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ELT 40:4 1997 To back up this judgment against post-structuralist criticism, she refers only to the introduction to Post-Structuralist Joyce, the 1984 collection of French essays in translation edited by Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer. She implies that Attridge and Ferrer validate only the stance that Joyce's writing is "about ruptures [and] discontinuities." But she misunderstands their position. Attridge and Ferrer never suggest that Joyce's writings are "about" disjunctions; rather, they explicitly declare that post-structuralist readings are not directed at the question of what a text is "about." The effort to "produce" the meaning of texts has its uses, they acknowledge, but it is a limitless project, since texts "will return new answers as long as there are new questions, new questioners, or new contexts in which to ask questions." They claim for their post-structuralist collection the different task of aiming "to produce Joyce's texts in ways designed to challenge rather than comfort, to antagonize instead of assimilate." Especially since Heller does not address the issue of critical premises per se, her complaints would have been more productively directed at specific examples of "bad" post-structuralist criticism (of which she offers none) than at post-structuralism in general. Fortunately, the value of her contributions does not finally depend on correcting post-structuralism. The foundation for her study is, rather, the humanistic promise of Joyce's art. She traces the unifying effects of Joyce's disjunctive strategies, wherein textuality styled after organic processes results in meaningful patterns. Joyce, Decadence, and Emancipation offers an intelligent, jargon-free, and frequently provocative (if not always convincing) reading of the affirmative effects produced where paralysis meets epiphany in Joyce. As a work devoted to the dual task of the elucidation of key formal patterns and attention to the humanistic potentialities of literature, it takes its place as a study accessible and useful to relative newcomer and practiced Joycean alike. Lisa Pagano Carstens ________________University of California, Irvine James & Biography Charles Caramello. Henry James, Gertrude Stein, and the Biographical Act. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. xii + 275 pp. $39.95 IN THIS STUDY, Caramello offers a close reading of four forms of biography: Henry James's early Hawthorne and his later William 490 BOOK REVIEWS Wetmore Story and His Friends; Gertrude Stein's Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and Four in America. Following in the footsteps of Jane Austen's celebrity in the film world, James's fame is in the process of being enhanced by the forthcoming cinematic versions of his novels. One is led to wonder what James would have thought of this phenomenon since his excursion into dramaturgy was a failure. One is also led to think about what James would have made of the new biography Henry James: The Young Master by Sheldon M. Novick, who suggests that James had his first love affair with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Such an inference is not exceptional in modern biographies, but James disapproved of intimate biography and expressed displeasure "in the growing taste of the age for revelations about the private lives of the persons in whose works it is good enough to be interested." As Caramello notes, James's biography of Hawthorne has produced such an extensive and rich commentary and debate that it has become a symbol of American culture. The American press reviewers found James's little Hawthorne "condescending" or "patronizing" toward American civilization and toward Hawthorne as an American writer. There is the infamous passage in which James contends that antebellum America lacked the high civilization that a novelist or realist required. James used Hawthorne "Not only as an emblem of the artist and man of letters in antebellum America, but also as an icon of the artist figure in a timeless realm. . . ." Ultimately James's biography was transformed into autobiography "in which the naive and fanciful Hawthorne makes way for the critical and imaginative James." On the subject of marriage James was vexed by Hawthorne's ability to sustain a marital and literary life, despite what James believed to be the unquestionable incompatibility of the domestic and artistic life. He gave Hawthorne credit for pioneering a type of romance...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 490-494
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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