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Book Reviews slip away. Were it only for the potential strength of his volume's beginning and ending, he has missed a main chance. Discussing Caesar and Cleopatra near the start, Holroyd observes that most characters are likened to animals, but "Caesar is a man" and "Caesar is Shaw: Shaw made heroic." But he has not read the play closely enough. There is fine grist for an explication of Shaw's complex selfawareness in Caesar's apostrophe to the Sphinx: "I am he of whose genius you are the symbol: part brute, part woman, and part god— nothing of man in me at all." A missed opportunity at the end of the volume is even more striking. Holroyd devotes less than a page to Heartbreak House, though it was completed by 1918. His conclusion fizzles with the deaths of Granville Barker (1946) and Shaw's sister (1920), both anticlimaxes beyond the volume's ostensible time scheme. In contrast, the Shavian dream-like despair that prevails in Heartbreak House, especially in its "mad" Shaw-like old Captain—one who castigates drifters, preaches "God's way," desires more power, and calls for "Navigation. Learn it and live; or leave it and be damned"—combines all of Holroyd's themes: the dramatic, psychological, spiritual, political , desire for power, and the personally-felt tragedy of World War I. Like the clever but drifting characters of the play, the biographer falls short, finally, when it comes to navigation. But then, knights-errant were seldom seamen. Charles A. Berst U. C. L. A. Essays on Kipling Phillip Mallett, ed. Kipling Considered. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989. xii + 164 pp. $35.00 SINCE HIS WORK came out of copyright in 1986, there has been what Kipling himself might have described as a "mudrush" of publications . Smart new editions of the standard volumes, handsome new collections of the fiction and various coffee-table monuments to postRaj nostalgia have been filling up the shelves of bookshops everywhere . Whether much of this has made, or is likely to make, any significant difference to his literary standing remains questionable. For all the talk of needing to think again about Kipling, there has been a distinct shortage of fresh and informed critical discussion; certainly not enough to create a major shift in how his work is perceived and 329 ELT: Volume 33:3 1990 valued. While the very considerable resurgence of interest over the last thirty-five years has meant that his reputation at last appears to be conforming to an almost archetypal pattern—early fame, subsequent neglect, gradual rehabilitation—the emphasis is still very much on the gradual. Anyone who doubts the truth of this has only to count up just how few university nineteenth or twentieth-century literature courses at any level include him as a set text. The appearance of a new collection of essays like Kipling Considered is therefore a particularly welcome event. The general thrust of these nine essays is neatly encapsulated in the use of the Beerbohm cartoon on the cover. Beerbohm's caricature of Kipling as an aggressively bushy-eyebrowed face springing up from a box entitled BRITISH HEMPIRE is here wittily inverted by the implication that however much he and his work may have been "put down" in the past, he still continues to "spring up" and remains an undiscountable presence. Indeed one of the most refreshing aspects of Kipling Considered is its complete lack of defensiveness and/or special pleading. None of the contributors feel any need to rehash old arguments about whether Kipling is or is not important. Taking his importance for granted, they get onto the much more interesting task of discussing the nature of his importance. A further strength is the collection's interplay of different critical discourses and approaches. Patrick Williams, for instance, looks at Kim in the context of "orientalism"; Clare Hanson at very late Kipling in relation to the strategies of other shorter fiction of the period; Robin Gilmour at Stalky & Co as a revision of the gentlemanly code embodied in Tom Brown's Schooldays; David Trotter at how Kipling's imperialism manifested itself in the Edwardian years. Omissions? Yes, there are inevitably gaps in this new...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 329-332
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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