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256 Book Reviews Land, wo die Citronen bluhn""opens book 4" of Wilhelm Meister (it is book 3)The problem arises when Siegel fails to distinguish carefully between Wilhelm Meisters Theatralische Sendung (in which, as Siegels source Nicholas Boyle points out, the poem indeed appears "at the opening of book 4 of the novel") and Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (further, the note referring to Boyle confuses volume 1 of Goethe, the Poet and the Age with volume 2 and a later note fails to give a volume number at all).These are minor problems, of course (see also typographical errors on pages 103,119,141,142, and 169), but they undermine a reader's confidence. Siegel unfortunately chooses to cite Mignon's song in Eric Blackall's wooden translation:"Know you the land where the lemon blossoms blow. . . . Know you the house. . . . Know you the mountain," an inattention to language also manifest in his own incessantly recurring sentence pattern: "not simply. . . but" or "not only. . . but" (see 188-89 for eight of these). He is all too dependent on Blackall, Boyle, and Carolyn Steedman for his understanding of Wilhelm Meister; although looking back at the novel from the perspective gained through his discussions of work by later authors proves satisfying. Despite flaws related to moving through material from authors other than James much too rapidly, despite a focus that precludes much history (of the art museum, for instance) or philosophy (Kant's notion of the sublime might have been particularly helpful in discussing James's response to the Louvre), the book presents a rich set of interpretations catalyzed by Freud and/or by Siegel's broad knowledge of the visual and written art of the American and European nineteenth centuries. Reading Hawthorne's The Marble Faun through James's critique and appropriation of the novel is especially instructive. And Siegel carefully details James's lifelong fascination with the narrative problems of romance, finding the (mis)shaping of novel after novel to be the result of a search for language to deal with the promise and fear of culture embodied in Italy. A provocative discussion of The Golden Bowl ends with a sentence that summarizes several of the themes of Siegel's book: By the close of the novel, James has returned a deep human pathos to the heart of the museum, in part by recognizing the emblematic nature of the types he inherited from the nineteenth century.The museum is no place of rest or safety. Ghosts inevitably linger in the hallways of an institution characterized by the dangerous mingling of the past and desire. . . James's ultimate embrace of the romance of art as his own inescapable factitious inheritance allows the novelist 's late works to suggest ways in which even the most inverisimilitudinous fictions may lodge passions that are often monstrous, always haunting. Utah Valley State College Scott Abbott Eduard Mörike, Nolten the Painter. A Novella in Two Parts. Trans, and with a Critical Introduction by Raleigh Whitinger. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2005. xxii + 312 pp. When I was a callow graduate student, one of my prestigious elders suggested that I write my dissertation on Mörike's Maler Nolten, a consequence, if I remember correctly, of a term paper I had submitted. When I mentioned this proposal to another of my elders, much younger than the first but well advanced in prestige, he said:"But what will you do in the afternoon?" I took this as a sign that Goethe Yearbook 257 I should look in a different direction. Nevertheless, I continued to be fascinated by the oddities of the novel and gradually composed an essay that, with the naïve bravado of youth, I submitted to PML4.The scathing rejection, composed by a prestigious elder elsewhere, with which I became acquainted because the evaluator sent a blind copy of the confidential document to my own elders, was directed, as I recall, not so much against my results but against the propriety of giving any critical attention to a German novel worthless by the international standards of the genre. Eventually I injected my essay into a Festschrift for the elder who had made the original suggestion, which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-9087
Print ISSN
0734-3329
Pages
pp. 256-259
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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