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ELT 40:2 1997 interest in Pilgrimage is ... due to its interest as a feminist rather than a literary document." Oddly, however, Fouli shows little awareness of other recent theoretical work in literary and cultural studies, giving this book an anachronistic critical flavor. She draws support for her readings from existential and elemental critic Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962), quoted repeatedly in French (which some readers might wish to see translated). Structure and Identity is the longest study to date devoted exclusively to Pilgrimage, yet it represents a regression in Richardson criticism. It fulfills the function of those books designed for undergraduates or initiates who may have trouble unravelling the plots, characters, and patterns of a long and challenging work. Previous critical studies—Jean Radford's Dorothy Richardson (1991) and Gillian Hanscombe's The Art of Life: Dorothy Richardson and the Development of Feminist Consciousness (1982) as well as extensive discussions in Rachel Blau DuPlessis's Writing Beyond the Ending (1985) and Ellen G. Friedman and Miriam Fuch's Breaking the Sequence (1989)—advanced original arguments about Pilgrimage as a modernist and a feminist text, moving beyond the initial critical stage of explication and appreciation. Unfortunately, Fouli's editors have not served her well: the book is marred by a large number of typographical errors that could have been avoided through careful copy editing. The dual indices, one index listing proper names and the other listing concepts, are confusing rather than helpful. Structure and Identity reaffirms Richardson's status as a writer meriting close textual study; with better professional and editorial guidance, perhaps it could have made a more substantive contribution to this body of work. Lynette Felber Indiana University-Purdue University Homoerotic Writing after 1885 Joseph Bristow. Effeminate England: Homoerotic Writing after 1885. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. χ + 193 pp. Paper $15.00 "ESTABLISHED to contribute to an increased understanding of lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men," Columbia's series Between Men-Between Women "also aims to provide through that understanding a wider comprehension of culture in general." True to this charter, Joseph Bristow's Effeminate England explores how male homophile writers have questioned gender, identity, and the relation of themselves to heterosexual men, concluding that the division kept apart "erotic for228 BOOK REVIEWS mations that were altogether closer than the culture could for decades bear to imagine." Here we have two cultures: "culture in general," which is presumably the way that peoples represent themselves to themselves and thereby construct their identities (a definition of culture that goes back at least to Hegel), and a culture that cannot "bear to imagine" erotic formations between men. The two cultures, of possibility and of domination , are in fact the same British culture that included both the creative writers whose work Bristow discusses and the authors of the 1885 Labouchere Amendment that until 1967 banned acts of "gross indecency" between men. Bristow's book recounts the "uneven development" of the stereotype of the effeminate homosexual man since 1885, a figure sometimes loved and sometimes loathed, but always developed in relation to the norms of heterosexual masculinity. Acknowledging its intellectual debt to Alan Sinfield's The Wilde Century (in the same series), it includes chapters on Wilde, Forster, Firbank, gay lifewriting, and a coda on The Swimming -Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst. In Wilde's case, the "fatal effeminacy" that came to be identified with male homophiles during the trials of 1895 runs through even the earlier work. Bristow argues that even during his most courageous baiting of British Society, Wilde was conscious at some level that his Oxford aestheticism would be defeated by the ascetic athleticism inherited from the days of Muscular Christianity . Homosexuality for Wilde was a performance, a simulacrum, or a forgery, often in the form of upper-class dandiacal men (in the comedies) or even women (in Salomé). In the struggle over knowledge that allowed emerging sexologists to isolate and categorize perverse sexualities, Wilde stood for a more queer desire that was doomed to lose in the contest with "normal" masculinity. Just as it took violent homophobia for the hapless Arthur Symons to present himself (contra Wilde) as "normal virile man" (for his contemporaries never took him as such), or...


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pp. 228-232
Launched on MUSE
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Will Be Archived 2021
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