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BOOK REVIEWS But not the volume. The remaining portion, more than half the total, is made up of three appendixes plus indexes and lists. Appendix I prints some 50 letters by persons responding to the news of Gissing's death. Some offer valuable evidence of the affection and respect in which he was held by his friends; others, addressed to Gabrielle from her relatives and friends, suggest that her circle had a higher social standing than has been hitherto documented. Appendix II prints two dozen letters by and to Gissing that have surfaced since the publication of the earlier volumes. Appendix III, the most important of the new material, consists of Gabrielle's recollections of Gissing. Written mostly in English (the editors translate the occasional French passages) over more than a decade, this text, occupying 43 pages, is ill-organized and in places perhaps self-serving, but it gives an invaluable account of their life together, his thoughts on many subjects—including people and books— and his health, habits of work, and literary plans. Gabrielle's detailed depiction of his death supplements accounts of it in the letters and in Wells's autobiography, which must now be read with caution. The indexes that follow adhere to the model of the previous eight volumes. There is one for persons mentioned in the letters in this volume, and another for titles, places, and miscellanea. There are also similarly arranged cumulative indexes for all nine volumes. Additionally , there is a cumulative list of the recipients of Gissing's letters, another list of the people who wrote to him, and still another of the miscellaneous correspondence in the nine volumes. All the photographs (including the 20 in this volume) are listed with their sources. There is a section of corrigenda and addenda. Taken together, the textual apparatus makes this volume an indispensable guide to the edition. The publication of these nine volumes in only seven years is testimony to the efficiency and dedication of the editors and their publisher. This is not the place to compare their editorial decisions to those shaping other recent editions of collected letters—of Lawrence, Conrad, and Stevenson—but it can be said without reservation that The Collected Letters of George Gissing is a monumental achievement. Martha Vogeler _____________California State University, Fullerton Fin-de-Siècle Illustrated Books Lorraine Janzen Kooistra. The Artist as Critic: Bitextuality in Fin-deSi ècle Illustrated Books. Aldershot, England: Scolar Press; Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 1995. xiv + 304 pp. $66.95 469 ELT 40 : 4 1997 IN AN EARLY chapter of his autobiography, Born in a Bookshop, Vincent Starrett lovingly recalled the books of his youth, the pleasures they had yielded him, the dreams they had evoked, and the unaccountable ways in which such haphazard reading had led him to pursue the subject of literature across many, many decades. And then, on the very threshold of examining the books of long ago more closely, he stopped short, unwilling to allow the too-trained and weary intellect of a nearoctogenarian to violate the enthusiasms of a child. By way of explanation , Starrett wrote that "[o]ne should be wary of becoming too sophisticated, for that way one loses a lot of happiness." From the outset, it is only fair to state that I am, by temperament and training, more than a little disposed to follow Starrett's homely advice. For many years I have derived a great deal of artless pleasure from the illustrated books of the 1890s, and I confess myself unwilling to wager that pleasure for the sake of a stray insight or two. My own tastes aside, I might also suggest that it is just possible that this subject is too slender to bear the weight of too much scrutiny. In this regard, perhaps it is not unfair to recall the smoke-belching academic machinery that is occasionally constructed in order to explain the caricatures of Max Beerbohm to the cognoscenti. Then, too, in their studies of the period such knowledgeable people as Holbrook Jackson, Bernard Muddiman, Osbert Burdett, Amy Cruse, Katherine Mix, James Nelson, Stanley Weintraub, and Karl Beckson handled the subject with great care, and yet have rendered ample and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 469-472
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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