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ELT 40:2 1997 Reading nineteenth-century literature in general in relation to economic discourse from Adam Smith forward, Gagnier argues that "the examination of the scope and limits of market values that was internal to classical political economy was also the main preoccupation of high Victorian literature." The simultaneous, end-of-century emergence of "marginalist economics" (Stanley Jevons and others) and of "consumer society" lead to the conflation, implicit in earlier economics and literature , of "economic man and aesthetic man" in Pater, Wilde, and many others. This conflation in turn foreshadows our end-of-century discourse , which has become—via Francis Fukuyama, among others—an end-of-history discourse. The positive gist of this discourse, most evident in Fukuyama's The End of History and, more recently, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, is that the recent "triumph" of market capitalism and liberal democracy over their totalitarian rivals (fascism, communism) has led to "the end of history" at least as massive, global ideological struggle and world war. But there is a much more negative interpretation, evident in Lutz Niethammer's Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End?, and also in both Gagnier's and Carpenter's essays. Gagnier concludes her essay with this question, which also concludes the anthology: "If we are prepared to say that Marxism is dead, and that [Adam] Smith's sympathy and [J. S.] Mill's progressivism are discredited, are we also prepared to make the image of our future the stage oÃ- Salomé or the picture of Dorian Gray; Fukuyama's 'infinitely diverse consumer culture' or Pater's 'flood of external objects'; or just 'each mind keeping as a solitary prisoner its own dream of a world'?" To return to Eagleton's nostalgia for socialism, if our end-of-century and millennium dreams are to involve ideals of economic, political, and social justice, then the answer to Gagnier's challenging question has got to be a resounding "No!" Patrick Brantlinger Indiana University Arthur Machen Mark Valentine. Arthur Machen. Mid Glamorgan, Wales: Seren/Poetry Wales Press; Chesterton, PA: Dufour Editions, 1995. 147 pp. Cloth $32.00 Paper $16.95 WHAT NEED could there be for another book on Arthur Machen after Wesley Sweetser's Twayne volume and Aidan Reynolds and William Charlton's Arthur Machen (both 1964)? After all, Machen is destined to occupy quite a small space in the history of English literature and, so far as I can determine, Valentine's book gives us no significant 190 BOOK REVIEWS new information about Machen or his works. Indeed, for purposes of quick reference, Sweetser's book is superior even though its bibliography is out of date while the Aidan and Reynolds book is somewhat more complete in biographical information. And yet, and yet. Valentine's book offers something rare enough in these days of over-detailed biographies, shelves of bare biographical summary, and exercises in theory building: a good evening's read which brings before us a figure of more interest than most of us who know only a little something of Machen would have expected. The great majority of those who have read Machen must simply have stumbled across a small part of his surprisingly varied work while pursuing some special interest: writings on the occult, writings on the first World War, horror and mystery stories, pseudo-medieval tales, or just a close examination of the fiction of one of the five decades across which Machen's activity stretches. While Valentine seems at times somewhat uncertain about his audience—feeling the need to explain fin-de-siècle decadence but then oversimplifying—he economically satisfies the curiosity he calls up, outlining both Machen's life and the basic contents and structures of his works. The present study also places Machen's various types of writing clearly on the literary-historical map—one of Valentine's virtues is that he has read widely and again and again points out clusters of writers with whom Machen had affinities in one stage or another of his career. If I may break the reviewers' code of good conduct and cite my own experience, for a long time I knew Machen only as the writer...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 190-193
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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