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ELT 48 : 1 2005 Johnsen's discussion moves carefully to explore why "Irony is the technique of modern rivalry, artistic as well as sexual" and proceeds seamlessly on to discuss why Girard is "required reading on the subject of modern rivalry," segueing quite naturally and necessarily to an analysis of "The Dead," a story which he argues "supposes the remodernization of Dubliners." He finally establishes how the story exposes "a choice between a sacrificial and postsacrificial unanimity of the living and the dead," one which is connected to Girard's postsacrificial reading of Jesus. He concludes with the daring and bold notion that "the spiritual liberation of Ireland [is] only a supposition in Dubliners, but the rewriting of Stephen Hero into Portrait calls forth a revolutionary change of heart, which constitutes Joyce's redefinition of modernism as a positive, postsacrificial tradition adumbrated in 'The Dead.'" Johnsen thus weaves together his reading of Joyce and Girard most fruitfully, offering his readers a new appreciation of the notion of the modern within Joyce's Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In reading Johnsen, I gained a new sense of how modernism has identified violence as the crux of human history and of humanity's potential. He compelled me to consider how modernist literature constitutes an insistence to transcend violence and usher in a new realm of peace and serenity in which sacrifice is no longer necessary. Reading Ibsen, Woolf, and Joyce with Johnsen's help provides us with a glimpse, however fleeting , of a day in which the scapegoat could become obsolete. The thoughtfulness of this scholarship reflects long years of scholarly perseverance and dedication. In the end, like a glass of fine wine, this book is a heady one. One closes it quite a different and better reader and thinker than when one began, just as I suggested we do in my review of Jennifer Margaret Fraser's Rite of Passage in the Narratives of Dante and Joyce (ELT, 47:3,2004). So, too, I stand by my previous claim: the University Press of Florida is publishing substantive and provocative books of criticism worthy of our time and our serious attention. Johnsen's work certainly deserves both. KERI ELIZABETH AMES __________________ Yale University British Women Modernists Jane Garrity. Step-Daughters of England: British Women Modernists and the National Imaginary. New York: Palgrave, 2003. χ + 349 pp. Paper $27.95 DOROTHY RICHARDSON, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mary Butts, and Virginia Woolf are the "step-daughters of England" referred to in 114 BOOK REVIEWS the title of this ambitious study of modernism and nationalism in the interwar years. The term "step-daughters" is Woolf's. She once argued that the state so curtailed women's civil and social rights, they could not be considered "full daughter [s] ... of England." Jane Garrity's research into the legal and political status of women in early- and mid-twentieth -century England, presented in her excellent first chapter on British womanhood and national culture, proves Woolf right; women were in "national limbo," their entitlement to citizenship lost if they married a man deemed alien by the state. As Garrity succinctly puts it, "a woman's political relation to the nation was thus submerged as a social relation to a man." Yet Garrity's analysis of the complex relations between popular and official discourses about national feeling, gender, and race proves Woolf wrong (or at least her choice of metaphors off-base); British women were principally viewed as mothers, not daughters, step- or otherwise . Their value to the state depended on their capacity to reproduce "healthy white citizens" who would then stabilize the imperial nation's imaginary and real borders. All this becomes more than curious historical backdrop for scholars of English literature in transition because Garrity shows that women's experimental novels written between 1915-1938 are exemplary sites through which to analyze the crisis in imperial citizenship that characterized the time. She reads these novels against diverse cultural voices that argued for a last-ditch imperial redemption led by, or more often symbolized by, women. Precisely because the empire was felt to be falling apart, the "white, middle-class, procreative female body was regarded...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 114-118
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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