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BOOK REVIEWS photos, including some taken by Lawrence himself, that Wilson has also included in the third volume. T. E. Lawrence, an admirer of William Morris who loved fine printing and himself produced in the 1926 Seven Pillars one of the most sought after editions of modern times, would almost certainly have been happy with Wilson's tasteful volumes (which are also available in goatskin for a higher price). This edition, which pleases the eye as well as the intellect, reminds us once again that books can possess an intrinsic beauty that will not soon (if ever) be duplicated by any electronic medium, and that there is more to knowledge than mere utility . These recent works of Crawford and Wilson show us that the T. E. Lawrence field continues to flourish, and not least because of its controversies . Stephen E. Tabachnick ______________ The University of Oklahoma Love in Hardy's Fiction H. M. Daleski. Thomas Hardy and Paradoxes of Love. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997. xviii + 222 pp. $34.95 IN Thomas Hardy and Paradoxes of Love, H. M. Daleski argues that much contemporary literary criticism misses aspects of Hardy's treatment of gender that are central to his major fiction. By contrast, he characterizes his own study as "a plea for a return not only to the texts" but to a "critical openness" by which he will offer a "revisionary account" of Hardy's view of both male and female sexuality. Certainly, one welcome consequence of Daleski's effort to allow "the texts discussed to determine both the nature and the substance of the response to them" is a book remarkably free of fashionable critical jargon. But whether Daleski allows Hardy's texts to determine his response to them is another matter; there is much in Daleski's study that is informed by remarkable critical tact, but there are also places where, unfortunately, it is not the text but one or another of Daleski's own theses which seems to determine the readings he provides. In his first chapter, "Figures in the Carpet," Daleski sets forth his main thesis: that central to the structure of Hardy's major fiction is the love triangle. This is an oddly gratuitous claim, given that so many of Hardy's best-known novels—Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor ofCasterbridge, and Jude the Obscure—involve at least four major characters in interconnected love relationships. Nev199 ELT 42 : 2 1999 ertheless, about what he asserts to be that "central" triangle, Daleski makes four major points: (1) that Hardy's "female characters are repeatedly and sympathetically portrayed at the center of his fictional worlds and they are always granted the freedom of choice, refuting the view of them as victims"; (2) that Hardy "is preoccupied with two opposed conceptions of male sexuality, fascinated and repelled by his rake figures and wary and skeptical of his sexually diffident heroes"; (3) that one of Hardy's major insights is that both men and women may have "a sense of self-sufficiency so strong that it inhibits a need or the ability to open the self to a sexual partner"; and (4) that Hardy's narrators combine functions of observer and commentator, functions sometimes at odds with one another. Unfortunately, in his efforts to confirm those claims, Daleski sometimes blinds himself to considerations which should have made him at least less absolute in his assertions. One of his theses, for example, is that "female characters ... are always granted the freedom of choice, refuting the view of them as victims" (italics mine). Hence, when Daleski comes to discuss the scene in A Pair of Blue Eyes where Elfride is torn between her wish to elope with Stephen and her uncertainties about taking that step, with all the tortured indecision and all the moral, social, and personal pressures on her that Hardy conveys—Daleski argues that, because Elfride impulsively allows her horse to decide which way she will ride, she bears what Daleski terms "full responsibility" (italics mine) for her rash action. But much of the richness of Hardy's major fiction stems from the fact that its complexity makes such absolute and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 199-202
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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