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ELT 40:4 1997 Caramello's work is well documented, with interesting research evident in the footnotes. Although the reader will find the James section easier to digest, and of course more pertinent to interests of the ELT audience, anyone who is interested in James and Stein or the biographical act will find this to be an indispensable study. Alice R. Kaminsky --------------------------- SUNY, Cortland James New York Edition David McWhirter, ed. Henry James's New York Edition: The Construction of Authorship. Foreward, John Carlos Rowe. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. xxvi + 333pp. $39.50 REVISION IS CURRENTLY a "hot" topic in literary criticism. Even the superiority of the early poems of the Romantics, usually considered better than their later revised versions, has recently been challenged. Elizabethan scholars are now wrestling with the problem of Shakespeare's revisions in Othello and especially in Lear. How much more reason, then, is there for a study of revision of James's work in the construction of the New York Edition. The leading Jamesian scholars of the 1990s have tackled at least one aspect of the monumental edifice completed in 1909, which presents a challenge to both the older generation of critics, as well as to the young stars of the present day. In this collection of fourteen essays, many of which are published here for the first time, there is a diversity of methodological approaches most of which converge on a single objective, the rereading of James's prefaces to his revised work as a construct of authorship. This results in the presentation of a new James who is no longer the Master. He is a figure with "his own anxieties concerning sexuality, conventional gender roles, and authorship at the turn of the last century." As John Carlos Rowe in the foreword to the book sums up the direction of the collected essays, James is seen here as a "vulnerable" and "lonely writer." James the Master has been replaced by "new Henry Jameses," who now are "anxious, conflicted, marginal, even ashamed of themselves." What the book's editor, David McWhirter, calls the "desanctifying" of theiVeu; York Edition includes a range of essays that extends from Michael Anesko's continuation of his work on James's relation to his publishers to Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick's continuation of her "queer theory" analysis of James, exhibiting her remarkable imagination of excess in her definition and study of performativity as seen in the vocabulary of the prefaces. The collection also includes Paul Armstrong's straightforward essay in 494 BOOK REVIEWS which he focuses on the "oddity of the prefaces." He sees James as wishing to create an indirect relation between "the prefatory documents and the main text" involving a freedom of "analysis and imagination" on the part of the reader. Jerome McGann, in his essay, tries to show that Robert E. Young's discovery that Chapters 28 and 29 in The Ambassadors have been reversed in the New York Edition is incorrect. Using a letter from James to Mrs. Ward as his authority, McGann thinks that James has made his correction of the Methuen order in the New York Edition, which proves that the Methuen order of the chapters was a mistake. Ira B. Nadel, in his piece "Visual Culture," brilliantly, as well as carefully, annotates the relation between Coburn, the photographer, and James, the writer: "The presence of photography in the New York Edition announces James as a modern," for the frontispieces "represent a theory of culture, one in which the photograph incorporates a physical reality counterbalancing the imaginary expressed in the fiction." He tells us that "the function of Coburn's photographs ... is to mitigate the American distrust of the literary and balance the negative response to James's complex fiction, a response centered in the public's rejection of his abstract style." Nadel also gives a very useful chronology of the period during which James and Coburn worked together. Julie Rivkin's piece centers on a paragraph on revision itself that James incorporated in his short story, "The Middle Years." In spite of Rivkin's gift for logical reasoning, her theory of revision as being endless is refuted by her quotation of a passage...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 494-497
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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