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

Book Reviews, Volume 32:1, 1988 pay attention know that nothing can be settled about these "people," that they, in fact, dissolve in an indeterminacy of their author's repressed making. Such a novel, if Joyce had only known better, would have ended with "Maybe," rather than with a litany of life-affirming Yes's. Gerty MacDowell is a case in point. As McGee points out, "In the past, she has always been treated as a character, and this has led to a number of (sometimes outrageous) interpretations, ranging from the view of Gerty as a sentimental heroine to Gerty as a prostitute." By contrast, when McGee talks about Gerty, he means something altogether different: ". . . when I refer to Gerty's desire I want to emphasize again that I do not mean the desire that gives us our image of Gerty-the desire animating the technique of this episode ("tumescence, detumescence"), whose symbol is the virgin. . . . Gerty is finalized and imprisoned by the language that speaks for her." Indeed, everything in Ulysses becomes proof of just how finalized, how imprisoned, how delimited Joyce's fictional world actually is. As McGee would have it, History-like one's cultural moment or sexual identity-is a nightmare from which no writer, not even Joyce, can ever awaken. Thus, repression, rather than ripeness, becomes all. It is a message that those who see the novel as our human comedy rendered richly will find hard to swallow, especially as they follow Leopold Bloom through the Dublin of 16 June 1904. Sanford Pinsker _______________________________Franklin & Marshall College_________ JULIA STEPHEN'S PROSE: AN UNINTENTIONAL SELF-PORTRAIT Julia Duckworth Stephen: Stories for Children, Essays for Adults. Diane F. Gillespie and Elizabeth Steele, eds. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987. $24.95 In an astonishing number of other people's lives, Julia Stephen, as her daughter Virginia Woolf phrased it, was the "centre." To her husbands, her seven children (by Herbert Duckworth and Leslie Stephen), her parents, and other emotional dependents, she was the consummate Victorian "Angel in the House." Given her life of selfsacrifice , her early death (when Virginia was thirteen), and the articulateness of those who mourned her, we have known Julia chiefly through others' largely idealized depictions of her. In the 1907-08 memoir she titled "Reminiscences," Virginia lamented "What would one not give to recapture a single phrase [of Julia's] even!" In 1939 she regretted that she could not "check" memories and idealized portraits of 125 Book Reviews, Volume 32:1, 1988 Julia against evidence from the real Julia: "For what reality can remain real of a person who died forty-four years ago at the age of forty-nine, without leaving a book, or a picture, or any piece of work-apart from the three children who now survive and the memory of her that remains in their minds? There is the memory; but there is nothing to check that memory by; nothing to bring it to ground with." Though Julia did not, as her Stephen daughters would, leave great creative work behind her, she did leave some writing that Virginia either forgot or discounted. Julia wrote and published one pamphlet and one biographical entry for the DNB (edited by her husband). And she wrote and intended to publish a series of stories for children and a few brief periodical essays. These prose works (housed in the Bloomsbury Collection at Washington State University) have now been carefully edited and introduced by Diane F. Gillespie and Elizabeth Steele. Steele's introduction to the children's stories offers intriguing information about children's literature in the Victorian era. Gillespie's introduction to the essays places them in the context of contemporary issues and publications. The usefulness of this book is enhanced by a careful chronology. Its beauty and charm are enriched by various black and white photographs of Julia Stephen, of her manuscript pages, of Leslie Stephen's animal drawings, of Vanessa Bell's paintings, of William Rothenstein's portraits of Julia and Leslie, and of Burne-Jones's The Annunciation (for which Julia posed as the Virgin Mary). This excellent text allows us to "recapture" something of the elusive Julia and to "check" others' memories...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 125-128
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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.