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BOOK REVIEWS embodies the intimate relation between the state and the spirit in a narrative of the redemption to be gained by submitting even the most intimate and obscure parts of the self to the service of the nation. The conclusion that follows briefly sketches Lewis's findings and brings them together to support his thesis that there is something in common shared by all the early modernist consciousness that he has studied: they are all aware of their distance from any God's-eye-view or any form of objective knowledge that would be untainted by the cultural specificity and idiosyncrasy of their instincts, prejudices and desires. Moreover, each of them struggles to make of this inevitable partiality the basis for a more universal type of knowledge, so that their writings embody the whole complex of national life. Retrospectively, Lewis hopes to have shown how these modernist authors share the sense that the balance between the life of the individual and that of the nation needed to change in the face of a collapse of the firm distinction between private and public spheres. Modernism, Nationalism and the Novel is valuable as a comparative study; it provides sound and ambitious research of the connections between four modernists that belong to different national backgrounds. Students of comparative modernist literature should not miss the relevant contribution Lewis makes to current research in the field of modernist politics. The richness of the various connections established between the modernist novels belonging to different European literatures highlighted by Lewis is further increased by his dexterous knowledge and use of past and contemporary theories on nationalism, liberalism and political thought, all of which are represented in a select bibliography. This interest in political theories and their significant weight in Lewis's research make this book essential not only for the literary critic but also for the general reader interested in political history. MarÃ-a Francisca Llantada Diaz University of Zaragoza Mansfield & Woolf Angela Smith. Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woof: A Public of Two. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999. ix + 238 pp. $45.00 IN Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf: A Public of Two, Angela Smith presents readers with fresh, smart ideas about these writers ' texts that extend beyond the texts themselves to the very project of modernism, particularly modernism with a feminist edge. But it takes 205 ELT 45 : 2 2002 time to get to these readings since Smith spends the first three of eight chapters trying to establish a strong theoretical and biographical bond between Mansfield and Woolf, one more subtle and tenuous than she admits . Although "a public of two" is a phrase Woolf actually used in her diary about herself and Mansfield, Smith stretches and exaggerates the two women's friendship and literary relationship. She overstates in repeating two and three times the few snatches of their diaries and letters about the other, minor motifs in thousands of pages of private writing. Even if the reader is convinced of the two women's secure bond, Smith leaves one wondering, "so what?" Perhaps Smith later answers that question indirectly in the excellence of her analyses of their texts, bringing Mansfield and Woolf texts together to refract and illuminate new meaning. In the first two chapters, overstatement and generalities mar Smith's sense of the two women. "Liminal Experience," the first chapter, lays theoretical groundwork for the two writers' liminality in modernist literary Britain, followed by chapter two, "A Common Certain Understanding ," which makes the most of scant parallels of biographical significance. Sometimes theoretical play with the two writers leads her to biographical interpretations which beg analysis. For example, she quotes a passage from Woolf's diary which describes Mansfield physically . Smith suggests that "perhaps [she] refers obliquely to a homoerotic attraction between the two women which is rejected in favour of a writerly rapport." Nothing in the private writings of the two women supports such an attraction, nor the "intensity" which Smith argues was central to their relationship. The two writers did not cling together, strangers to themselves and others, but built lives for themselves more characterized by difference than similarity. Chapter three, "Sense of Echo," begins the specific analysis that is Smith's strength. Smith...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 205-209
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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