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book reviews it to Last Post) and Jonathan Boulter devotes an entire paper to it, '"After ... Armageddon': Trauma and History in Ford Madox Ford's No Enemy," one of the best essays in the book. Can trauma be represented in narrative? It depends upon what one means by narrative. It also depends upon what one means by history. History, in this instance, continues after it should have ended. What sort of self, which should have been annihilated, remains nevertheless to construct not only itself but the wider circumstances of its own impossible endurance? At the end of the volume's initial essay, largely focused on The Spirit of the People, Patrick Parrinder concludes that apart from D. H. Lawrence "there is no more insistently English early twentieth century novelist than Ford." The reader of eighteen subsequent essays in the collection may agree with this traditional assessment, while dissenting at the same time. There is more to be gained at the present time from two additional perspectives: first, the study of Ford as a writer across many other genres than fiction (all of which disrupt some settled notion of "the fictional"); and, second, the theorization of Ford as a man of our own postmodern time, struggling with both the question of "Englishness" as his own version of historical inheritance and with historical inheritance itself as something that must be made personal in order to be made manifest, over and over again. TERRY CAESAR San Antonio College Wells & the Conference on the Fantastic David Ketterer, ed. Flashes of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from 'The War of the Worlds' Centennial, Nineteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Westport: Praeger, 2004. 268 pp. $92.95 DAVID KETTERER in this collection of essays and notes from the 1998 International Conference on the Fantastic explains that as "1998 was the centennial of the first book publications [sic] of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds" it was the obvious choice for the focus of the conference . With two novels—The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine— Wells not only "largely created the science-fiction (SF) genre" but he worked in "other genres of the fantastic." Given the limitations on space, I can only highlight selected essays from each of the volume's four parts. Patrick Parrinder's "'God's Ministers '? Reinterpreting the Martian Invasion in The War of the Worlds," one of four essays in Part I, The War of the Worlds, suggests that the novel "can be coherently read, in a more complex way than in the past, as a confessional text written by a traumatized survivor who remains understandably demoralized and disoriented by his experiences." The 81 ELT 49 :1 2006 narrator via "his guilt and mental confusion" is able to accept "his fantasy of the Martians as omniscient, God-appointed avengers.... who served as a providential warning to erring mankind." Although provocative , this reading seems labored and not completely persuasive. In "Artful Irony in The War of the Worlds" Richard Law observes that the remarkable popularity of this novel is due to the fact that it is eminently readable. He utilizes John Batchelor's analysis of Wells's style, a style which uses "binary combinations in order to outline the effective narrative technique ... 'domestic English familiarity co-exists with inconceivable terror'; 'verifiable particularities co-exist with fantastic imaginings....'" In this way a "'double perspective' is maintained by the accurate eyewitness account alternating with the retrospective musings of the narrator." Throughout the novel the narrator has two viewpoints —the one in the past during the cataclysmic events when he was reasonable and abnormally excitable and the one in the present, some six years after the Martian attack, when he is safe and undisturbed. Thus, through his narrator, Wells, "an inveterately ironic writer," utilizes the double perspective most effectively. By juxtaposing the "perilous and the amusing," Law notes that the "narrator reveals himself to have been ... a comic hero—not a fool, but an amiably flawed character...." For Law the success of the novel is due in great part to Wells's skilled uses of irony. In Part II, "H. G. Wells and Science Fiction," comprising six essays, Claire Hirshfield...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 81-85
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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