In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

30:4, Reviews Important contextual relationships also emerge in this volume. There is, for example, the fluctuating interaction between literature and poUtics. In the early 1920s, the two were perceptibly drifting apart, as is made clear from a reading of the essays on the Adelphi and especially the Criterion. By the 1930s and 1940s, the situation had changed dramatically. The threat from fascism was such that even the most pristine critic could not evade political commitment. In Horizon, which he founded in 1939, Cyril Connolly initially affirmed: "Our standards are aesthetic and our politics are in abeyance." Yet, he quickly repudiated this statement and, in the 1940s, transformed the magazine into an exponent of "international humanism." Another general insight is that between Uterary magazines per se and broader economic and social developments. From 1914 to 1940, the intrusive pressures of a mass culture eroded the standing of literary journals and general reviews, as they had begun to do from the 1880s on. In 1855, it was comparatively easy to found a journal like the Saturday Review, which spoke with a cultivated voice about literature and other subjects to an educated audience. By the midtwentieth century, this was nearly impossible. The expansion of literacy, and the creation of a "new journaUsm" in response to it, divided the potential Uterary audience into subgroups, whUe shaping a popular press to meet the demands of a less differentiated general readership. In recent decades, magazines with specific interests like poetry, fiction and drama have replaced most of the general Uterary periodicals. As Muriel MeIlown makes clear in her introduction, small literary journals have proliferated . But these rely on subsidies and can usually count only on limited audience support. At the same time, a "classless" mass press has coopted the role of the general review. It takes a contextual study like this one to provide the basis, in bibliographical terms, for an understanding of these and other changes. If for no other reason, estabUshed scholars and students aUke owe a large debt to Alvin Sullivan. Joel H. Wiener City College of New York ____________________________________and CUNY Graduate Center__________ GISSING, HARDY, BENNETT, LAWRENCE Patricia Alden. Social Mobility in the English Bildungsroman: Gissing, Hardy, Bennett, and Lawrence. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1986. $39.95 In his critical study of Hardy published some twenty years ago Irving Howe observed that the rise of the self-educated proletarian was "one of the most remarkable facts in nineteenth-century English history" and that English fiction was slow to absorb this new figure. The novelists he names in support of this assertion are the very same on whom Patricia Alden focuses her attention in her book—Gissing, Hardy, Bennett, Lawrence—and she makes us feel straight 506 30:4, Reviews away how inadequate was Howe's casual allusion to "glimpses of the self-educated worker in the novels of George Gissing," then to the same figure appearing "a bit more fuUy in the 'Five Towns' fiction of Arnold Bennett, and still more impressively in D. H. Lawrence's early novels." She has suppUed her perceptive and absorbing study of the so-caUed self-educated proletarian with a double framework—historical and Uterary—and her approach is unaggressively, indeed very reasonably, Marxist. Five novels are discussed at length—Born in Exile (1892), Jude the Obscure (1895), Clayhanger (1910), Sons and Lovers (1913) and The Rainbow (1915). In these books four novelists whose social origins had quite a large common denominator recorded their subjective experience of the soul-searing problems involved in upward mobihty, they aU drew substantially on autobiographical material and concentrated on provincial life. With the partial exception of Edwin Clayhanger, their unheroic protagonists strike us as characters whose aspirations to self-cultivation are hampered by intense self-consciousness, lack of confidence and the resistance of an unsympathetic and/or uncomprehending social environment. So impressive are the obstacles in their way, so bitter (with the same partial exception) the fruits of their quest for selfdevelopment that these BUdungsromane, unlike many Victorian novels of the more optimistic kind, must ultimately be restyled anti-Bildungsromane. We are indeed closer to Somerset Maugham than to Goethe. With patience and intelUgence Alden first defines the...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 506-509
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.