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BOOK REVIEWS between Joyce and Dante. Amidst the flood of critical work on both authors , Fraser's book is distinguished by its quality of insight and its clarity of expression. Perhaps the initiatory intertextuality which Fraser identifies and discusses is one explanation for the abundance of critical work on both authors, as she suggests: "Proof positive that Dante and Joyce have succeeded in their initiatory aims: the bibliography on each author is astonishing, to say the least. Dante and Joyce produce writers." Not every writer or critic deserves to be read, unfortunately, but Fraser's impressive study accomplishes what every fine book of criticism should. It is a pleasure to read, yet in the process of reading this study, one learns so much that one emerges truly better off for having engaged in Fraser's inquiry. Fraser's provocative work demonstrates why neither Joyce nor Dante scholarship has yet exhausted its own possibilities and how new readings can open new horizons of understanding. In so doing, Zack Bowen's Florida James Joyce series continues to assert its preeminence at the cutting edge of Joyce studies. KERI ELIZABETH AMES __________________ Yale University Shaw's The Black Girl Leon Hugo. Bernard Shaw's The Black Girl in Search of God: The Story Behind the Story. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. xvi +170 pp. $55.00 LEON HUGO compactly and entertainingly explains the context of the creation of Shaw's conte philosophique, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, as well as the responses it provoked in the aftermath of its publication. The context is interesting: while Shaw and his wife, Charlotte, were visiting South Africa, Charlotte had to recuperate from accident-injuries she sustained when Shaw mistook the accelerator for the brake in an automobile where the two pedals were in positions the reverse of what became standard later. But the aftermath is even more interesting, because Shaw's tale stirred not only much chagrin , embarrassment, and censorship, it also inspired five literary rejoinders , all produced within a year or so of Shaw's publication. During the visit to South Africa, Shaw made a radio address to the nation on 6 February 1932, in which he admonished his hosts to stop living off the work of slaves. The broadcast was significant politically for that reason, but it was likewise significant because it was the first time all the major broadcasting stations were linked by telephone, and therefore Shaw's admonition reached the maximum number of people. That such 363 ELT 47 : 3 2004 a complicated technology was arranged for Shaw's address gives some idea of the extent and prestige of his reputation at the time. It was analogous to the force of Voltaire's reputation in eighteenth-century Europe. Shaw saw himself in many ways as a twentieth-century Voltaire, and Hugo explains this view as one of the motivations for Shaw's penning of a tale which takes a naïve young African woman and sends her in search of God as a way of exposing the shortcomings, inconsistencies, and hypocrisies of contemporary religious beliefs. Hugo gives all the information anyone could want about the writing and publication of the book down to the weight of the paper used in printing, the ink, the printing process itself. I am not sure all the information was necessary, but there it is if anyone wants it. Hugo also recounts the history of how a relatively obscure illustrator, John Farleigh, was chosen by Shaw for The Black Girl. More importantly, Hugo explains how the publication of Shaw's tale with Farleigh's stylized yet realistic drawings of a naked Black Girl provoked the powers of censorship (probably because of Farleigh's seductive drawings as much as Shaw's heterodox views of religion). The Cambridge Town Council voted to ban the book from the Public Library; on 1 May 1933, the Irish Censorship Board prohibited its sale and circulation (at the same time they proscribed The Adventures of a Coquette by Gaston Leroux, author of The Phantom of the Opera, which gives a fair idea of how the book was thought of in Ireland). As to the book's...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 363-365
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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