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BOOK REVIEWS Accordingly, the final version of the Whitman essay is reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter essay. It begins by repeating the response to his own question at the end of the Melville: What have we seen since the sinking of "the Great White Soul in 1851"? "Post-mortem effects, presumably." The soul sinks, but the body survives to "CHUFF! CHUFF! CHUFF!" along mechanically with the insistence with which Whitman repeats his familiar themes. The essay's style is also reminiscent of the Hawthorne essay , as well as the added beginning and ending of the Melville, with the telltale paragraphs of single, short sentences, or less: DEMOCRACY. EN MASSE. ONE IDENTITY. The universe, in short, adds up to ONE. ONE. 1. Which is Walt. Lawrence may assert "Whitman, the great poet, has meant so much to me. Whitman, the one man breaking a way ahead," but he seems to have turned against Walt, too. The Cambridge editors are to be commended for a Herculean labor, for which all those who work on Lawrence owe a huge debt of gratitude. They bring together in a single volume with valuable explanatory notes and textual apparatus a wealth of relevant material for scholars to pore over, perhaps to compare more fully these variant texts, and pose the question of whether a final version is superior to an earlier one. Lawrentians also may speculate about what these "revisions" indicate of the sea-change that took place as Lawrence was reconstructing himself as something beyond an exclusively "English" writer. EARL G. INGERSOLL SUNY College at Brockport Reluctant Modernists Peter Edgerly Firchow. Reluctant Modernists: Aldous Huxley and Some Contemporaries. Muenster: LIT Verlag, 2002. xxv + 315 pp. $39.95. THIS RETROSPECTIVE, featuring fifteen essays spanning nearly forty years of exemplary scholarship on modernism by one of the foremost Aldous Huxley specialists, is a welcome and important contribution to the assessment of modernism at this time when the awareness of a past has been superseded in literary studies by the prevalence of "theory" and its futuristic/ideological implications. In addition, the publication is also a Festschrift honoring Peter Firchow's outstanding quali488 ELT 47 : 4 2004 ties as a researcher, educator, and friend. While the essays by themselves speak eloquently of the integrity of the honorée, an introduction to the volume by fellow Huxley scholar and colleague Jerome Meckier, as well as a touching and gracefully exuberant memoir by Janet Rossen, a former graduate student, now colleague and author herself , round out, together with a list of publications and a bibliography, this homage in celebration of Peter Firchow's scholarly achievement on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday. The genesis of a scholar's focused, tenacious labors and discoveries reveals itself in the first essay, originally published in 1965. Besides two seminal books on Aldous Huxley, Firchow has also published a large number of articles and essays on him and related issues of modernism over the years, some in proceedings, symposia publications, and journals that are no longer readily available, particularly when published in different parts of the world. This is one of the reasons for offering this collection of previously published essays under the title Reluctant Modernists, focusing primarily on Aldous Huxley and his distinguished contemporaries Evelyn Waugh, E. M. Forster, A. E. Housman, Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, George Orwell, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Mann, Margaret Drabble, and others. For this collection Firchow has added postscripts of varying lengths to the individual essays, either updating or at least offering second thoughts on the particular essay's subject. In his May 1925 Vanity Fair essay, "What, Exactly, is Modern?" Huxley placed himself by the mid-twenties among the most modern of writers. But, as Firchow argues, having phrased the question in this way, Huxley also hints at "reservations to come" in the subsequent attempt to provide a satisfactorily precise answer. Indeed, as it turns out, a significant characteristic of modern is associated with sexual promiscuity , a clearly negative attribute that is wrong, without benefit of clergy, without counterpart in antiquity, and is barbaric. How, Huxley then seems to ask, can something barbaric be called modern in an age in which the evolutionary principle and the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 488-491
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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