic preservation, science, social progress, and nineteenth-century politics. In addition, the book includes various illustrations related to uie fin-de-siècle cult of the cathedral, including works by Monet and Rodin, for which Emery finds interesting if idiosyncratic connections to the novels under discussion. The critical gesture of bringing together a disparate array of authors around a particular symbolic artifact bound to a specific time and place raises larger questions about die ability of "culture " to conceptually contain and categorize works of literature. Much has been said about die role of literature in the cultural construction of symbolic meaning, but what has die cult of the monument done for the cultural construction of literature, given that literature itself has become a monumental artifact of the French patrimoine! Janell Watson Virginia Tech Jane Bradley Winston. Postcolonial Duras: Cultural Memory in Postwar France. New York: Palgrave , 2001. Pp. ix + 254. $55.00. How heartening to encounter a book that reaffirms Marguerite Duras's political engagement in her fiction as well as in her otiier activities. The former, Winston's thesis states, has been ignored or repressed by most French critics. Starting witii die 1950s reactions to attacks on French colonialism in Un Barrage contre le Pacifique, tiiey reprocessed Duras into what Winston calls Duras: a purveyor of exotic-erotic renderings of Indochina congruent with die representations circulated by French colonialist discourse and, later, French post-colonial nostalgia. Winston's political and historical contextualization of Duras and her fiction offers an exciting contribution to Duras studies. Condemning readings of her as a bourgeois French writer, she reminds us uiat Duras was bom in Indochina (1931) and raised diere until age 17. She was immersed first in the French colonialist discourse explicitly conceived for colonial schools, and propagated also by her mother, a teacher of native children, and, subsequently, in die pervasive propaganda of colonialist attitudes in France. Winston's elucidations convey the background and climate in which Duras worked for die Paris Colonial Ministry, and co-wrote L'Empire français, despite her "borderzone" position as poor white victim of uie colonial administration. Emphasis on uie 1945 discovery of the concentration camps as a decisive moment in Duras's political consciousness clarifies what may have appeared an inexplicable shift. Although Duras was already in die socialist resistance, diis shock propelled Vol. XLII, No. 2 107 L'Esprit Créateur die coalescence of her political consciousness into a coherence that remained fundamentally consistent diroughout her life. Highlighting uie leftist post-war dunking of die "Rue St. Benoit Group" (Duras, Mascólo, Antelme, Morin) enhances appreciation of Duras's inter- and con-textuality, especially when Winston reads Un Barrage in conjunction...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 107-108
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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