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49 Williams does not help his case much with some simplistic generalizations about "truths that Victorianism obscured" (p. 201), nor with his concluding assertion that some late nineteenth-century "English writers sought to discard or transcend Victorian conventions and limitations ..." (p. 201). Williams brings us to the threshold where the "new realism" is about to appear in the work of Hardy, Moore, Gissing, H. G. Wells and Arnold Bennett there the book ends, rather disappointingly and lamely. What we have is a somewhat hit-and-miss prefatory statement to another book. This book, however, does have some valuable things in it. Although the book is advertised as dealing "with such major writers as Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, Eliot, Austen, and Meredith, Mr. Williams is actually most interesting on non-novelists, quasinovelists , and minor novelists. Thus, in Part Two, he has some interesting things to say about Edward Bulwer Lytton (Ch. 5), Harriet Martineau (Ch. 6), Frederick Denison Maurice (Ch. 7), and Thomas Carlyle (Ch. 8). Even here, however, ten-page chapters give Williams too little space for the more penetrating discussion one has cause to expect. There are sparks here and there but, finally, Mr. Williams does not manage to light a fire under his ideas. Arizona State University H. E. Gerber 4. Forster's Personal and Public Voices John Colmer. E. M. Forster: The Personal Voice (Lond, Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975). $18.50. John Colmer refers to his study E. M. Forster: The Personal Voice as "a fresh assessment" of the late novelist's work and cites a number of developments in recent years that made such an assessment possible. Among them are the publication of new interpretations of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras - the period during which Forster came of age and began his career as a writer and the appearance of autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs of people whose lives touched Forster's life. But an even more important basis for a new evaluation of Forster's work, Colmer explains, is the posthumously published fiction of homosexual love - the novel Maurice (1971) and some of the tales in The Life to Come and Other^Stories (1972) - as well as the information contained in the collection of Förster's papers, now available to scholars, in King's College Library, Cambridge. These papers include manuscripts of the unfinished novel, Arctic Summer; manuscript variants of the published novels; unpublished lectures, essays, and talks; and personal memoranda and biographical reminiscence . Only a portion of this material - upon which Colmer bases a number of his conclusions - has been published thus far, most notably in the volumes of the Abinger Edition of Forster's works, edited by Oliver Stallybrass, that have come out to date. 50 Colmer presents Forster as "a representative figure in a transitional age" who assimilated in his early years the ethos of one era and then in his maturity strove to adapt that ethos to the exigent realities of a new age. Colmer identifies the rich vein of Romantic thought and feeling that runs throughout Forster's work, and discusses the elements that comprised Victorian liberalism, Forster*s immediate cultural inheritance. He analyzes Forster's developing critique of that inheritance, particularly in the fiction that the novelist wrote during the Edwardian period, and describes not only what Forster came to see as destructive in liberalism, but what he found in it that was valuable to him in his effort to develop a valid attitude toward life in the twentieth century. Colmer's thesis is that Forster reaffirmed the humanistic element in liberalism by insisting on the primary importance in life of the individual and his inner resources. These include the capacity to integrate apparently disparate elements of the self, the impulse to unite in love with other human beings, and the ability to respond to moments of transcendent experience that enrich the spirit. But Förster's enduring influence upon us, Colmer argues, does not derive solely from what he says to us. Indeed, Forster's own ambiguity, for example, on the matter of physical violence between individuals in a personal relationship makes more difficult our efforts to deal with the large, impersonal forces arrayed against us in the...


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pp. 49-51
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