In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS liar difficulties of her subject, there was no other way Lundberg could have written the book. With no resources available to which she could direct readers, no readerly acquaintance with the life and work of Malet, and no clear answers to some of the most basic questions about her subject , Lundberg has done the only honest and useful thing: she has given us everything she got. If Lundberg knows it, we know it. Some big themes do emerge through the accumulation of detail. Lundberg describes a powerful woman writer's life over eighty years, showing how themes like self-renunciation and martyrdom ebb and flow within Malet's writing, how Malet's literary ideologies were shaped by writers ranging from George Eliot to Zola, how Malet's enmeshment in Kingsley family finances and dynamics shaped her life and work, how Malet tried to evade the sexual aspect of her relationships, and how Malet's authorial persona emerged as a way to escape her biographical situation. We are privileged to have an extraordinarily detailed view of the complexities of a life that ranged from mid-Victorian prosperity to postwar poverty and a body of work that ranged from Victorian realism through modernist experimentalism. An Inward Necessity changes the field of Malet studies; indeed, it helps create that field. Lundberg has given us a lifetime's worth of information to sort through, argue about, and reshape as we will. For the first time in a century, it is possible to begin to know who Lucas Malet was. Future Malet studies will start here. TALIA SCHAFFER Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY Diaries & Audience Deborah Martinson. In the Presence of Audience: The Self in Diaries and Fiction. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2003. ix + 173 pp. $39.95 MANY READERS, even the most sophisticated, expect autobiographical writing to reveal something essential and true about the writer telling the story. No matter that, as post-structuralist theory contends , language is inherently fictive and that autobiographical narratives are made more so by the creative process of shaping and interpreting a life. Something about the autobiographical "I"—that shared identity among author, narrator, and autobiographical character —encourages us to believe that there is a truth to autobiography not to be found in fiction. And we expect to encounter this "truth" more fully in the diary than in the memoir or autobiography proper. Personal, intimate , ostensibly private, the diary's record of an individual's daily activ349 ELT 47 : 3 2004 ities, feelings, and thoughts promises to reveal the hidden, the confessional, the authentic self beneath the more social, public persona. While reading a diary, one critic contends, we enjoy "the feeling of the voyeur, peeping around pages, as if they were curtains, searching out the secret thoughts and life recorded on the private page." But Deborah Martinson argues in In The Presence of Audience that diaries are not as private and revelatory as we think. For diarists often have an audience, even if it is the imagined audience "hovering at the edge of the page." Women diarists in particular write in the knowledge that the significant men in their lives—their fathers, husbands, lovers —may feel entitled to "diary privileges." "The male 'privilege' of reading , judging, and perhaps even amending diary entries," writes Martinson, "makes women vulnerable to their control, makes them 'cautious ' of exposure." This is not to say that husbands are "the enemy." But husbands traditionally hold more power in marriage than women and women, in turn, inevitably experience pressure to conform to society's image of the ideal woman and wife: "To a husband (or father) who reads a diary, an entry detailing the smallest indiscretion may seem unorthodox and radical, a violation that warrants censure or punishment. This reading makes diaries dangerous documents indeed." As a result, women diarists often adopt defensive strategies to obscure the reality of their lives. They play roles that will placate or please their husbands; they remain silent on potentially vulnerable issues. They hide, they dissemble , they posture, they invent. Martinson claims that they become adept at "both writing and concealing themselves and their lives in text." To discover the specific effects of male...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 349-352
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.