In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

31:2, Book Reviews declared by Fletcher likely to be "merely confusing and a very bad model" for the kind of students who might need glosses on such matters as classical or biblical allusions. It seems not to have occurred to Fletcher that the edition is intended to accommodate more than one class of reader; but, apart from that, I submit that no one for whom the edition is intended would find Miller's carefully organized, precisely worded, pellucid presentation "a very bad model" in any case. Enough! My concern here has simply been to call attention only to some of the misleading simplifications, distorted interpretations, and far-fetched attributions of motives which Fletcher has attempted to foist not just on me but on other scholars who deserve better. Robert C. Schweik State University of New York ____________________________________College at Fredonia_________________ FOUR ON HARDY Terence Wright. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1987. Cloth $22.50 Paper $7.95 Harold Bloom edits and introduces Thomas Hardy, $24.50; Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, $24.50; Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, $19.95 New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Terence Wright's volume belongs to a new series entitled "The Critics Debate." The second volume listed above is one title in a series of 129 volumes called "Modem Critical Views." The third and fourth books are part of a series of 151 volumes that will be known as "Modem Critical Interpretations." The good news is that the editorial concept behind each series is serious, intelligent, aware of the value of conflicting views, and determined to be up to date (the earliest essay reprinted is from the late 1960s). The bad news is that "The Critics Debate" pitches its discourse at too low a level ("When can we be sure we are talking about 'form' and not 'content'? We might well ask, indeed, whether it is possible to separate the two," 30), and that Harold Bloom's editing of these three volumes—a preliminary sampling of several hundred for which he has assumed responsibility—is perfunctory, even lazy, and in general renders a disservice to important critical questions and major literary texts. I do not mean to be unkind to any of these efforts because the market for them certainly exists, and each volume indicates both the extent and quality of a large fraction of Hardy secondary literature. Nevertheless, all four volumes share certain limitations. Wright's analysis of approaches to Tess does not recognize the existence of half the critics who write about Tess in Bloom's volume, and omits from its consideration a number of first-rate critiques of this, perhaps Hardy's most memorable single achievement in the genre. Chelsea 205 31:2, Book Reviews advertises that each volume "edited" by Bloom contains a critical bibliography, but Jennifer Wagner seems to have done much of the basic work (Bloom acknowledges in both the Tess and Jude volumes his gratitude for her "erudition and judgment" in helping him), and the bibliography in each case is a simple list of books and articles with no evaluation of their usefulness or limitations. Major bibliographical aids to the study of Hardy are omitted (one would never learn from these volumes that bibliographies of the best criticism and scholarship pertaining to Hardy's individual novels have been printed.) Instead, a superfluous chronology of major events in Hardy's life (the same chronology) is printed in the Tess and Jude volumes, and takes up four pages. Wright's book prints a nearly useless index consisting of fifteen lines, and the Tess and Jude volumes, going to the other extreme, indexes in different places both the author and any work cited. I prefer the second kind of index to the first, but wonder, with mild bemusement, whether any reader is apt to consult an index for "sleep metaphor . . . and emotional torment," and whether, indeed, such an index is unreasonably inclusive. Wright's "survey" (social, "character," "ideas," "formal" or "structural," and "genetic" approaches to Tess) covers fifty pages and has more than thirty-five subheadings. So many divisions of subject matter may strike some readers as critical taxonomy running wild...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 205-208
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.