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31:2, Book Reviews The essays do not present us with "a representative selection of the best criticism," though they are readable enough; other, and better, selections have been printed. (I am thinking of Albert J. Guerard and Dale Kramer's collections .) Bloom has no objection to printing excerpts from books, though perhaps an article intended for a periodical has a better-defined form than a chapter torn away from the longer argument of which it forms a part, and one to two dozen articles a year of real merit are printed in the U.S. and British journals ; these should have been reviewed more carefully, or at any rate cited in the bibliography. Much the same may be said of Bloom's edition of Tess criticism , which reprints essays by Tony Tanner, Bruce Johnson, Mary Jacobus, J. Hillis Miller, Kathleen Blake, and Philip M. Weinstein; and of his edition of Jude criticism, with articles by Michael Millgate, Janet Burstein, Ian Gregor, Terry Eagleton, Norman Page, Kathleen Blake, Ramon Saldivar, and Philip M. Weinstein. The volumes are reasonably priced, attractively printed, and devoted to a consideration of major texts. But if Bloom persists in passing off a set of aperçus as an Introduction to a major literary figure, and if his name is to grace the title-page of literally hundreds of volumes, and if the scholarly apparatus is as vulnerable to as many objections as I have raised in this review, we need not expect a definitive treatment of any author or of any novel, poem, or play in either series published by Chelsea House. Harold Orel University of Kansas HARDY TO HUGHES: MODERN ENGLISH POETRY John Lucas. Modern English Poetry from Hardy to Hughes: A Critical Survey. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1986. $22.50 Since the object of John Lucas's survey of "English" poetry is precisely to question its "Englishness," the title of his new book is problematic. Lucas argues that between 1880 and 1914 an idea of "Englishness" gained currency that was inadequate to the real complexities and divisions of English history and society, as well as deeply debilitating for the poets who subscribed to it. In many respects, Lucas's book constitutes a re-examination of the ground surveyed in 1932 by F. R. Leavis in New Bearings in English Poetry. What makes Lucas's book a useful and stimulating addition to the critical discussions and disagreements Leavis began is not so much that he attempts to overturn the particular evaluations Leavis made, but that he views the material from a different perspective. As Lucas says in his prefatory note, he writes as a socialist, an epithet no one would apply to Leavis. To say that he does not question earlier evaluations , though, is not altogether accurate. That he values Hardy's poetry highly, finds Georgian poetry anemic, praises Edward Thomas, and prefers Isaac 208 31:2, Book Reviews Rosenberg to Wilfred Owen will not strike anyone as revolutionary. But when Lucas moves beyond the First World War, his perspective makes itself more distinctively felt. Although his final chapter deals with Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin, Geoffrey Hill and Charles Tomlinson (in a fashion too peremptory to be convincing), that is not where his book reaches its most cogent conclusion . If Leavis examined English poetry with a view to establishing the centrality of T. S. Eliot, Lucas does so to support his claim for the importance of the work of "the English Auden," the work, that is, done before Auden emigrated to America. In the later nineteenth century, Lucas argues, a desire arose among "a number of writers, politicians and intellectuals ... to identify England, to speak of 'inherent' English traits, in other words to stabilise an image, to make clear to themselves and each other just what England, the English and Englishness are and are not" (10). Lucas is profoundly dissatisfied with the images that resulted: a rural England of country houses, pastoral fields, sunny summer afternoons spent under the trees (usually elms); or the more complex, but still rurally grounded, England of the "organic community," such as we find in Leavis . These idealized visions of "essential Englishness" were, and are, Lucas argues, desperately inadequate...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 208-211
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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