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something of the sentimentality and judgment of the dramatist. The Liars is his most readable and playable drama; The Silver King is one of his least. It also tells us about the survivability of melodrama as against that of comedy. Though Jones's career as a dramatist preceded Shaw's and Jones received praise by Shaw for the two comedies here anthologized, Jones's career was soon eclipsed by that of Wilde and Shaw himself—Wilde doing better what Jones did well for his time and Shaw, of course, bringing far more wit and more provocative ideas into the theatre. Jones finally comes off as the best of the second rank dramatists of his time. Despite Wilde's infamous three rules for writing plays—the first is not to write like Henry Arthur Jones, the second and third are the same—The Liars was considered by some to be the work of Oscar Wilde and thus worthy to be ranked with his comedies. The introduction makes a good case for Jones and for the selection of these three plays from among the more than fifty Jones wrote. Jones' importance to the English theatre is clearly established: he brought new life, innovation and maturity to the nineteenth century stage. In an appendix, the editor includes changes and revisions Jones made in the manuscript of The Silver King and examines the controversy regarding the authorship of the play raised by Henry Herman and Wilson Barrett, both of whom claimed considerable contribution to the content of the play. The editor clarifies the extent of the contribution of each. This anthology is a useful and even-handed introduction to the work of Henry Arthur Jones. Henry F. Salerno SUNY at Fredonia 8. THE SEXUAL IDEOLOGY OF WOMEN: HARDY'S MESSAGE Penny Boumelha. Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1982. $24.95 One after another Thomas Hardy's novels dramatize the female-male relationship , while not repetitious in the particulars in his exposition of the relationship , Hardy's general replay of the sexual drama consistently and predominantly focuses on the part of the woman. Even when Hardy centers the novel on a male character, as in The Mayor of Casterbridge and in Jude the Obscure for instance, woman appears pivotal in the development of the narrative. This focus, perceived by his contemporaries more often than not as misogyny or at best antifeminism, is seen by Penny Boumelha in her book Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form AS A "Conscious Dialogue" by Hardy with "both feminist and antifeminist fiction" of his time. And contrary to many critics over the years since Hardy's contemporaries who perceived and generally categorized Hardy's women from either the persepctive of "victims" or from the opposing view of "sexual destroyers," Boumelha in her detailed and engaging study argues that Thomas Hardy's women resist "reduction to a single and uniform ideological position." She holds that "ideology is not a homogeneous and overarching unity which is somehow imposed upon a passive or an acquiescent . . . class, or female sex." Contending that Hardy's treatment of the female is critical to an analysis of his body 214 of fiction, she argues that sexual ideology and narrative form (as her subtitle links them) are inherently symbiotic in the novels. While the former contention that women are intrinsically necessary to an analysis of Hardy seems undeniable as well as self-evident, the latter is worth the detailed study which it gets from Boumelha. Arguing that the narrative not only reveals sexual ideology but also depends upon that ideology for its form, Boumelha supports her thesis in part by showing how Hardy changes his fiction from one mode to another in one novel after another on the basis of the contending sexual ideology. While a pastoral mode controls and is controlled by the subjects of Under the Greenwood Tree, in later novels other modes of writing are demanded by the characters at the same time that those modes are vehicles for character portrayal. According to Boumelha, as Hardy's view of the sexual ideology of the female changes or is contradicted, "the pastoral is disrupted by tragedy...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 214-216
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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