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book Reviews about her "posthumous alliance" with Vanessa Bell. Such a bias is almost inevitable for any biographer or editor, but it ought to be acknowledged in the text at hand. We applaud Vanessa Bell's coldness to her bourgeois cousin, but Bell is less admirable when she turns her cold shoulder on the Woolfs, or Roger Fry, or Mary Hutchinson, or Lydia Keynes, or Vita Sackville-West. Since Virginia Woolfs worst suspicion was that her sister secretly despised her, and since many of Vanessa's letters (not represented here) justify that suspicion, I wish Marler had let us see more of the meaner side of Vanessa's personality or had at least admitted its existence. Nevertheless, Regina Marler has produced a valuable collection with a helpful chronology, useful index, and lively introductions to the different periods in Vanessa's life. Marler has brought to light a self-portrait in words to iUumine various self-portraits in oils of this extraordinarily talented, committed, independent woman. Vanessa's letters first entertained her family in the 1880s. In the 1990s they can delight anyone who cares for Bell, Bloomsbury, modern painting, strong women, or simply a good read. Panthea Reid Louisiana State University Yeats's Love Poetry Elizabeth Butler Cullingford. Gender and History in Yeats's Love Poetry. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. xv + 334pp. $54.95 £35.00 GENDER AND HISTORY in Yeats's Love Poetry is a beautifully engaging study of literature and culture. Elizabeth Butler Cullingford examines a major literary form (the love lyric) in the hands of a major poet. Her approach emphasizes the interweavings of ideology and aesthetics , and she takes great care to place both the material analyzed and her own critical moment in historical context. The result is revisionist history and textual analysis that are thoroughly and innovatively researched , theoretically subtle, rhetorically balanced, and unfailingly apt. Cullingford's close readings of some of the most frequently read poems of our century are especially original and precise: poems as overworked as "Leda and the Swan" or "Among School Children" reveal controversial and unconventional aspects of themselves under her gaze. Best of all, Cullingford excels as a stylist: as in Yeats, Ireland and Fascism (1981), she presents sophisticated ideas lucidly and energetically . This book practically gleams with intelligence and integrity. 211 ELT 38:2 1995 Gender and History is an ambitious project superbly carried out, and it creates a view of Yeats that will color serious readings of him that follow. Feminism and political criticism form the primary elements of the theoretical environment of the study, although Cullingford is also highly attentive to aesthetic and rhetorical issues. In fact, it is a pleasure to read her graceful incorporation of historical, theoretical, and critical discourses. Political and poetic insights highlight each other, as they do in the hypothesis that forms the intellectual center of the book. Since literary form is intrinsically imbedded in the social fabric, and since the love lyric in particular derives its structure and energy from sexual politics, Cullingford asks us to consider what happens to the lyric when important changes occur in the relations between men and women;. She argues, "When a new genre emerges, its formal conventions embody a symbolic social message, but later practitioners infuse the generic meanings of the original form with new and sometimes contradictory meanings produced by different historical conditions. The male love lyric, which is formally structured upon the figurative relations of power between lover and mistress, necessarily reflects changes in the actual balance of power between men and women." Defining "love lyric" loosely in reference to Yeats's poems, Cullingford sensibly includes in her analyses not only direct utterances by a lover or beloved but also some of Yeats's many other poems in which love is thematically and structurally important, lyric or not. In addition to avoiding prescriptive categorization of the poetry, Cullingford also chooses freely among texts and events in Yeats's life, times, and associations to find stress points for the intersecting issues that concern her. She shows well the ambivalences and conflicts that formed the unstable edges of a number of gyres that spun about issues of gender, culture, and literary art...


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pp. 211-216
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