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BOOK REVIEWS painting changes to that of a play, which to Walton means that he now sees it in terms of a text, a point surely justifiable in terms of James's quotation. Since Strether is the author of the text, "to have got nothing for himself" means that he chose absence because he feared plurality, a quality which is implicit in the Feminine. Walton finds plenty of quotations in which the words "text," "book" and "reading" occur to argue her point. But these words may simply be part of an almost uncontrollable plurality of metaphors in these last novels. Moreover, Maggie's attempt to rewrite the novel or revise it at the end, noted by others before Walton, allows her to tie this to James's paragraph on revision itself in the last of his prefaces. Walton concludes that the lesson of the Master is that the Masculine presence leads to literary death, whereas the Feminine absence leads to textual creation. There is no doubt that Walton is a brilliant theoretician with the ability to quote scripture for her purposes, and reading the way she does, we are of course left without the author. Soon James's novels and tales will be used to create characters for contemporary fiction, as has already been done by Rebecca Goldstein in The Dark Sister (1991) in which characters from Washington Square coexist with the personae of Henry and William James, all equated as the dramatis personae of a fictional reinvention. If this point of view encourages us to read the classics with a new kind of freedom, well and good. In the hands of a disciplined writer and reader like Walton, there is something of value to give to the reader of literature, but it may well be the Pandora's box that can set up a reaction. It will then perhaps come as a wonderful discovery that the author not only has something to say about his work, but that he is also the creative force behind it. Walton has been cautious enough to quote James's early statement that the reader of his stories was to do at least half the work; presumably James himself had done the major half. Adeline R. Tintner ______________ New York City Global War Against Women Marilyn French. The War Against Women. New York: Summit Books, 1992. 223 pp. $20.00 MARILYN FRENCH'S The War Against Women is a succinct, up-todate , readable and compelling reiteration of the claims, advanced in 1979 by Kathleen Barry in Female Sexual S^ery, that there is an 127 ELT 36 :1 1993 actual global conspiracy against women and that the conspiracy is actively sponsored, defended, funded and enforced by the patriarchy that dominates virtually every society and government in the world. Like Susan Faludi's controversial study, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, French's book invokes warfare as the most accurate way to describe the degree of violence and hatred directed against women. And it is no exaggeration, as she reminds readers, for at every level of every culture females of all ages are continually at risk. Femicide is a global practice of literally genocidal proportions. French cites research that indicates that over 100 million women "would have existed if female fetuses were not selectively aborted and female babies given the same food and medical care as males in their countries." In China, "one village in Hupei province had 503 boys to 100 girls under the age of one." In the United Arab Emirates, the ratio is "48.3 women to 100 men!" Women are not safe in either the private or the public sphere. The buzz words "family values" conceal the site of family violence and the hideous truth of incest, marital rape, and battery while in the political, legal and economic arenas, women are steadily losing ground. The lack of response to women's plight suggests that women have somehow been both silenced and rendered invisible. The conspiracy extends even into the scholarly language used to describe their abuse, for as French points out researchers routinely describe these acts of brutality as if there were no male agency involved. Further, women's rights...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 127-131
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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