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Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 there were contemporary) and of the absurd book drives of the war in which numerous books and manuscripts of some literary importance were dispersed and/ or pulped. But up to the 1960s at all events rare or valuable books could be found still in junk shops, silverfish rural booksellers and on the barrows of Farringdon Road. It was in a junk shop I (and a friend) found a first edition in a pristine state of Prufrock and on the Farringdon Road barrows a loose but rebindable copy of the 1850 Prelude, a Beaumont and Fletcher first Folio (1647), though with acidulated pages, and a Sandys Ovid of 1632, the second edition but the first to include those allegorical readings of classical myth which make it a guide for students of Renaissance mythography. None of these books cost more than a dollar. But since that time, one by one, the old provincial book capitals have attenuated: Dublin by the earlier 1960s subdued by the boom in Anglo-Irish studies in American Universities; Edinburgh by the earlier 1970s. It was at Edinburgh that I found for a couple of pounds Wycherley's Poems of 1717-the poems that young Mr. Pope "improved." "Here, Mr. Wycherley is a rhyme repeated twice within six lines." "Gadzo, is it so, Mr. Pope, pray strike it out," and John Cleveland's Poems of 1653. As a collector of more than fifty years mania, I would say that book purchases are like sins: one regrets those that one did not commit. It is always an irony that when the books you want are available, one is without the wherewithal to buy them and when the wherewithal is there, the books are not. So as one views the object of desire, go to any lengths to acquire it, short of physical violence. Ian Fletcher _______________________________Reading, England__________________ SCHREINER LETTERS Olive Schreiner Letters. Volume I, 1871-1899. Richard Rive, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. $59.00 With the publication of the first of two volumes of Olive Schreiner Letters, editor Richard Rive has begun to remedy a long-standing injustice. When in 1924 Schreiner's husband, Samuel Cronwright Schreiner (upon their marriage he adopted his wife's surname) published his, and until now the only, edition of Olive Schreiner's letters, he deliberately excluded and failed to secure numerous letters crucial to an understanding of vital dimensions of his wife's thought, personality, and life history. Further distressing, many of these earlier published letters, when compared with their originals, appear mutilated, suffering from, as Rive observes, "serious internal omissions, garbled para226 Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 phrasing and blatant alterations." Olive Schreiner deserved far better. After all, her writing constituted the fountainhead of white South African fiction, the most advanced British feminist thought of her time (1855-1920), and the most original and trenchant South African critique of British imperialism and British and Boer racism. Her religious, pacifist, and socialist ideas are no less noteworthy in their blend of careful inquiry and deep conviction. During the past decade, various scholars have alerted readers to the inadequacies of Cronwright Schreiner's collection and have quoted passages from hitherto unpublished letters. The Rive edition, by bringing together these letters as well as many never before in printwith previously released letters in fuller and corrected form as compared to the Cronwright Schreiner versions-offers a far more rounded portrait of the extraordinary individual who wrote them. Although Schreiner begged her friends and relatives, many of whom complied, to burn all of her letters, and thereby prevent simplistic or distorted perceptions of her mind at work, perhaps she would feel somewhat less agonized in light of Rive's fair and representative sample of her life's concerns and activities. This sample, be it noted, amounts to a small portion of her prolific correspondence. In addition to the destruction of thousands of letters-including several letters on sexual issues ranging from thirty to fifty pages in length, which she wrote to her husband in April 1893-Rive estimates that over 4,000 of Schreiner's letters remain extant, from among which more than a thousand will appear in...


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pp. 226-229
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