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35. Besant's address is a cüassic; and, after the manner of a classic, it is remarkably filled with quotations. It is, to my knowledge, the first full statement made during the nineteenth century of the practices of the great novelists of the English humanitarian tradition. It preserves the essentials of that tradition: the need for faith in life as a whole, acceptance of a moral position, certainty in characterisation, and an unqualified faith in the value of each individual life. REVIEW FROM JANE AUSTEN TO JOSEPH CONRAD, ed. by Robert C. Rathburn and Martin Steinman, Jr. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958. $5.75. This is an exceptional book» Essays in honor of an esteemed teacher, often written by former students, seldom make an even passably good collection. The present book, however, differs in many ways from the usual collection of this kind. First, the contributors were apparently selected for their authoritative knowledge of the subject of their essays and not for sentimental reasons. Secondly, while well-known scholars (McKillop, Daiches, Haight, W. Van O'Connor, Tindall, and others) have contributed essays of the high calibre we expect of them, some first-rate less known younger scholars are also represented. Thirdly, this collection gains coherence and depth by being limited to specific discussions of individual nineteenth-century novels; at the same time these essays have breadth because their authors were requested to examine the individual novel in the context of the writer's total achievement. The entire collection is nicely framed by two general essays, Rathburn's "The Makers of the British Novel" and Steinman's "The Old Novel and the New," Between these two essays, the reader will find essays on Austen (2). Scott (l), Bulwer-Lytton (l), Thackeray (l), Dickens (2), the Brontes (2), Mrs, Gaskell (l), Butler (1), George Eliot (2), Reade (1), Meredith (l), Hardy (l), Trollope (2), and Conrad (l). While I am delighted to have essays devoted to minor writers, I doubt that Trollope warrants two essays while Conrad, Hardy, Meredith, Thackeray, and Scott receive only one each and while there are none on Wilkie Collins, Kipling, R.L. Stevenson. This, however, is a minor complaint about a book of essays as admirable as this one. I should like to single out for special commendation Wayne Burns' excellent article on "Charles Reade's CHRISTIE JOHNSTONE: A Portrait of the artist as a Young Pre-Raphaelite»1'" Eurns has also published on Reade in LITERATURE AND PSYCHOLOGY and PMLA (1945), His present article is likely to lead some readers to reconsider Reade's personality and his art of fiction. Also warranting special commendation is Jacob Korg's examination of the spiritual theme in Gissing's BORN IN EXILE, Mr, Korg,. no stranger to EFT, has previously written expertly and perceptively on Gissing in PML/, (1955) and AMERICAN SCHOLAR (1950). In Mr. Korg, Gissing at least comes close to finding the kind of Advocate G.W. Stonier, in the introduction to the new World's Classics edition of NEW GRUB STREET, wishes Gissing might have. Burns' and Korg's articles both examine the artistic process of converting autobiographical experience into fiction. —H.E. Gerber ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
p. 35
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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