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BOOK REVIEWS ment—seems like a cumbrous, tendentious strategy for justifying or explaining "a more explicit erotic idiom than James himself was willing to abide." Jim Barloon The University of St. Thomas I Précis I Emily Clark University of North Carolina, Greensboro Dames, Nicholas. Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. 242 pp. $49.95 Nicholas Dames argues that the nineteenth century placed immense importance on memory and nostalgia as a complex social trope, which ironically relied upon the individual's ability to forget. Indeed, one could not idealize the past without first forgetting its problematic moments. Dames argues that nostalgia implies the social instability that all nineteenth-century fiction expresses rather than "the novel in isolation." He directly indicates that his text seeks to explicate the differences in the representation of nostalgia and fiction through "the epistemes of memory that both preceded and followed it." Thus, he demonstrates not only the importance of nostalgia as both forgetting and complex remembering, but also the breadth of genres that include nostalgia as key concepts ofthe period. He begins with the lack of memory in Jane Austen's works and explores the traces of phrenology in Charlotte Brontë, retrospect in mid-century fictional autobiography (including Dickens and Thackeray), amnesia in Wilkie Collins's works, and amnesia as history, which includes George Eliot's Romola. Ellison, David. Ethics and Aesthetics in European Modernist Literature: From the Sublime to the Uncanny. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ix + 230 pp. $59.95 David Ellison's investigation of modernism limits itself to France, England, and Germany while acknowledging the wider scope of modernity to include the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. He creates a continuum based on the sublime and the uncanny that locates the literary connections between Romanticism and modernism. Ellison's text has two self-described sections: Part One focuses on historical and theoretical background information while Part Two examines the transition from Roman495 ELT 45 : 4 2002 ticism to modernity in fiction. He remains focused on the influence of aesthetics in Part Two and includes Nietzsche, Proust, and Kafka in his discussion, while also extensively commenting on Conrad and Woolf. His essay on Woolf s fiction particularly demonstrates the depth ofthe uncanny in modern fiction. "Fishing the Waters of Impersonality: Virginia Woolf s To the Lighthouse" highlights the usefulness of biography in literary aesthetics and exemplifies not only the importance of Woolf s diaries to her texts, but also her use of other sources in what Ellison categorizes as an "uncanny" way. He traces the direct influence of the Grimm fairy tale "The Fisherman and His Wife" on both To the Lighthouse and Woolf s progression toward suicide. He contends that the roles of the fish and the fisherman become transposed onto Lily Briscoe and Mrs. Ramsey, who struggle to reconcile ethics and aesthetics. Their roles continually shift to reflect Woolf s problematic expression of her own mother and place as a feminist. Ellison concludes that Lily's completion of her painting and Mrs. Ramsey's "refusal of the home" eventually allow Woolf to signify the most complex problem confronted by modern women: "Either be a mother and agree to stay (bleiben) within the ethical as home-like; or choose the dangerous metamorphoses inherent in rhetorical language, in the literary as such, the domain of continual "'becoming.'" Ellison's treatment of Woolf combines multiple techniques and meshes Part One and Part Two by demonstrating the clear connections between historical, theoretical, and literary study, as he also does with Conrad and Alain-Fournier. Meckier, Jerome. Dickens' "Great Expectations": Misnar's Pavilion Versus Cinderella. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2002. 296 pp. $38.00 Jerome Meckier compiles compelling evidence to support his categorization of Great Expectations as a parody of and response to what he deemed unrealistic portrayals of Victorian culture using, or misusing, the trope of Cinderella. Meckier clearly declares his complex theory that Dickens composed Great Expectations to accomplish five goals: to avenge Charles Levers's "unrealistic serial " in All the Year Round; to position himself above not only his contemporaries but other authors he considered inferior...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 495-497
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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