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Book Reviews In an overly brief conclusion, Fogel suggests that Bloom's paradigm may be flawed—too monolithic, too androcentric to apply to all questions of influence. In particular, Fogel seems sympathetic to feminist critiques of both Freud and Bloom. He writes that metaphors and analogies employed "by Bloom, Gilbert and Gubar, Joyce, and Woolf . . . may be powerful aids to thinking about influence relations, but they also have serious limitations, particularly if they are held as anything more than figurative and provisional." He alludes to a new figuration of influence either as "a mythic, tribal process entailing both veneration and destruction of the master or chieftain" or "a process that need not be marked by anxiety whereby artists consume the towering innovators in order to create anew." These are tantalizing prospects, the latter of which corresponds to the feminist critical enterprise of imagining a dialectic of meaning which transcends Foucault's "power/knowledge." As a rhetorical move in the final pages of a book based on an authoritarian paradigm, this moment of hesitation is puzzling and anticlimactic. But as an attempt to look at and beyond the issue of sexual difference in influence studies, the conclusion sketches out a worthy problem. I wish that Fogel had explored in earnest the searching questions his conclusion raises. Wendy Moffat Dickinson College The Great War John Onions. English Fiction and Drama of the Great War, 1918-1939. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990. χ + 199 pp. $39.95 JOHN ONIONS'S STUDY of World War I fiction and drama begins with a useful and provocative thesis. Tracing the cultural hero, social hero, and existential hero through literary tradition by examining heroism in the Iliad, Shakespeare's Henry plays, and nineteenth-century literature (with particular emphasis on Conrad and Kipling), Onions establishes that by the end of the nineteenth century, social heroism had firmly established itself. He observes that while World War I literature tended to denigrate and reject the social hero, the war writers simultaneously respected and affirmed an existential heroism. Instead of viewing the literature of the Great War as a "heroes' twilight," Onions concludes that the war "dismantled the social hero and left intact the existential 369 ELT: VOLUME 34:3, 1991 one." The literature of the war, "having destroyed the myth of conventional and social heroism, . . . continues to affirm some sort of belief in heroic action." Onions argues convincingly that "The soldier-writer is thus the new social hero," and his examination of this in Henri Barbusse's Le Feu {Under Fire), Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon's war poetry, and Alan Monkhouse's plays completes the two-chapter introduction of the context in which Onions's discussion of Great War fiction and drama will occur. In his third chapter, Onions provides thumbnail sketches of approximately one hundred "Minor Works" that appeared during the boom of war literature from November 1928 through March 1930 to give an overview of the changing sense of heroism and war that emerged about a decade after the Armistice. He then devotes his remaining six chapters to a well-chosen group of writers that can demonstrate the trend that is Onions's thesis. Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero and Henry Williamson's Patriot's Progress appear in the fourth chapter to represent "The Ironic Mode." Onions describes these as "two of the most overtly bitter attacks on the social hero which came out of the war boom." The fifth chapter, featuring Herbert Read's short fiction and In Retreat, R. C. Sherriffs Journey's End, and Somerset Maugham's For Services Rendered, examines "The Isolated Hero." Chapter Six discusses R. H. Mottram's Spanish Farm Trilogy and H. M. Tomlinson's All Our Yesterdays in the context of these two novelists as historians, and in a separate chapter Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End (which Onions treats as a trilogy) emerges as a more successful integration of literature and history. For Onions, in the eighth chapter, Sassoon's Complete Memoirs of George Sherston reveals a failure to establish convincingly the "fully heroic figure," but in the final chapter Frederic Manning's Middle Parts of Fortune achieves "the Unified Heroic Vision." Onions reveals...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 369-372
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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