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Book Reviews "Victorian" institutions can be said to exist, censored plays until 1968, well after every other European country had abandoned the practice. Britain's censorship of drama and opera was as ill-defined and unpredictable as most other censorships. Yet it firmly prohibited, among other things, the depiction of Biblical, royal, and political characters on stage. There were, to be sure, ways to avoid these restrictions. Censored plays could be put on in London and other cities "free of charge" (often a dodge), accepted as innocuous "burlettas" if performed with music, and circulated in unexpurgated form in print. But, as Goldstein rightly points out, the censorship usually was effective even when enforced haphazardly. It inhibited the expression of ideas and made it difficult for critical views of government to be heard. Goldstein's book has some serious weaknesses. It is based entirely on secondary reading, has a "modernization" thesis which is dubious, and is occasionally deficient in its use of sources. For example, A Long Time Burning by Donald Thomas (1969), easily the best book on British censorship, is not cited in the text and does not appear to have been used. Definitions of censorship are imprecise. Seditious libel prosecutions were historically a major element of censorship. They were employed in the nineteenth century in Britain as a means of stifling political dissent. Yet they are mentioned by Goldstein only when he deals with political caricature, a misleading division between picture and text that makes Britain appear to be more receptive to free expression than it was. Notwithstanding its weaknesses, Goldstein's volume has material of interest in it and will be read profitably by many readers of this journal. Joel H. Wiener City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center The Ninth International Symposium Bernard Benstock, ed. James Joyce: The Augmented Ninth. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1988. xi + 369 pp. $35.00 JAMES JOYCE: THE AUGMENTED NINTH, edited by Bernard Benstock, describes itself as "Proceedings of the Ninth International James Joyce Symposium." Like most such collections, it is a mixed bag. It is the best of Joyce criticism, it is the worst of Joyce criticism. It is sometimes brilliant, sometimes benighted in the way, it seems, only professors can achieve. It is fun to read, and it is painful to read. One thing it is not is what, strangely, the editor calls it, "diverse." Nor, really, does Benstock seem to have wanted it to be. 499 ELT: Volume 33:4 1990 Every one of the essayists selected takes his or her cue from those non-formalist methodologies and ideologies—deconstruction, Althusserian Marxism, feminism, Lacanianism—which in some circles can still get away with calling themselves "new." As a time-capsule document, a representative exhibit of what the institutionalized avant-garde of a certain set sounded like at a certain time (Summer, 1984) in a certain place (Hamburg, where the symposium was held), this book is incomparable. For those interested in finding out what happens when poststructuralism, etcetera, encounters James Joyce, The Augmented Ninth instantly supplants its predecessor, Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer's Post-Structuralist Joyce. For one thing, where Attridge and Ferrer are frankly advocates, Benstock, though sympathetic, is willing to let the chips fall. If PostStructuralist Joyce might have been subtitled "Advertisements for Itself," a subtitle which suggests itself for The Augmented Ninth is "A Richness of Embarrassments." Although any reader interested in either Joyce or modern criticism will find much to admire, for this reader anyway the impression that lingers is of excruciating selfexposure . There is, to begin with, the infamous jargon, which to be fair really is sometimes the only language that will serve to convey some difficult thinking but which is often just affectation and obfuscation , a point made by one of the volume's contributors, Geert Lernout, who comments on a critic's expressed doubt as to whether Lacan "ever attempted to enter personally in Joyce's oeuvre"—that "he means, I suppose, that Lacan never actually read Joyce." There is the incantatory invocation of certain talismanic terms, as when Bonnie Kime Scott (elsewhere an engaging stylist) uses some variant of "problematic " six times in a five-page essay. There is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 499-504
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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