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BOOK REVIEWS these and other novels, only to suggest that those readings can be attached to the book's overall thesis only by stretching the "idea of aristocracy " so thin that it becomes nearly transparent. "Aristocracy" eventually becomes little more than a synonym for "value," at which point it loses much of its own value as a heuristic tool. The same mixture of sharp local insight and hazy historical generalization characterizes the chapters on high modernist writers. Incisive readings of Wyndham Lewis's Tarr and Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway do much to enrich our sense of their complexities and contradictions. Piatt's efforts , though, to extrapolate from them to produce an account of aristocratic modernism is less successful. Once again "aristocracy" mutates into other value-terms such as "distinction," "taste," and "hierarchy." By the time we reach the brief discussion of Joyce's Ulysses that opens Piatt's final chapter, "aristocratic" has become a synonym for formal complexity. Joyce's exuberant wallowing in bourgeois culture notwithstanding , he reveals his clandestine endorsement of aristocratic values through Ulysses's "aristocracy of form." It is hard to know what to do with that phrase, other than to call it rather vague. In the end, Piatt calls our attention to a facet of late-Victorian and early-modern writing that has gone largely unnoticed. If his claim that "for a period of some thirty years literary culture seemed specifically defined by the attention it devoted to aristocracy" seems a bit inflated, he nonetheless points the way to further study. Stephen Arata ________________ University of Virginia Collected Works: Yeats The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats, Volume II: The Plays. David R. Clark and Rosalind E. Clark, eds. New York: Scribner, 2001. 957 pp. $70.00 THE PUBLICATION of a new edition of W B. Yeats's plays is a major literary event, especially when it occurs in the context of the prestigious fourteen-volume edition of the Collected Works, and one wonders why the editors, in their brief preface, appear to be on the defensive, marshalling various quotes from literary VIPs to assert Yeats's importance as a dramatist vis-Ã -vis his status as a lyric poet. One cannot of course expect, at this point in time, any significant addition to the canon of the plays or radical revisions of their texts. Rather, the interest of such an edition lies in the arrangement of the material, the quality of the explanatory notes, the comprehensive listing of editorial emendations and 89 ELT 46 : 1 2003 the provision of additional material that can add to our understanding of the plays or shed light on their genesis. Compared to the second edition of the Macmillan Collected Plays (1952), probably still the text most widely used, the present volume has indeed increased the number of plays, because the editors print, as separate entities, the "ballet version" of The Only Jealousy ofEmer (1919), called Fighting the Waves and acted at the Abbey in 1929, as well as the early (1903) prose version of The Hour-Glass (1914), two texts which Yeats towards the end of his life had wished to add to his literary canon. In addition they include, as Part Two, two texts which Yeats himself had omitted from the CollectedPlays,Diarmuid and Grania, written in 1900 in collaboration with George Moore, and Where There Is Nothing, originally written in 1902 with Lady Gregory and Douglas Hyde, an early version of The Unicorn from the Stars (1908). The arrangement also differs from the Collected Plays: the editors adopt Yeats's own plan for a "Dublin Edition" projected by Scribner's of New York in 1937 but never published. It followed the chronology of the plays as they were first published except for the texts in Four Plays for Dancers and the four plays in Wheels and Butterflies (More Plays for Dancers) which Yeats had treated as units, thus deviating from the strict chronology of the individual plays. While the reshuffling of the plays is not in itself a major event in Yeats scholarship, the editors' decision to revert to the 1937 schedule is significant in that it allows them to include both Yeats's own brief introduction and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 89-92
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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