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256 for Amor's claim that "Socially and politically, Constance Wilde was a woman of some importance" (p. 227). This is the richest chapter in the book for readers interested in the lives of women in Victorian England. We hear in some detail about Constance's editing of the journal of the Rational Dress Society, which advocated freer, safer clothing for women. (Oscar had had two half-sisters who died in their twenties when the ball gown of one caught fire from a hearth and the other tried to aid her.) We hear about Constance's working in Lady Sandhurst's campaign to be among the first women elected to the London County Council. (Lady Sandhurst won handily, but was then disqualified because of the use of masculine pronouns in a statute defining eligibility for the position.) We learn about Constance's work for charity, about her interest in spiritualism (she went to see Madam Blavatsky and joined her order), and about much else. All of this is certainly sufficient to establish Amor's claim in the sense that Constance was someone people knew of in connection with several lively issues of the day. What remains unclear is the quality of mind and vision that Constance brought to these activities. The brief piece of Constance's literary journalism and the contemporary accounts of her speeches that Amor provides for us, for instance, do not allow an easy assessment of this quality. We know Constance was active and noticed, but not how much difference she made in the endeavors she participated in. Oscar's friend Robert Sherard wrote of Constance, "She was a simple, beautiful woman, too gentle and good for the part that life called upon her to play. She was a woman of heart whom kindlier gods would never have thrown into the turmoil and stress of an existence which was all a battle" (cited on p. 227). Amor's account of Constance's behavior from Oscar's imprisonment to the end of her life (she died in 1898 after an operation on her spine) shows how strong this gentle person was. Stunned by the trials and increasingly hobbled by a painful back injury, she remained free of self-pity. Her chief concern seems to have been to keep the disaster that had befallen her marriage from blighting the lives of her two sons. She was disappointed when Oscar resumed living with Douglas for a time after release from prison, but from a deep generosity, she maintained on the whole a kindly feeling for Oscar. As I said, it is these qualities of heart and will that Amor seems to admire most, and that they confer some importance on Constance Wilde is plain. Bruce Bashford SUNY at Stony Brook 5. A BIOGRAPHY OF T. STURGE MOORE Syliva Sprigge. Affectionate Cousins: T. Sturge Moore and Marie Appia. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1980. $24.50 This is a quietly compulsive account of how two cousins, Thomas Sturge Moore and Marie Appia came to marry one another after years of mutually recognised feelings made the more obscure by a difference in religious sentiments and by the fact 257 that Marie had been previously jilted suddenly and oddly by Tom's younger brother, Henry. The Appias were a family of Huguenots living in France and connected by marriage with another French Protestant family, the Monods. The Baptist Moores were similarly connected with the Quaker Sturges: a mosaic of nonconformist cultures unusually extending outremanche . Culture perhaps rather than cultures, certainly in the refined synthetic sense, for the tone of all four families was earnest and at the point of evolving from liberal theology towards agnosticism and a radical secularism. The mid and later Victorian generations included the philosopher George Edward Moore, T. S. Moore's half brother, and ideological sugar daddy to Bloomsbury. Alfred Appia was a stage designer of an innovative force equal to that of Gordon Craig; Wilfrid Monod, about whom Ms. Sprigge is a little too silent, was a theologian of distinction. Appalled by witnessing the devastation of the Messina earthquake of 1912, Monod evolved a neo-Gnostic theology designed to exculpate the Divine Power from creating or tolerating evil...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 256-258
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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