In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

he thinks that women have a right to vote as a matter of justice, that men should not "cooperate" in the campaign but merely be "permissive," and that if it ever becomes law female suffrage will break up the present marriage system, social rules, religious codes, and legal arrangements on property (p. 360). A great number of the letters in this volume deal with the publication of The Dynasts, but they reveal mostly the limited value of Hardy's letters as an avenue of insight into the process of creation. Unlike Dickens, for example, Hardy does not communicate through his letters intense involvement in his creative work: letters about The Dynasts mention research trips to the British Museum, they deal with business and printing details of the three volumes' publication (all of them appeared during the period covered in this volume), and they occasionally refer to the long work's critical reception. As I say above, the annotation for this volume is superb. Occasionally, I could wish that the editors would indicate the previous publication of a letter which to some readers might seem to contain dramatic revelations (e.g., the one to Goose saying that Hardy and his former illustrator Helen Paterson might have married each other instead of the spouses they did wed "but for a stupid blunder of God Almighty" [p. 218]); but to indicate such information for one letter would for consistency require uniform practice, and the editors are wise not to bog themselves down with searches for previous publication. Some of the annotations show extreme care to fine details, such as the one noting that Hardy erred in predicting a performance of The Trumpet-Major at the County Asylum before the regularly scheduled public performance on 18-19 November 1908, but that there was a performance at the County Asylum later, on 31 December (p. 333n). The editors seem to have missed no allusion of this sort in the letters, and as with the previous volumes this is an accomplished model of collected letters. Dale Kramer University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2. ON JEROME K. JEROME Joseph Connolly. Jerome K. Jerome: A Critical Biography. London: Orbis, 1982. £7.95 Subtitled "A Critical Biography," it is anything but. A "Literary Biography," yes. It relies on extensive quotation from Jerome's work, especially JKJ's My Life and Times, and traces the development of his character and his world view with chronologically appropriate citations from his novels, plays, short stories, and humorous travel pieces. But literary criticism, save for the briefest of passing comments, is absent, and frustratingly so. For instance, JKJ's style is brought up as an important matter—as indeed it should be in "A Critical Biography"—at a point in his life just after the publication of his best-known work, Three Men in a Boat: One of the most intriguing questions posed at this stage of his career does not concern the volume of his output, however, but its particular quality. How was it that Jerome could write so very well? How 202 did he evolve his style? For the style is undeniably his strength, as certainly up till now he had nothing new to say, and neither did he yet intend his writings to convey any sort of message. The incidents in Three Men in a Boat derive strength from their very ordinariness; most, if not all, of the inconveniences had been described before. The point was the way in which he wrote it. He was a very good storyteller and he was able to make some inevitable disaster or other seem very fresh and funny. This was his style. So much for style. To be fair, the next paragraph does describe in general terms how JKJ's omnivorous reading and, Professor Higgins-like, "unashamed eavesdropping" led to JKJ's writing lively and lifelike dialogue. Nonetheless, the fruitless evocation of the matter of JKJ's style, only to dismiss it with scant attention, is an annoyance, and an annoyance recurring throughout the book. Ruth Marie Faurot's Jerome K. Jerome, for the Twayne Series, was justly reviewed as having done the spade-work on JKJ without actually performing a critical...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 202-204
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.