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ELT 36:1 1993 have found in Shakespeare: in The Doctor's Dilem ma and in Arthur and the Acetone, as Nathan observes. It is also in Mdjor Barbara's Lazarus, and in Undershaft's Shakespearean "My ducats and my daughter" (II). The most overwhelming difficulty with Shaw and his treatment of dictators and the Jews comes in Geneva and his refusal to take very seriously the fundamental criticisms of Lawrence Langner. Even when Shaw prefaced this objectionable play (1945) and later added an act (1947), he seemed unable to believe or cope with the Holocaust. Churchill 's statement that Shaw had blinded himself to reality puts it kindly. This volume, like the rest in the series, is full of excellent reading both for Shavians and non-Shavians alike in the ELT readership. John J. Conlon University of Massachusetts at Boston The World Outside England Simon Gatrell, ed. The Ends of the Earth, Volume 4:1876-1918. English Literature & the Wider World. Atlantic Highlands: Ashfield Press, 1992. xiii + 257 pp. $49.95 WRITING ABOUT "Boys' Weeklies" just before the outbreak of the Second World War—but drawing partly on his own boyhood memories from the period just before the preceding war—George Orwell concluded that the fictional world which these vastly popular magazines depicted was based on two fundamental political assumptions: namely, that nothing ever changes and that foreigners are funny. To judge, however, by the very serious tenor of virtually all of the essays collected in The Ends of the Earth, such generalizations—on the subject of foreigners at least—are either dead wrong or else bear little relevance to the kind of middle to highbrow writer chiefly being considered here. Are we to conclude then that Orwell was wrong or irrelevant? No, I don't think so, at least not in the case of Conrad, who is the principal subject of two essays in this book (as well as of major parts of two others), so that he seems meant to serve almost as a model of the late-nineteenth to early twentieth-century literary traveller, in both a physical and spiritual sense. Reading Conrad's major fiction, it is difficult to avoid (or to forget) all those contemptibly funny Teutons in Lord Jim and Victory and "Falk." Even in Heart of Darkness, there is MaTIoW1S black helmsman who, mixing swagger and funk, is at least as comic as he is tragic, and so is Kurtz's eccentric Russian disciple, fittingly attired in motley. The Belgians themselves, even when they don't belong to the grimly 100 BOOK REVIEWS funny company of pilgrims, are an odd lot, funny-peculiar if not straightforwardly hilarious. Only the archetypically English Marlow and his immediate audience of archetypically English friends are wholly exempt from the charge of funniness, and the partial exemption granted in the case of Kurtz may owe as much to his English education as to anything else. The irony in all this, of course, is that Conrad himself was a foreigner, something which either goes to prove Orwell's contention more convincingly or else suggests that all of us are both funny and foreign as part of our inherited human condition. Significantly, therefore, despite editorial attempts (of which more later) to draw unambiguous boundaries fixing national identities, there are a surprising number of "foreigners" in this collection: aside from Conrad, there is Kipling who was born and partly grew up in India (and one of whose best-known remarks concerns the ignorance of those English who only know about England); Robert Louis Stevenson, who was more of a Scot than an Englishman; E. M. Forster, whose frequent sense of not belonging to the country of his birth can be traced to his inability to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly; or H. G. Wells, who felt excluded largely because of his working-class origins. Part of the reason therefore why all of these writers are fascinated by the world outside the "real England" is that they themselves belong to that "foreign" world and see themselves as peculiarly qualified to interpret it to their more provincial compatriots. None of these writers, despite finding (selected) foreigners funny or despite occasional attacks of virulent chauvinism...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 100-104
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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