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BOOK REVIEWS Persse as having "blond good looks and social aplomb" and James's own reference to Walpole as a "blooming youth." James seems almost younger than these men in the pictures collected here. As to the annotations, although usually exhaustive and enlightening, it seems to me that the editors should not have offered a translation of every single foreign word in the letters (I am thinking of phrases like chez moi for instance or the word siècle). On the other hand, I do think they might have consulted someone to help them with some of the more difficult words—those they obviously found hard to decipher. James liked the Italian word dunque (Latin dumque). This is transcribed as donque on page 147 (and explained as possibly French for "then"). Now James would undoubtedly have spelled the French for "then" as done. The same goes for the word affaibli which on page 162 is spelled affaiblé (again, although I haven't seen the manuscript, James probably spelled this correctly). As to the biographical information, I regret there not being more on the addressees. There is a James chronology but there are very few details of the lives of the four correspondents, not even in the biographical register. Also, with respect to that biographical register, I regret to note that the entry on Lucy Clifford contains several mistakes. A few recent articles (and one book) have tried to correct the myth that she was born ca. 1853 in Barbados as this entry still avers. Clifford was born in 1846 in London and her best-known novel is not Keith's Crime but Mrs. Keith's Crime. In the last analysis, however, I have to agree with the excerpts from reviews reprinted on the back of the book. Their praise of these letters is lavish and genuine with one of the critics even calling them "essential reading for any James devotee." A good Henry James letter is truly a joy forever. MARYSA DEMOOR __________________ Université Ghent Violence & Modernism William A. Johnsen. Violence and Modernism: Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. xv + 168pp. $55.00 JOHNSEN ANNOUNCES his ambition in the present endeavor from the very beginning: "It is time to write the history of modernism with a more confident and ambitious sense of finality." His chosen starting point is the work of Northrup Frye and René Girard, for he intends to reveal how Ibsen, Woolf, and Joyce "corroborate and amplify René Girard 's mimetic hypothesis for human behavior and Northrup Frye's con111 ELT 48 : 1 2005 ception of literature as a whole as they bear on modern life." Hence his project initially seemed so ambitious in its scope that I was rather incredulous that any ensuing inquiry could be successful. Despite my initial misgivings, I was most delighted by how satisfying I found Johnsen's efforts to be. His work traverses the interdisciplinary borderland of religious studies, anthropology, psychology, and literary studies. He discusses so many texts with such incisiveness that it is futile to try to list them all; it will have to suffice to state that he moves so gracefully from Frye to Girard to Orwell to Shakespeare to Flaubert to the Bible to Joyce, Ibsen and Woolf that every textual reference and discussion seems necessary and integral to the argument at hand. Johnsen seeks to prove his overarching contention that the "work of Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf resembles each other because they are provoked by locally recurring signs of sacrificial crisis, an outbreak of mimetic violence that cannot be resolved by blaming it on someone else." His close reading bears out how Ibsen, Joyce, and Woolf are "preparing, each in their own language and their own context, the redefinition of the modern away from mimetic rivalry and violence, towards a tradition of peaceful identity and reciprocity." What is most interesting is Johnsen's avowal that the urge to peace is not merely a choice but a necessity, one which must be embraced and seized before it is simply too late and destruction inevitably results. As he quotes from Girard's The Scapegoat, the "time has come for us to forgive one another. If...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 111-114
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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