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63 scient iousIy, and provides summaries of Ford's novels for the convenience of all of us who are unlikely to read the whole thirty for ourselves. But he is not adequately equipped to cope with the vagaries of Ford's erratic and puckish talent. The most egregarious instance occurs on pp. 52-53, where he quotes Ford's outrageous parody of a scene as it might be written by Thackeray and by a modern impressionistic novelist. Professor Cassell describes these as "short examples of rendering" and adds anxiously that "the second paragraph is not very good impressionism, but neither is the first good Thackeray. With his characteristic exaggeration, he is illustrating a point to his technically illiterate reading audience," Similarly: the elaborate analysis of Ford's devices, at the end of the chapter on "The Early Novels," fails to demonstrate wherein these socalled novelties in point of view, scenic progression, and "time-shift" differ at all from the practices of ail novelists during the preceding century. One cannot help being aware of the naivete of a critic who feels obliged to explain that Ford's novéis "are divided into parts; usually each part, whether titled or not, completes one segment of the action and prepares for the following one," None the less, Professor Cassell's book is useful as a basis for a tentative appraisal of Ford's merit. In spite of the deceptive variety of themes and moods in his stories, the fact emerges from this study that his heroes are always autobiographical, especially in their victimization by greedy, jealous wives, and that Ford's personal failure to find adjustment and satisfaction in life dictates the elusive note of self-pity that prevents his novels, as it prevents Gissing's, from achieving the full status of great fiction. Duke University Lionel Stevenson V1- Vf Vf Vf Vf Vf Vf Vf Vf Storm Jameson. MORLEY ROBERTS: THE LAST EMINENT VICTORIAN. London: The Unicorn Press, I96I. 10 s. 6d. "I saw Morley Roberts for the first time in 1933, when he was seventy-five", says Miss Jameson. His life of adventure on land and sea was then far behind him, He had ceased writing novels, short stories and books of travel and was mainly concerned with expounding his views on science and human life. So, though the book is a biographical and psychological essay which takes in the whole of Roberts's life, it essentially shows him as a reticent, dignified, shabby old man, whose only society was that of his step-daughter, Naomi Hamlyn. Born on December 29, 1857, he was educated at Bedford Grammar School and Owens College, Manchester, where he met George Gissing whose friendship he enjoyed until the latter's death in 1903, even though he later rendered a bad service to Gissing's reputation in THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY MAITLAND -- that fictionalized, patronizing and not unfrequently erroneous or tendentious biography. At 19, he quarrelled with his father—an Inspector of Income Tax—and sailed for Australia, where he stayed for about three years. After an interval of clerking at the War Office and the India Office, he went off to Texas in 1884 and spent another three years wandering in the American West. On his return, Gissing and Hudson, his two closest friends, persuaded him to write down an account of his travels: the result was his first book, THE WESTERN AVERNUS (I887). From then on, until his 64 death at 85, he poured forth an unbroken flow of novels, short stories, newspaper articles, books of travel, biographies and philosophical works. That he wrote too much and too quickly is only too obvious, but Miss Jameson would have us reconsider the merits of THE WESTERN AVERNUS, THE SALT OF THE SEA and TIME AND THOMAS WARING. His literary work never brought him more than a mere pittance and he died in poverty and poignant solitude. As a young man he must have been a dashing fellow, full of energy, with a great capacity for enthusiasm. But his restlessness told on both the happiness of his life and the quality of his work. His marriage to Alice Selous, which he "wrapped up in personal...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 63-64
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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