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BOOK REVIEWS this notion develop through the cumulative reading experience, it also occurred to me to wonder what it would have been like to read a version of this book arranged according to a different and more conventional organization . I could imagine a theoretical introduction that would have laid out the definition of feminist humor, mapped its history, and justified the often daring, deliberately unpredictable choice of texts in the rest of the chapters. For what Stetz has given us is good enough to make us want more. Stylish, lucid, witty, and sharp, every sentence finds its mark. As Stetz writes about the uses of pleasure in feminist fiction, she generates her own pleasure: like the texts she discusses, British Women's Comic Fiction involves us in "a form of community, or at least of communality" of mutual enjoyment. Talia Schaffer ________________ Queens College, CUNY Victorian Age Anthology The Victorian Age: An Anthology of Sources and Documents. Josephine M. Guy, ed. New York: Routledge, 2001. vii + 632 pp. Paper $28.95 THIS SUBSTANTIAL ANTHOLOGY is aimed primarily at the textbook market in universities, but anyone with a healthy interest in British culture during the nineteenth century will find the selections wisely chosen, substantial, and for the most part a satisfactory introduction to a large number of problems that are still relevant to our newlyminted century. The book does not patronize readers, or achieve less than it promises. All the contested issues treated here were hotly debated during Queen Victoria's reign, and the selections (mostly taken from longer works) are fair in presentation; Professor Guy, Senior Lecturer in Victorian Studies at the University of Nottingham, is evenhanded . Unfortunately, the extracts are not always able to stand on their own, which makes the case for supplying a fuller background in the several short essays written by Guy even more compelling than she admits; but this generously proportioned volume is designed to familiarize readers with a richly detailed and often confused battleground, and by and large succeeds. The final impression many students will come away with is the grimness of the arguments; many of them are sufficiently intense and so ably constructed that they put to shame many comparable but thinly reasoned debates in the century that has followed, both in England and the United States. They give no quarter, and the authors chosen by the edi477 ELT 45 : 4 2002 tor carry on their debates on a fairly high level of generalization; very few drag in personalities. (Matthew Arnold's personalized slashes are atypical of the general tone, and it is worth remarking that Carlyle's jeremiads speak bitterly of Victorian types rather than Victorian individuals .) The usual suspects have been rounded up, i.e., all the authors included were significant figures in their own time, and have earned whatever attention we can give them today. Even so, some half-forgotten figures are provided an opportunity, perhaps too long delayed, to mount a platform and orate to a new generation of readers: William Stanley Jevons, an apostle of the "marginal evolution" in economics; John William Colenso, Bishop of Natal, who was deposed after his questioning of the literal truths contained in the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua; William John Courthope, whose services to literary texts led, perhaps inevitably, to the formulation of new laws governing taste; William Acton , whose writings on the "sex-passion" ignited several controversies that still burn on, affecting our sense of what Victorians believed about "incontinence and secret states of cohabitation"; and Edward Carpenter, whose writings constitute an odd amalgam of mysticism and serious thinking about "the homogenic passion." A controversy well suited for this kind of anthology is, of course, the explosion that The Origin of Species set off in 1859. Fully 100 pages are devoted to arguments set down by Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, and Herbert Spencer, and one may find as well a portion of a lengthy review-article written by Samuel Wilberforce and published in the Quarterly Review. The editor's remark that "there is no reliable record of the events" at the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science may be more categorical than...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 477-480
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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