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31:2, Book Reviews Stemlicht is at his best when evaluating the significance of individual works in the context of English literature. He follows each short summary of plot with a brief literary analysis. Though interpretations are generalized and tend toward the obvious, the treatment of the works is balanced and fair. Stemlicht identifies strengths and weaknesses in a way that reveals Galsworthy 's range and value. The chronological treatment of each genre within separate chapters in this slim volume also allows Stemlicht to discuss facts of composition, influences, and initial reception for all of Galsworthy's major works. Minor efforts also receive mention, usually in a list with a single descriptive comment. The novels are considered in four different chapters and chronological order is altered slightly in order to discuss the volumes of TAe Forsyte Saga and the bridging interludes as one whole. The Saga especially, along with the trilogies that followed it and his other novels and plays, secures Galsworthy a position as an important twentieth century English writer. His narrative strategy of restraint, his realistic treatment of the age, his contemporary thematic concerns, but most of all his ability to create unforgettable yet hauntingly familiar characters make Galsworthy a literary presence worthy of consideration. The thorough, annotated bibliography which completes this study is eloquent in its brevity and its paucity of recent additions. Stemlicht optimistically concludes that while "Galsworthy's work once drifted to the winds. It has drifted back" (128). His little volume hoists the sail in preparation for the gathering breezes of 1980's critical methodologies. Linda Strahan University of California, Riverside PERSPECTIVES ON CONRAD Harold Bloom, ed. Joseph Conrad. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. $24.50 Norman Page. A Conrad Companion. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986. $25.00 Neither of these books wholly succeeds in fulfilling its laudable intentions: Bloom attempts to make available a representative selection of the best criticism since the mid-1950s; Page aims to provide a convenient reference tool for checking dates, names, and facts as well as a summary of recent scholarship. The specialist will need to acquire neither volume, while the acquisitions librarian pressed by difficult choices will need Bloom only if Conrad holdings are weak and would do well to wait for a more useful and comprehensive reference work than Page's. The twelve essays reprinted in Bloom cover Conrad's fiction from the early works to Victory. Conventionally, then, the late period works are neglected, and "Conrad" is essentially mid-period Conrad with Nostromo his pre-eminent achievement. Useful in summarizing a majority opinion—even if a somewhat dated 237 31:2, Book Reviews one—Bloom's book seems little justified since the works it excerpts are to be found in any adequate library. Of the few essays reprinted from scholarly journals only one comes from the two journals exclusively devoted to Conrad, and one wonders whether the "best" and "representative" scholarship is to be found mostly in full length books already easily accessible. The singularly inadequate bibliography appended here—it fails to include, for instance, Zdzislaw Najder's masterly biography of 1983—and the absence of any other than American or US-based critics suggest that Bloom and his research assistant could profitably widen and deepen their command of the field. Still, given these reservations about the volume's rationale and inclusiveness, the collection is generally solid, and any student seeking critical guidance can do no better than to begin with Ian Watt or Edward Said. Watt's article on TAe Nigger and its 1950s critics remains a stimulating discussion of vital issues despite recent readings that firmly establish the text's instability, while Said's originality and ingenuity tease ever-renewed readings of the problematics of Conrad's self-representation in his fiction and letters. Though Watt covers much ground, the picture of the 1950s contribution to Conrad studies is singularly incomplete since no excerpts from Albert J. Guerard's psychologically oriented Joseph Conrad or Thomas Moser's Joseph Conrad: Achievement and Decline, both published in 1957, are included. The latter's omission is particularly regrettable since Moser argues that the later work represents a falling-off—a view that still persuades...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 237-240
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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