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often qualifies) previous scholarship. Furthermore, Ford Madox Ford: Prose and Politics is provided with some useful apparatus: each of its four parts is prefaced by a dated list of Ford's novels, prose, poetry, and children's books in four parallel columns, and the selected bibliography supplemments D. D. Harvey's for the period 1962 to 1977, with a few additional works up to 1979. In short, Ford Madox Ford: Prose and Politics is a valuable contribution to Ford scholarship, though it has some very real weaknesses as well. Perhaps the most important of these is that, in concentrating so much of his discussion around those works which have been at the center of critical attention, Green forgoes the opportunity of taking up more fully Ford's really neglected works of fiction and nonfiction: works like An English Girl, The Spirit of the People, Mister Bosphorus and the Muses, and Henry for Hugh receive scarcely more than a mention. On the other hand, Professor Green sometimes goes over substantially the same points more than once and occasionally seems to dwell too long on the conclusions of previous scholarship. Furthermore, in one respect at least, his command of the scholarly background seems decidedly weak: in those few cases where Green attempts to discuss Ford's work in the context of art history, he is at best perfunctory and at worst careless. Green takes up Ford's relationship to the Vorticists, Futurists, and Cubists in scarcely two pages; but perhaps this is just as well, because it is clear that he has made no serious effort to work out Ford's relationship to art history, and he is fully capable of describing Ford's efforts to render perceived reality as "impressionist" on one page and as "expressionist subjectivity" less than ten pages later. But these are minor flaws in an otherwise well-done study. Perhaps the greatest drawback of this slender book of barely two hundred pages is that it is priced at nearly $40.00! Robert C. Schweik State University of New York College at Fredonia 4. CHILDE ALFRED AND ST CHRISTOPER Mary Hyde, ed. Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas. A Correspondence. New Haven : Ticknor and Fields, 1982. $25.00 Nothing illustrates more the compulsion to write which permeated Bernard Shaw's being than his long correspondence with people who were not worth his time and energy yet received both in full measure. Of correspondences already published , that with Molly Tompkins best illustrates the point. Two new correspondences in print, with Alfred Douglas and Frank Harris (the latter my own new edition), reinforce the paradox. Why write often, and at length, to has-beens to whom one owes nothing and with whom one has little or nothing in common except the itch to write? A world betterer unshakeable in his conviction that lives could be salvaged and re-made, Shaw put his Pygmalion impulses to work with thousands of hortatory letters to people who might possibly be improved and re-directed through his epistolary method· A correspondence with Shaw was much like taking religious instruction with a priest, with conversion the objective; the difference was that Shaw's system was far more entertaining and far less rigid in application. 206 One also sees Shaw, the playwright, at work. In attempting to re-plot the life of Lord Alfred Douglas, for example, Shaw was demonstrating how little difference he saw between the theatre and real life. His dramatic characters were often his working models of humanity, and the Shakespearean dictum that all the world was a stage sat right with the Shavian view. That he wasted his time with the world's Alfred Douglases and Frank Harrises may be our limited way of looking at such epistolary relationships: his perspective may have been that he wanted, in his fashion, to save souls. Between the lines, perhaps, authorial omniscience spilled over into human terms, as Shaw's involvements in life and art blurred categories . In such cases he was no longer playing God with stage characters; he was behaving as God with real people. The more he did so, the less he perceived the difference. On one level his letters to down-and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 206-209
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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