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REVIEWS it is not clear from his book that he would allow for the mythical way ofthinking to support different thought forms that might help overcome the crisis. The goal ofEllwood's book may be precisely to point out that no matter how big a hero, how glamorous or even charismatic these public personae, they continue to act, preach, and write out hidden agendas—hidden even to themselves—to be uncovered by a critic. But it is not clear ifhe believes that all mythological thinking leads to a continuous and maybe deliberate veiling ofour own shadow, which in turn would prevent us from discovering the "reality" behind it. Did Jung, Eliade, and Campbell really have as a firm objective to stop the world from thinking historically, empirically, and rationally? This does not appear to be the nature of what these authors were examining; myth, a constant invitation to understand the pattern by which we move, is always at least double-sided. Ellwood may have intended to deconstruct the importance ofthe three mythologists , to show their biases, their humanity. Yet he also seems to assume that all mythical criticism is dangerous, since, at its best, it is reactionary and linked in its origins to fascism, anti-Semitism, and nationalism. As Ellwood puts it in his conclusion , "we need to listen to the mythologists in their wisdom," but we "need not expect to be saved by myths" (178). In this regard, his present analysis might be deepened in a further study, where the shadow side could be complemented by examples ofhow Jung, Eliade, and Campbell eventually helped shape new forms ofthinking, some ofwhich are only now emerging, and ofwhich we may be taking account in the future. Metka ZupancicUniversity ofAlabama CLAYTON KOELB. Legendary Figures: Ancient History in Modern Novels. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1998. xxviii + 186 pp. In convincing but economic detail and sharply honed prose, Koelb discusses the modernist "historical sense," which he sees as originating with Gustave Flaubert, in definitive contrast with earlier historical fiction writers such as Sir Walter Scott. It embodies a concept ofthe past as discontinuous with the present and therefore as "alien" or "other," longed for nostalgically precisely because it is irrevocably unattainable . He devotes all but the introduction, "The Sense ofHistory," and the conclusion , "The Legendary Angel," to seven self-contained chapters on two French, two English, and three German modernist novels spanning the period 1862 to 1984. After Flaubert's exotic Salammbô and Walter Pater's reflective Marius the Epicurean , Koelb turns to Thomas Mann's long tetralogy Joseph and His Brothers, Hermann Broch's intricate, slow-moving 77ie Death of Virgil, and Thornton WiIder 's witty The Ides ofMarch. He closes with Marguerite Yourcenar's beautifully written Memoirs of Hadrian and Christa Wolf's mantic, manic, and feminist Cassandra. In his introductory comments, Koelb argues that the nineteenth century saw a vast expansion of temporal bounds as the age of the earth (and civilization) was moved back thousands ofyears by geology, paleontology, and archaeology, as new acquaintance with the ancient Near East arose, and as the move from farm to city in the Industrial Revolution made links to the past more remote. Flaubert, according to Koelb, "understands the past not as something close and familiar, not part ofthe family circle, but as something needing to be brought close, something distant enough to become a legitimate object oferotic desire" (xvii). This outlook he conVoI . 25 (2001): 180 ??? COHPAnATIST trasts with Scott's historical fiction which attempts to bring "the past close to the reader so that he or she will feel," as Hegel expresses it, "at home therein." But Scott's approach modernizes the past, wrongly making it the offspring, not the progenitor, of the present, thus losing "the pastness ofthe past, which is the very thing that makes it desirable in the present." The author attempts to show that our (Western) conception ofthe relation of past to present has changed within the period in which these seven novels were written. What had been considered an overflowing continuity ("As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be") is now seen as separated by a great gap of time or concept...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0887
Print ISSN
0195-7678
Pages
pp. 180-182
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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