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192 of an old canker by declaring that the proofreader for his edition of Shaw's Collected Plays was "appallingly negligent" (I, 314, 317). Thus this knight errant brings up a few flames along with ore from the G.B.S. abyss. The flames are too sporadic to smelt the ore, but they provide enough light that some readers might have welcomed even more. At the end of each of the bibliography's twelve major sections Laurence interleaves addenda pages so that scholars may bring things up to date and note anything omitted. Among one's first addenda should be the volumes of Shaw's letters to Frank Harris and Alfred Douglas, both of which appeared late in 1982, evidently after the bibliography's midyear cutoff date. Given Laurence's thoroughness and expertise, notes on his omissions prior to 1982 will be far rarer and quite suitable for kudos in a game of academic trivial pursuits . Here is a candidate from 1908—it should be entered under "Books and Ephemeral Publications" and cross-referenced as the second item under "Blurbs," as follows: THE COMPLEAT BABY BOOK: A LETTER FROM GEORGE BERNARD SHAW Advertising flyer for Arnold Crossley's The Compleat Baby Book, published by Evan Yellon, The Celtic Press, which reproduces a Shaw letter of 16 June 1908 recommending the work. Shaw recalls hearing of a lady on a Great Western express giving birth to a child with the aid of student passengers whom she instructed: "It struck me at the time [that] there was absolutely no popular guide in existence to the conduct of a childbirth. ... I do not see why the book should be a financial failure. . . . [It] should be made a school book for girls over a certain age." The letter was published with Shaw's permission. Charles A. Berst U.C.L.A., Los Angeles 2. E. M. FÖRSTER P. J. M. Scott. E_^ M^ Forster: Our Permanent Contemporary. Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble, 1984. $27.50 This book is so full of crotchets, notions and opinions, so awash in a torrent of words, that its avowed project—to demonstrate that Forster is "one of our great human resources ," "a master of language," and "one of our great funny writers," the best and truest heir of Austen—all but disappears . It also has the strangest strategy for making the reader believe this resource worth the saving, for it opens 193 with an aggressive, scatter-shot attack that takes as its first target the "depressing—unfocused, contingent and sad . . . life-story" that was Forster's and then quickly moves on to indict all the homosexual fiction and most of the non-fiction prose. Scott is totally out of sympathy with Forster "as a fictionist of homosexual relations." Indeed the depiction of any form of sexuality is aesthetically and morally suspect unless it is sufficiently platonized "as a religious revelation . . . honoured as godly" (so much for most of western literature). But it is "buggery" that is the chief culprit, so that even Proust is not allowed to have succeeded except when he made of homosexuality "a brilliant metaphor . . . of a fundamental human embarrassment." Forster did not do this, Scott asserts, and then provides a reading of "The Other Boat" which proceeds simply by fiat. "Lionel March is not presented as having a tragic kind of self consciousness," we are told, but the evidence for this is a misleading and irrelevant comparison to the clash between Sophocles' Antigone and Creon. Why could not Lionel March "have extricated himself and gone native?" he asks. This is similar to asking why Lear could not have listened to Kent or become a docile guest in his daughters' houses. (Scott's procedure of arguing by tangent and analogy is catching.) Several of the other stories are similarly described and dismissed as is, of course, Maurice "in which the performance that greets us is no less inchoate." But all these statements stay on the level of opinion. There is no careful argument from within the text, no weighing of the critical debate that the text has elicited, and, of course, as a result, no learning from any one else's readings. The essays...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 192-195
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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