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blood. It is surely no coincidence that, two years before The Croquet Player, his former mistress Odette Keun had lampooned him in an article entitled "H. G. WeUs-The Player." If mis is accepted, even such a concentrated artistic achievement as The Croquet Player can be seen to derive its power from Wells's struggle to reconcile the conflicting aspects of his temperament. Readers drawn to his work by Batchelor's account will, I think, go on to sample these other aspects, so that his advocacy of WeUs as "one of the great twentieth-century wnters" is unquestionably a Good Thing. But the impressive dialectical unity of WeUs's work and outlook eludes Batchelor, as it has eluded many a previous commentator. For it to become visible the least that we need is a serviceable anthology of the best of his non-fictional writing, to stand alongside his best-known novels and the variety of critical approaches to those novels. Patrick Parrinder University of Reading 3. LAWRENCE AND TRADITION D. H. Lawrence and Tradition, ed. Jeffrey Meyers. Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1985. $22.50 Influence study has had a respectable heritage in uterary studies. The Church fathers were interested in the presence of the Old Testament in the New; the Renaissance acknowledged the importance of the Western classical tradition. As EngUsh emerged from the classics as an independent area of study in the early twentieth century, it sought to define the historical and linguistic antecedents of the canon of English literature that it was fashioning. Adopting the philological methods employed by students of Greek and Roman Uterature, research m EngUsh departments pursued sources with the same urgency that classical scholars looked for Greek antecedents in Roman Uterature. In the twentieth century, English departments have devoted much energy to developing authoritative editions which included elaborate discussions of possible sources. T. S. EUot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent" gave impetus to a more complex view of influence than that derived from simple interest in sources: "No poet," he wrote, "no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism." Eliot not only proposes a diachronic and vertical concept of tradition by which earlier works father later ones, but suggests an ahistorical or synchronic approach. The impetus of EUot's views removed the study of influence from nanow historicism which often stressed the recurrence in later works of themes or verbal patterns that appeared in earlier ones. Instead of merely searching for historical iteration, Eliot pointed the way to the comparison of two writers for the purpose of learning not so much how one influenced the other, but rather of seeing what new insights could be gained about both writers by reading them next to one another. EUot's concept of tradition redirected attention to the 223 way that major works participate in a kind of synchronic and diachronic dialogue among masterpieces. In other words, he supplemented the vertical paternal concept of literary influence with a lateral juxtaposition which was not based on diachronic principles. In the late sixties in some influential English departments, such juxtapositions were known as "literary encounters." At the time, these encounters were among the projects on the critical frontier; they spawned in the graduate students of the time such humorous titles as "The Influence of Eliot on Arnold" or "Pope as Reader of Wordsworth." The concept of intertexuality, which now basks in the consensual glow of many major English departments, has gone a giant step further in its ahistorical assumptions; it has extended the lateral version of tradition by seeing each work—or at least the reading of each work—as a linguistic configuration in which any and all other written work potentially intersects. Put another way, the text is the nodal point to which readers bnng their prior reading; we all create our own text based on the intersection of the text we are reading with all the other texts which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 223-228
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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