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31:2, Book Reviews "every Christian is to believe," I cannot see anything in the poem that denies it. Presumably Davie's evidence is the word "Beyond"? But Kipling was asking a lot from his readers if he expected them to see something "fiercely blasphemous " in that one word, when it is so easy to take it in a simple geographical sense. In any case, even if it is figurative, Jesus himself can be said to have gone "beyond Gethsemane"—to Calvary. Kipling told F. W. Doubleday that the poem refers to "the horror that overtakes a man when he first ships his gas mask. What makes war most poignant is the presence of women with whom he can talk and make love, only an hour or so behind the line" (Carrington, Rudyard Kipling, 1955, p. 474), Davie's interpretation is far-fetched. My reason for not agreeing with Davie that "Gethsemane" is one of Kipling's greatest poems is a doubt about its veracity which was suggested to me by a well-known English poet who had fought on the Western Front in World War I. Gas was first used (by the Germans) in 1915, but the British then used "respirators " for protection: gas-masks came later, in 1916. By that time the Picardy peasants would hardly have been interested to watch British soldiers pass "or halt, as it might be." And why did the peasants continue to occupy an area which must have been close to the German lines, since gas-masks were habitually shipped there? And if the speaker had a gas-mask, why did he get gassed? But perhaps this is all too literal-minded. "Gethsemane" remains a moving poem. One final demur. Discussing the story "The Gardener" Davie says "... the war cemetery's gardener is revealed to the Mary Magdalen figure as Christ himself." This is not correct. The allusion to John 20.15-16, where Mary Magdalen speaks to the risen Christ "supposing him to be the gardener," is of course part of the meaning of the incident, but it is not the whole meaning: Helen Turrell, unlike Mary Magdalen, turns away without recognizing him. I think a poignancy has been missed here. W. W. Robson University of Edinburgh WOOLF AND LONDON Susan Merrill Squier. Virginia Woolf and London: The Sexual Politics of the City. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. $19.95 Squier introduces this excellent book with the question Virginia Woolf asked herself in the last year of her life: "Why do I dramatise London perpetually?" Woolf s own self-analysis, in other words, explicitly calls for Squier's analysis of Woolf, though most serious readers of Woolf would need no explicit authorial sanction to agree with Squier's overarching and persuasive arguments that Woolf recreates London as a site both realistic and imaginary; that she does so in order to portray woman within the territory of patriarchal culture; and that her various literary uses of the city—as setting, as image, as symbol— 232 31:2, Book Reviews provide the ground against which Woolf achieves an authentic voice as a woman writer. One major task of feminist literary criticism in the last ten years has been to develop theoretical models to describe the woman writer's complicated negotiation between two figures of "authority" and psychological identification in her stmggle to attain an authentic voice: the figures of the father and of the mother. Each of these two figures must be seen doubly: on the literal, familial and biographical level and on the figurative, traditional or literary level. Woolf urges us to "think back through our mothers," if we want to be writers; and Squier's fascinating argument lends a new dimension to our understanding of how Woolf may have managed this complex and enabling imaginative identification. Squier argues that Woolf identified Talland House, Cornwall with her maternal heritage and the city of London with her paternal heritage. Her development of authority as a writer involved her strategic dealings with "this geographic and psychic split" (3). One concrete expression of this gendered "split" involves the conflict between Woolf s "tea-table training" and her desire for a professional...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 232-235
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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