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BOOK REVIEWS that community means, or could mean. Not all readers will take this necessity as seriously as Berman (in the best poststructural manner) does, although few, I think, will make their way through her intricate, subtle reading and emerge with the same understanding of Woolf intact. This is especially so in the case of The Waves, which here becomes a rather startlingly direct response to the rise of fascism, addressed in turn by "a novel about the possibility of community not only without charismatic leaders but also without any structure like that of nation, state, or party." Is this last characterization as good a way as any of defining "cosmopolitanism "? Hard to say. Overall, it could be concluded that cosmopolitanism becomes in Modernist Fiction a negative rather than a positive term, an ideal of life for resisting the implacable fact of narrow, masculinist, incipiently violent, and remorselessly collective designs of any one nation. If so, then is cosmopolitanism ultimately only a migrant 's version of "community"? Or, worse, an aesthete's? Berman never pauses to consider whether her authors are not finally offering aesthetic solutions to social crises or political problems—in ways not so differently than the solutions were so comprehended under bad old paradigms. She speaks at the end of the possible emergence of "new realms of nonnational affiliation," which "take strength on the margins, and insist that a fluctuating being-in-common be the source of any political common beings." Two cheers, then, for cosmopolitanism! I allude to Forster's famous essay with some care. There could easily have been another chapter on him. I mean the possibility to suggest two things: how influential I hope this fine book is, and how seductive its discourse insofar as proposing value-laden terms for what we read today. Could the sort of theorization Berman gives her four modernist authors be just as easily accorded to the rest? Will we now admire our modernists—migrants all—not because of their deep roots in national traditions but because of the strength of their cosmopolitan visions? Terry Caesar Mukogawa Women's University Camp as Sympathy Dennis Denisoff. Aestheticism and Sexual Parody 1840-1940. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. xii + 191 pp. $54.95 WHEN DENNIS DENISOFF turns with "the pleasure of a blush and a smile" from Maggie Hambling's sculpture of Wilde in his Epilogue, 81 ELT 46 : 1 2003 he blushes for the sculpture's tackiness, not its sexiness. The gesture sums up the thesis ofAestheticism and Sexual Parody: Aestheticism and camp have historically widened sympathies through popular commercial forms. Denisoff argues that the history of British Aestheticism is not simply the line that runs from Tennyson through Pater to Swinburne and Wilde, but also its concurrent popular parodies from W S. Gilbert to Du Marnier and Ada Leverson to Beerbohm. He sets out to trace "the growing thickness from 1850 in reviewers' associations of unconventional sexualities with particular artistic views and styles." Tennyson protected himself from the homoerotic insinuations of journalists by way of such memorable reactive verses as Art for art's sake! Hail, truest Lord of Hell! Hail Genius, blaster of the Moral Will! "The filthiest of all paintings painted well Is mightier than the purest painted ill!" Yes, mightier than the purest painted well, So prone are we toward that broad way to Hell! Tennyson further admonished the audience that "man-woman," i.e., spiritual androgeny, was by no means "woman-man," or an effeminate man. Such defensive attempts on the parts of poets to distance themselves from the gender associations of Aestheticism contributed to the confused reactions of Robert Buchanan and eventually to the CounterDecadents , who, touched predictably by the sensuousness of the poetry, distanced themselves by professions of moral manliness. Denisoff argues that the more they professed their moral manliness, the more they entrenched themselves in the commodification that made Aestheticism popular; and the more they exaggerated the sexual vagaries of Aestheticism, the more its popular representation accustomed society at large to sexual difference. The more society was exposed to Aestheticism, the more tolerant it became toward deviance. Thus Vernon Lee's critiques of some of the excesses of male Decadence in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 81-84
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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