In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

ELT 40:4 1997 say about the "period's materialistic preoccupations," "concerns with ownership and property," "capitalist ideology," "fetishes of power and property," "the relations between classes and genders," and so forth and so on, but one can hardly deny that Kooistra may just have a point, although that point owes little, if anything, to her ballyhooed bitextual theory. In a similar way, I would submit that bitextual theory is not necessary to produce Kooistra's observation that "Moriarty is a depraved double for Holmes." The examination of Rider Haggard's Black Heart and White Heart yields suspiciously similar results, the primary focus here being one of Charles Kerr's plates, an illustration of a noble and nubile Zulu woman and an arrogant Englishman. After dismissing the general thrust of Haggard's novel—which is really quite favorable to Africans, and more than a little critical of the English—Kooistra, after several pages of predictable bitextual fustian ("the dialogic relations of image and text allow the reader/viewer to enjoy the fantasy that all naked female flesh is sexually available"), comes to the painfully obvious conclusion that "the subject of this composition [is] explicitly sexual." Speaking only for myself, I can say that a single long and lingering glance at the illustration brought me to the same conclusion. What Kooistra discovers in the end, of course, are not the preoccupations of the 1890s, but rather the industrial-strength obsessions of the 1990s—race, gender, and sexual orientation. It is also worth noting that Kooistra's prose, packed solid as it is with rare words and the dreary vocabulary of late twentieth-century literary theory, is the perfect vehicle to express her ideas. Sad to say, but Kooistra managed, despite her evident familiarity with her subject, and perhaps because of too much sophistication, to overlook the book she could have given us. Tucked away at the back is an appendix of only twenty-six pages, a "Select Annotated Bibliography of First-Edition Illustrated Books of the 1890s," which describes in simple declarative sentences the texts and illustrations of thirty-seven books, and which offers far more in the way of sound insight than all of the pages that precede it. Clinton Krauss ________________ Montpelier, Vermont Laurence Binyon John Hatcher. Laurence Binyon: Poet, Scholar of East and West. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. 345 pp. $72.00 472 BOOK REVIEWS LAURENCE BINYON (1869-1943) was a talented and prolific man of letters in the late-Victorian mode. His interests and accomplishments were wide ranging. As a poet, Binyon's career spanned forty years, his friends and contacts over that time ranging from Sir Henry Newbolt to Ezra Pound. He was a successful playwright who joined in the effort to revive verse drama. Late in his career, he produced a much-praised translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. From 1904, he worked in the British Museum's Department of Prints and Drawings, and from 1913 until his retirement in 1937 was in charge of the Museum's collection of Oriental prints and paintings. In this latter role, he was not only an acknowledged expert on English water-colours, but also an indefatigable student and influential promoter of Oriental art. Given this long and distinguished career in diverse fields, one might expect Binyon to be better known than he is. That is Hatcher's initial observation. This relative neglect he sets out to right in his biography of Binyon. For Hatcher, the very diversity of Binyon's achievement accounts for his neglect. Scholarship in the twentieth century having become ever more specialized and narrow, a man of Binyon's breadth is difficult to capture. Then, too, Binyon suffers by association: "for decades now countless books and articles have sieved ever-finer minutiae from the lives and works of Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and Bloomsbury figures, while Binyon's generation has languished amid stereotypes of the Yellow Nineties and the overstuffed Edwardians." Establishing Binyon's "real place and stature in British cultural history" is Hatcher's avowed purpose, which he aims to accomplish "through an interdisciplinary study giving equal weight to the various aspects of his long career. ..." The book has a chronological organization, moving...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 472-476
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.