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BOOK REVIEWS parody, trying to surpass Swinburne in the poetry of melancholy at the same time that he tries to reverse Swinburne's values. This is the familiar difficulty of irony and parody: the loss of readers' abilities over time to identify the primary target (Swinburne). Readers of the terrible sonnets who believe that Hopkins "provided one of the essential poetic transitions to modernism" (Harris, 55, 71) are especially likely to lose sight of the parody in an age when some of the parody's attitudes , especially secularism, anticlericalism, and eroticism, have become so popular that they have been taken for granted by many literary critics. In Saville's view, the "spiritual focus of" "Easter Communion," for example, "becomes unsettled by resonances of masochistic pleasure. In this regard, Hopkins's sonnet may seem to intersect ironically with the algolagnia explored by Swinburne in his parodies of sacred verse published in Poems and Ballads in 1866" (41). Have the values of Sade and Swinburne become so dominant in our culture that this could become a popular reading of his poems? No doubt this will not be the last word in the wear between Hebrew and Hellene in Hopkins criticism. Jerome Bump University of Texas at Austin I Précis I Emily Clark University of North Carolina, Greensboro Adams, Kimberly VanEsveld. Our Lady ofVictorian Feminism: The Madonna in the Work of Anna Jameson, Margaret Fuller, and George Eliot. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2001. xi + 226 pp. Cloth $59.95 Paper $24.95 This text on the Madonna as a powerful feminist figure in nineteenth-century literature has convinced me to reconsider her as a perpetual figure of limitation and imprisonment and the angel in the house. For those of you who also view her as a category much defined, the introduction and nine chapters on the cultural development and manipulation of the Madonna will provide a refreshing and surprising new reading. Adams argues, through Jameson, Fuller, and Eliot, that the Madonna figure serves as a "powerful symbol" for many "feminist concerns," including chastity as a freeing form of agency, religion as a living spirit in the form of "average" women, and her potential as a subversive figure even when compared with Magdalene figures. Adams's argument explores, perhaps in more detail than any other, Jameson's personal politics and reconfiguration of Madonna as goddess of spiritual power, the reversal of domestic powerlessness. 253 However, Adams also provides very inclusive sections on both Fuller and Eliot, who seek a balanced archetype in the Madonna, incorporating domestic and maternal duties of women with independence, equality, and creativity. Both authors approach feminism from an essentialist perspective, addressing gender differences as well as championing equality. According to Adams, "Jameson, Fuller, and Eliot rediscovered and to some extent reconstructed a religious tradition that harmonized with their feminine principles and promised the elevation and empowerment of women. The figure they used most often to represent these hopes was the Virgin Mother of Christianity, who became their Lady ofVictorian Feminism." John, Juliet and Alice Jenkins, eds. Rethinking Victorian Culture. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001. xvi + 244 pp. $55.00 This collection of essays originates in "Victorian Studies: Into the Twenty-First Century," a 1996 conference at the University of Liverpool. It concentrates on defining and dissolving the standard terms "Victorian" and "Culture." Editors John and Jenkins summarize the theoretical base of their text: "Arnold and [Raymond] Williams are troubled by the exclusion of the masses from the cultural capital that high culture represents. However, both recognize the Victorian period as witnessing new and distinctive contests about the relationship between 'high' and 'popular' culture, and at the same time experiencing a blurring of the boundaries defining ownership of these categories." The book is vivacious and skeptical, examining a Zeitgeist while also deconstructing it. The essays break boundaries in the historically defined Victorian era, demand qualification for the superfluous use of the term, and confuse the borders between Victorianism and modernity. A large range of issues is canvassed, including genre, political dissonance, Christianity, and time. Of the fifteen essays, Stefan Collini's "From 'Non-Fiction Prose' to 'Cultural Criticism': Genre and Disciplinarity in Victorian Studies" and Kate Flint's...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 253-255
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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