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book Reviews points where the language is changing and where the language is seeking new possibihties of precision. Oddities of status and usage make us alert to new moments of perception and to the fallibility of the instrument by which the perceptions are registered." The italicized conjunctions indicate something of Taylor's passionate rhetorical commitment to his argumentative agenda, a commitment which has resulted in a quirky but important study. One hopes it did not also produce the high incidence of syntactical anarchy in the relation between subjects and verbs: "the archaism and oddity conveys," "the rarification and artificiality . . . suggests," "the status . . . reflect," "the archaism and contortion predooms," "the language . . . obsolesce and cast," "how much of the language... are," "the overall parallel... make," "His uses... is," The balance... are related," "prescriptions... derives," and so it goes on. It is getting too late in the day to blame oversights like these on that new-fangled computer technology. Hardy was a man who used to notice such things. Keith Wilson ______________ University of Ottawa James's Letters to Miss Allen Henry James: Lettere a Miss Allen, 1899-1915. (Letters to Miss Allen). Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, ed. Milano: Rosellina Archinto, 1993. Translated into Italian by Rosella Mamoli Zorzi. ν + 171 pp. Lira 24,000 DURING THE LAST FEW YEARS, we have seen the publication of many James letters. The first two volumes of the William-Henry James correspondence has already appeared and the third volume, all three devoted to the letters between the two brothers, is expected to be published in June 1994. The James-Wharton, the James-Gosse correspondences , as well as the James-Henry Adams letters, have also been published and now we greet a generous sampling of thirty letters from James's correspondence with Miss Jessie Allen. This correspondence with an English aristocratic spinster, housed in the Houghton Library in Cambridge, has been translated into Italian which accompanies the original English in this small and charming volume. Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, a professor of English literature at the University of Venice and an authority on all of the Venetian connections (and there are many) of James, has scrupulously edited the collection and has added another dimension to the James story. Miss Jessie Allen (1845-1918), a great-granddaughter of the Earl of 225 ELT 38:2 1995 Jersey, must have represented for James the chief source during his later years for information and gossip about the life of the aristocracy, something which interested him all his life, but especially so during the period he was writing his last novels. Meeting Miss Allen in 1899 at the Palazzo Bárbaro, the home of the Curtises, he was the recipient of many thirty-page letters from her, burned, alas, in the bonfire James made of the letters he received. The letters must have been filled with the kind of information he so loved and which he used in his final fiction that dealt with aristocratic sites and personnel and with elegant cosmopolitan settings. We know that James played certain roles with his lady correspondents and that he was most comfortable, for instance, in playing the mock-flirt with Mrs. Isabella Gardner, since that is what she expected, and the cosmopolitan friend with Edith Wharton. He found his role with Miss Allen, after his first three years of knowing her, a time during which she overwhelmed him with gifts too costly and generous to be acceptable to his sensitive personality. When a pair of extravagantly expensive and enormous bearskins arrived as a Christmas present, James begins to address Miss Allen as "Dear Goody Two Shoes" (shortened to "Goody") after the generous heroine of the fable for the moral edification of children assumed to have been written by Oliver Goldsmith . From then on he was happy acting in this fairy-tale game with Miss Allen, this pretense of being a child playing with another child protected by the confines of a moral fable. From then on his letters take on the gaiety and freedom of this invented, playful drama and we see James in a happy and comfortable role. From 15 December 1902 until 23 November 1915, his last letter to Miss Allen, this role continues...


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pp. 225-227
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