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

ELT 45 : 3 2002 rence's status as a permanent East-West cultural reference point in the popular media (a status which has no doubt been attested to by many additional mentions in news articles since the tragic events of 11 September 2001). But O'Brien's periodical and book sections also reveal a goodly number of serious recent works on Lawrence, including theses and dissertations. Articles and books by cultural studies devotees, film aficionados, historians of the Middle East, and gender studies advocates reveal that Lawrence's polymathic achievements and protean selfdescription are fascinating and ever-relevant to the concerns of a new academic generation. These new academic works include, for instance, Kaja Silverman's chapter in her Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992), Graham Dawson's chapter in his Soldier Heroes: British adventure, empire , and the imagining of masculinities (1994), and Joel Hudson's Lawrence of Arabia and American Culture (1995). An excerpt from Seven Pillars of Wisdom now appears in the Twentieth Century volume of the Longman Anthology of British Literature (1999). Since O'Brien's new edition stops at 1998, the Longman Anthology is not listed there, but it marks a milestone in the acceptance by English literature professors of Lawrence as a subject for class discussion and study. O'Brien has done as much or more than any other single person to help achieve this acceptance by providing an undeniable measure of Lawrence's continuing importance to our literature, history, and culture . Given the unabated production of serious Lawrence works since 1998, which also includes, for instance, Steven Caton's Lawrence of Arabia : A Film's Anthropology (1999), I find myself hoping for the appearance of an equally thick (or even thicker) third edition of O'Brien's splendid T. E. Lawrence: A Bibliography at some point in the future. Stephen Tabachnick ________________ University of Memphis That Icon: Woolf Brenda R. Silver. Virginia Woolf Icon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. XX + 353 pp. Cloth $54.00 Paper $19.00 THE RISE of cultural studies to academic prominence has sprouted a new, glittering branch of reception studies, what we might call popular iconography. Literary scholars and historians concerned with the social fate and ideological impact of works of art were once content to track the undulating curves of artistic reputations, often taking an understandable, if not always generous, retrospective pleasure in 348 BOOK REVIEWS seeing the hits and misses of reviewers confronted with new works whose defining features had not settled into a familiar aspect. But with its self-proclaimed populist politics, postmodernism has directed attention to star- and celebrity-dom, with the result that high cultural icons have increasingly yielded their place in the academic heavens to media "stars," a vast, ever-changing and amusingly diverse galaxy of notables from Charlie Chaplin and Jacqueline Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe and Virginia Woolf. The last pair have actually been coupled in the popular imagination, as Brenda Silver shows in her wide-ranging study of Virginia Woolf, the icon. The result is monstrous, but, Silver reminds us, monsters are etymologically coded and culturally destined to put on a good, if horrific, show. Monstrous and horrific hardly seem the first words that conventionally come to mind in association with Virginia Woolf, either as writer or icon. Sensibly, then, Silver, a noted scholar of Woolf, reserves her remarks on the most outrageous and deliberately distorted uses of Woolf 's image for the concluding section of her personable study of Woolf's iconic life. She begins by documenting how Woolf's face became so familiar and, apparently cherished, that it came to adorn T-shirts, mugs and posters hung on dorm room walls (and, truth be told, my study!). Her life as an icon can fascinate, baffle and sometimes enrage anyone—writer, scholar, common reader—who has a vested interest in separating Woolf, the writer of certain works, from the Woolf who is interpreted, appropriated and reimagined by public intellectuals and popular artists with distinct ideological agendas. Silver (who helpfully designates the difference between these two figures by stipulating that Virginia Woolf, in her readings, will refer to the icon, Woolf to the writer) commendably struggles to reconcile the literary...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 348-352
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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.