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Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 Schreiner: Beyond South African Colonialism (University of Massachusetts Press, 1989). The task of editing Schreiner's letters is far from easy. She frequently wrote in haste and during illness. As a result, her penmanship is often difficult to decipher, and her grammar and spelling quite casual. Together with his research assistant, Russell Martin, Rive copes with these painstaking editorial chores skillfully and provides readers with pithy footnotes identifying the multitude of names, events, and associations that Schreiner mentions. Useful, brief biographical accounts accompany major sections of the edition. These editorial and research demands of the book, combined with the scholarship involved in locating and choosing letters, testify to Rive's deep commitment to and knowledge of Olive Schreiner. Despite Rive's achievement, various aspects of this volume fall short. Of minor concern, Oxford University Press's inferior duplication of photographs puzzles me. More seriously, in his effort to redress the crucial gaps in the original edition and turn our attention to Schreiner's friendship with Pearson and to her 1890s political thought, Rive stints her relationship with Havelock Ellis as well as her abiding literary concerns. Many of the letters to Ellis that Rive omits deal with Schreiner 's literary theory, criticism, creative process and techniques. Absent , too, are the numerous examples of verbalized physical affection, not only her letters to Havelock Ellis, but also most particularly to Louie Ellis, Edward Carpenter and Edith Nesbit. A fuller comprehensive collection would also choose among Schreiner's letters to persons excluded from this edition. For example, several of her letters to Elizabeth Cobb (in the Pearson Collection) and to Alys Pearsall Smith (in the Fawcett Library, London) clarify her feminist values and shed light on her concern to help aspiring career women. These shortcomings aside, Rive earns our considerable gratitude for enabling us to see Schreiner anew. Volume I is essential reading. We eagerly await Volume II. Joyce Avrech Berkman ^___________________________University of Massachusetts at Amherst CHARLOTTE MEW Penelope Fitzgerald. Charlotte Mew and Her Friends. Radcliffe Biography Series. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1988. $17.95 Penelope Fitzgerald's biography of Charlotte Mew performs three important functions: it recreates in a warm and moving way the life experience of a woman worth knowing; it brings to our attention a 229 Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 neglected poet worth reading; and it provides us with a lively and vivid picture of several social and literary groups important in the years 1890-1925, including The Yellow Book coterie, the Monro's Poetry Bookshop circle, and Mrs. "Sappho" Dawson Scott's varied social circle. For literary scholars the latter may well be the most significant function of the biography. Fitzgerald entitles her study Charlotte Mew and Her Friends and the appended and Her Friends is significant. Interspersed throughout are sketches of many contemporaneous writers, the famous and forgotten. Receiving fullest attention are understandably Ella D'Arcy, May Sinclair, Mrs. Dawson Scott, Alida Monro, and Sydney Cockerell, since these people are significant figures in Mew's life story, but in sketching these fives Fitzgerald also features John Lane, Ezra Pound, Harold Monro, and Thomas and Florence Hardy. The liveliness and variety of these portraits and the skillful recreation of life in turn-of-the-century London make this biography worth reading and bespeak Fitzgerald's experience as a novelist. As Katherine Lyon Mix in her classic A Study in Yellow uses The Yellow Book as a focal point for discussing a large group of writers and artists, Penelope Fitzgerald uses Charlotte Mew as a unifying center to evoke a particular time and place. The logical question is why Charlotte Mew? With such a wealth of colorful characters from which to choose, why focus on the quiet spinster with one slim book of poems and only a few published stories and essays to her credit? The justification lies primarily in her fine poetry, which deserves wider recognition, and in the interesting personality which lay beneath this seemingly quiet exterior. Mew published her first story in that most exciting and controversial of 90s periodicals, The Yellow Book, but quickly disassociated herself at the first breath of scandal. She was a frequent contributor of essays and...


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