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

Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 context which tells us what the private, seemingly isolated, has really been. (Newton, Women, Power, and Subversion, 1981, xix-xx) Newton defines the collective project of feminist and ideological criticism as rescuing criticism from "an abstract world of ideas, where interactions can be minimized or emptied of real meaning and real consequences" (xxi). Her program tacitly rebukes Cosslett not only for ignoring the impact of the past on the present, but also for failing to clarify the past milieu from whence these novels sprung. For although Cosslett discharges her duty of interpreting the significance of women's friendships within narrative structures, one could wish her aims had been less modest. Without considering the matrix of experience that generated and were reconstituted by these novels, she can only retool ideological illusion. Annette Sisson _______________________________Indiana University_________________ WILLIAM HALE WHITE/ MARK RUTHERFORD Catherine R. Harland. Mark Rutherford: The Mind and Art of William Hale White. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1988. $22.50 Readers of ELT probably don't need to be told that William Hale White (1831-1913) wrote (among much else) six novels between 1881 and 1896-all ofvwhich are announced as being by Mark Rutherford and edited by Reuben Shapcott. I had better put my cards face up on the table: I have a thesis about White/ Rutherford-that White is not a naive autobiographical writer who merely used a pseudonym to enable him to discuss the possibly painful details he revealed about himselfbut rather he is an original and sophisticated novelist. White in his creation of Mark Rutherford and Reuben Shapcott, in his construction of the six books, is very far from being naive about fictions, and is experimenting successfully with new ideas. The novels are neither autonomous units nor are they simply parts of one long novel: they are at one and the same time separate fictions and interrelated parts of a single work. The Revolution in Tanner's Lane, Miriam's Schooling, Catherine Furze and Clara Hopgood are fictions by a fictional character where the connections between the individual books are established by recurrent themes and settings, and where we can begin from the "author's" autobiography. The Autobiography and Deliverance of Mark Rutherford are the foundations on which the other works are built. And, since Rutherford is dead by the end of Deliverance, the other four 236 Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 novels may be read as posthumous works. If asked for proof, I would draw attention to the dedication of Miriam's Schooling-anà quote the first sentence of Clara Hopgood: "About ten miles north-east of Eastthorpe lies the town of Fenmarket, very like Eastthorpe generally; and as we are already familiar with Eastthorpe, a particular description of Fenmarket is unnecessary." This is surely an astonishing sentence-if the work is to be regarded as an autonomous unit in any conventional sense. The only way we can be familiar with Eastthorpe is if we have read Catherine Furze, the novel immediately preceding Clara Hopgood in the series. I've confessed at such length just in case the form my hero-worship of White/ Rutherford takes has biassed my response to Harland's book. I desperately wanted this study to be a good book as I think that White is a great writer-indeed, a great novelist-yet it is regrettably clear that he does not have here the currency that a writer of his calibre deserves. I fear, alas, that this study will do little to persuade readers unfamiliar with him that here is a writer who must be readand those who do know his work will find nothing here that is new. The book does not take us one step beyond work done in the 1950s by Stock, Stone and Maclean. The only recent critic to receive any attention (and that inadequate) is John Lucas (The Literature of Change). David Daiches (Some Late Victorian Attitudes) and Donald Davie (A Gathered Church) are both ignored-and yet they are hardly obscure figures. And-given that this is the first full-length study of White since Merton's disappointing book of 1967-it is to be regretted that Harland seems...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 236-241
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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.