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133 terely luminous drawing-room overlooking the garden at Bradmore Road. The Morris wallpaper, the spindle-legged tables and chairs, the blue plates and the 'Indian turquoise vase' represented peace if not happiness." Here the perceptual detail and the topical accuracy lend a contextual wholeness to a life fast fading into the unrecoverable past. Again, in chapter thirteen ("A Degree of Fame") Levey captures the nineties ambience that surrounded but never sullied Pater's orderly life. Levey portrays the occasion on which Pater delivered the late essay, "Prosper Mérimée" before an unexpectedly large crowd at the Taylor Institution in Oxford. Very few critics have cared to note that Mérimée emerges from the essay as a rather repressed and ultimately sinister character, whose taste for bloodshed, violence and the macabre resembles the personality Levey has been at pains to discover in Pater. If this book offers any stimulus to further Pater criticism, it will probably be because of its portrayal of Pater as an instance of an almost violent pagan irruption in late nineteenth century Oxford. In his psychological and stylistic restraint Pater becomes a kind of paradigm for the twentieth century psyche, often divided against itself, yet betraying its very division in the more or less conscious manifestations of culture and art. Ed Block Marquette University 2. Birth in Brooklyn, Death with Duchesses Karl Beckson. Henry Harland: His Life and Work (Lond: The Eighteen Nineties Society, 197~W. 15.25. Karl Beckson*s Henry Harland: His Life and Work meets a longstanding need for a thorough, reliable biography of Harland and provides a valuable resource for any consideration of his literary significance. Harland so delighted in fabricating legendary origins for himself that, among standard biographical references, only the DAB describes his early years substantially and more or less correctly. As Professor Beckson shows, Harland was not born in St. Petersburg, Russia, but in Brooklyn and was educated in the city schools and City College of New York, where he grew up, rather than in Italy and France. Drawing upon published and unpublished letters, diaries, and recollections , Beckson chronicles Harland's early years, when he became acquainted with New York Jewry through his locale and his father; Harland's first years as a novelist in New York writing about Jewish characters in local settings under "the name Sidney Luska with the guidance of his godfather, E. C. Stedman, and with the critical approval of W. D. Howells; Harland's establishment in London in I890 with a letter of introduction from Stedman to Andrew Lang which brought him into contact with John Lane, Henry James, and other important literary figures; his editing of The Yellow Book for the duration of its 1894-97 lifespan; and his final years,until his death of lung disease at St. Remo, Italy, in 1905, as the author of brilliantly successful, international and aristocratic fantasies such as The Cardinal's Snuff-Box (I900), written in a Jamesian style but without his depth. Despite Beckson·s wide-ranging research a few facts remain provoca- 134 tively elusive. Where, for example, is the manuscript of Harland's unpublished play, The Tale of an Overcoat? On the other hand, Beckson 's range of evidence is impressive, his account is evenly proportioned , and some of his evidence is especially informative or poignant. He shows, for example, that Harland, Aubrey Beardsley, and Lane founded The Yellow Book "not to be the organ of the Decadence " but to publish "'good manuscripts'" that were being refused by "'conventional magazines'" (pp. 56, 58), and that, although Harland felt with Lane that Beardsley*s ribald genius needed surveillance , Harland did not expect Beardsley's dismissal as co-editor during the Wilde scandal to last for more than an issue or two and remained on good terms with Beardsley. Beckson also quotes generously from a fascinating epistolary romance Harland conducted with Olive Custance while he was editing The Yellow Book and quotes comments such as Harland's remark to Witter Bynner in I903 that he would rather incur "'death with dutchesses·" (sic) in Europe than go to Colorado for his health as a New York doctor advised (p. 125). Professor Beckson·s account...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 133-135
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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