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Reviews 147 with his own distrust of a naive progression of history. Does Ross want to suggest that the disease ofconfusing subjectivity and subjectivism can be cured (and that the symptoms ought to be gotten rid of)? Does this cure involve a happy ending to Ross' narrative, a solution to the failure of modernism? Do the language poets emerge as the victors from the battlefield of failed modernism, free from the disease of modernism? Isn't it far from coextensive with the lessons of this book for the "language poets" to evolve as if "naturaUy" the rightful heirs and successors of failed modernism? And what of the invisible Andrew Ross of this book and of the hidden project that I've outlined as shaping this book? I'm certainly not asking Ross to manifest consciousness of all the agendas that underUe his work. But in a book so concerned with the agendas that hide beneath the mnodernist masks of invisibility and objective language, Ross' own invisibility and rhetoric invite question. What I am concerned with here is "the structure of address" (172), as Barbara Johnson calls it, into which Ross is inserting himself with the writing of this book. At the beginning of some of her own work on Zora Neale Hurston, Johnson, well aware of their more than rhetorical importance, interrogates these structures of address, and I quote her at length: It was not clear to me what I, a white deconstructor, was doing talking about Zora Neale Hurston, a black novelist and anthropologist, or to whom I was talking. Was I trying to convince white establishment scholars who long for a return to Renaissance ideals that the study of the Harlem Renaissance is not a triviaUzation of their humanistic pursuits? Was I trying to contribute to the attempt to adapt textual strategies of literary theory to the analysis of Afro- American literature? Was I trying to rethink my own previous work and to re-referetialize the notion of difference so as to move the conceptual operations of deconstruction out of the realm of abstract linguistic universality ? Was I talking to white critics, black critics, or myself? (172) To whom, I would ask, does Ross hope to talk with this book? Certainly, his excitement about "ordinary language" in Ashbery is unreflected in his own prose which, on the contrary , seems consonant with the elitism of EUot's, bordering dangerously on the exclusionary. But is Ross' prose, Uke his nearly invisible subjectivity, simply an unavoidable professional structure—the academic book? Johnson's display suggests otherwise. Works Cited Johnson, Barbara. A World ofDifference. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987. AUDREY A. FISCH Feminist Literary History by Janet Todd. New York: Routledge, Chapman & HaU, 1988. pp. 162. $37.50 (cloth), $12.95 (paper). Feminist Issues in Literary Scholarship. Edited by Shari Benstock. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. pp. 242. $27.50 (cloth), $9.95 (paper). A casual glance at the chapter headings of Janet Todd's Feminist Literary History might lead one to conclude (erroneously) that the study is the next installment in a series explaining how feminists have labored to create a Uterary theory and practice, a kind ofSexual/Textual Politics, Part II. Like Toril Moi's influential survey of feminist üterary theory, Todd retells what should now be rather familiar: "ancient" history (our "foremothers" de Beauvoir and Woolf); the early modern phase (Mille« and EUman); modern history (Spacks, Showalter, Gilbert and Gubar); etc. Todd—again, Uke Moi—then continues the story of how women constructed a critical praxis oftheir own by reviewing the French influence (Lacan, Cixous, Irigaray and Kristeva). And here the similarities end because, in point of fact, Todd and Moi pursue very different agendas. Moi's project ends with, as Todd sees it, the valoriza- 148 the minnesota review tion of Kristeva ("if a heroine must be found in [Moi's] text, it is surely Kristeva"), while Todd's incisive discussion of Kristeva falls at the halfway point of her book, foUowed by a lengthy and thought-provoking critique of what she calls the Franco-feminists, a group that includes Moi herself, Jacobus and Jardine. Todd argues that while Moi purports to introduce the two major directions commonly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 147-150
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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