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ELT 43 : 2 2000 Emma. In addition to the poetry of Dorset and the poetry of Lyonesse, there are other groups in the book, but instead of being distinct types, they are variations on the two I have described. The book will be useful for specialists in Hardy, but it is not for general readers and certainly not for students. The subject is too limited and the reading too hard. It is not too hard, let me hasten to say, because the writing is in the appalling academic style so prevalent in scholarly books. To the contrary, the author has a delightful flair for metaphor and a sensitive ear, as one sees and hears in this sentence describing Hardy's marriage to Emma: "Their long cohabitation in cold proximity and love long dead fed the grinding determinism of much of Hardy's poetry" (although the proximity of "dead" and "fed" rhymes too loudly in my ear). Instead, the writing is a bit dense, with too little clarification. To be sure the subject is difficult, but it could have been made clearer. Michael Bright __________________ Eastern Kentucky University Beresford Remembered George M. Johnson. J. D. Beresford. New York: Twayne, 1998. xviii + 186 pp. $28.95 "ALTHOUGH once considered a leader among the younger generation of Georgian novelists," Johnson writes, "John Davys Beresford (1843-1947) currently stands as one of the most unjustly neglected figures of the period." Certainly this compact but comprehensive survey of Beresford's contributions to many genres and subgenres should help redress this neglect. He made significant achievements in the realistic biographical novel, "scientific romance, speculative and metaphysical fiction, social satire, the short story, literary criticism, and reviews of books...." It remains a puzzle why certain transitional authors failed to build a reputation that would outlive them, despite long, productive lives, frequent and—occasionally—laudatory reviews of their works in England and America, and a network of relations with other authors. Two easy answers are a desire to write for the moment only or a lack of vision. Neither of these applies to Beresford. "Despite the volume and versatility of his work," including 49 novels, five short story collections as well as "nine autobiographical and miscellaneous books," Johnson argues, "an underlying idealism informs and unifies it." 224 BOOK REVIEWS Ironically, it may be this very idealism, which so often took the form of didactic design, which is responsible for some of the neglect Beresford's work has suffered. Johnson freely acknowledges that Beresford's adherence to certain causes, such as the investigations of the Society for Psychical Research, Theosophy and faith healing—even though he remained a skeptic about some of the claims and techniques of all these—led him to adopt a bluntly didactic approach in such novels as God's Counterpoint, Housemates, and The Camberwell Miracle. Despite his passionate interest in, and advocacy of, some of these idealistic, supra-normal systems, however, Beresford never lost touch with the realism evinced in his first published novel, The History of Jacob Stahl (1911), and the other two parts of the trilogy,A Candidate for Truth and The Invisible Event (1912, 1915). An important aspect of this was his continuing concern with the part heredity played in maturation. Johnson's strategy in introducing and assessing this forgotten writer is admirable in several respects. His logical organization, combined with inclusion of what I take to be all but negligible works, means that a reader wanting to learn about one of Beresford's lesser works will probably find not an isolated description of it but rather a portion of a chapter, in which aspects of this work are logically related to larger considerations . In addition, his respectful, scholarly handling of earlier criticism of his subject's life and works is admirable. He is not only clear in his documentation, but freely acknowledges indebtedness. A case in point is Helmut E. Gerber's 1952 dissertation, "J. D. Beresford: A Study of His Works and Philosophy," which he characterizes as "serious critical attention " and a "conscientious work." Of course where his study has led to different conclusions he takes pains to make the differences clear. A writer presenting the work of a largely...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 224-226
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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