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ELT: VOLUME 34:2, 1991 "ironies, symbols, and mythic structures" of the story and brings the essays of Mornings in Mexico convincingly to bear in presenting a more complex reading of the tale. But the complexity offered here stands out in a book where elsewhere the author's intense pursuit of Lawrentian doctrinal consistency flattens out and simplifies Lawrence's art. In the bargain D. H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination is poorly copy-edited. Historical passages about Lawrence's career that should be in the past tense are gratingly in the present. ("Shortly after Lawrence completes The Woman Who Rode Awa/ in the late summer and early faU of 1924, he writes the long essay, The Mozo' that is later coUected by his publisher, Martin Seeker. . . .") The English critic Colin Clarke appears as Clark, the Hemingway character Frederic Henry appears four times as Frederick. The ongoing high portentousness and self-dramatization of Balbert's style soon grow wearing. He should be discouraged from further use of "adamance," "insistent," "nurturant," "prothalmic," and "resonant." And shouldn't someone have told him that "seminal" is a dangerous word to use in phrases like "seminal formulations about sex"? The terrain Peter Balbert has staked out is especiaUy important in Lawrence studies today. His is a voice that deserves to be heard. There is no mistaking the position he argues. Balbert states his case aggressively and provocatively, and I suspect that he fuUy intends to raise some hackles. Obviously this is a goal he has achieved. Keith Cushman University of North Carolina at Greensboro THE REFLECTIVE WILL John R. Reed. Victorian Will. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1989. xvi + 493 pp. $39.95 OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES, John R. Reed has pubhshed a number of books that have significantly contributed to the mapping of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Some, such as his studies of Tennyson's Idylls and of H. G. Wells, have been narrowly focused; others have been considerably more ambitious. Like his earher Victorian Conventions, this latest study reflects a broad and compendious knowledge of Victorian literature, especiaUy fiction, in which he is perhaps most at home. Victorian Will also manifests, with or without derogation depending on 248 Book Reviews one's point of view, a resolutely traditional procedure in the placement of texts in their historical setting. For readers of ELT, it should be stated at the outset that the Enghsh hterary transition of primary interest to Reed is an earlier one: from Romantic to Victorian, "from aggressive heroism, or what might be caUed the imperial wiU, to controlled heroism, or the reflective wUl." The "abiding paradox" of the mid-Victorian age, he feels, is that whUe the exercise of individual human wiU is a prerequisite for action, yet the wül's highest function is "to subordinate itself to some higher power, institutional, moral, or theological." To paraphrase the Book of Common Prayer, obedience, whether to God or science, is that service which is perfect freedom. Reed casts his net widely. The first eight chapters put forth representative (mainly Victorian) attitudes toward the wiU in phüosophy, history, law, and medicine, and distinguish between rehgious and secular theorizing on freedom and determinism. The final eleven chapters treat the appearance of these themes in the work of "creative writers," chiefly the novehsts, since "the human capacity for story telling was itself the measure, largely ülusory, of human freedom." The idea of Ulusoriness is reverted to in the concluding paragraph of Victorian Will, where Reed writes that even authors with the freedom to constitute narrative from their own imaginations inevitably shaped it according to their phUosophical presumptions: To the degree that this practice was unconscious or inescapable, even the magical as if of imaginative hterature was no true exercise of free will, but a trick window in the locked and barred house of fiction." In what is reaUy the core of the study, the author, after a brief consideration of the Romantics, traces the operations of the will as dramatized by the classic mid-Victorian novehsts, widening his view to include such figures as Kingsley, Collins, and LeFanu. Students of the late Victorians wiU find especiaUy interesting Reed's subsequent account...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 248-251
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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