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252Reviews (p. 36); he recalls from his childhood in Tennessee that Gypsies were reputed to blow up animals with bicycle pumps as Pat Stamper presumably does in The Hamlet (p. 64); and he can associate with characters in The Unvanquished because his grandfather also served in Company L of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry in the War Between the States (p. 58). This association—this assimilation, even—is always the fatal attraction in Brooks; there is no clear indication in Faulkner's text that Company L held any particular importance for him, and it may just as likely have been a passing reference. More revealingly, Brooks tells us that if Aunt Jenny read the Memphis paper in Flags in the Dust, it "must have been the Press-Scimitar" (p. 55). The search for circumstantial contextualization, that is, can move from necessary information with clear registers in Faulkner's work to more fanciful additional knowledge that leads us away from Faulkner rather than towards him. Curiously, Brooks' kind of new criticism can also work less successfully in the other direction: close readings can lead him to excuse or reduce certain unresolved tensions in Faulkner, like Bayard before Redmond or the reductive portrayal of such women as Lena Grove and EuIa Varner (p. 83). But these lectures and essays are not meant to serve as major critical analyses; rather they are works of appreciation. Read in that light, Brooks is always enjoyable and always inviting. He remains here, in this sense, one of our best conduits to the Faulknerian texts themselves. University of Massachusetts, AmherstArthur F. Kinney Field, Leslie. Thomas Wolfe and His Editors. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1987. 215 pp. Cloth: $18.95. The charge by John Halberstadt in the Yale Review in 1980, and later, in an article titled "The Making of Thomas Wolfe's Posthumous Novels," that Wolfe's second editor, Edward C. Aswell, really wrote The Web and the Rock, You Can't Go Home Again, and The Hills Beyond, made it inevitable that eventually a major Wolfe scholar would examine the evidence and report on it in detail. Leslie Field has done just that. Actually, Richard S. Kennedy examined it, in lesser detail, in 1962 in an appendix to The Window ofMemory and applauded Aswell's "creative editing." In an article in the Harvard Magazine in 1981, he defended Aswell's editing once again by way of answer to Halberstadt: During [Wolfe's] lifetime he was served well by dedicated editors who supplied the editorial objectivity and practicality that an author does not always possess. After his death these editors, who had become attuned to Wolfe's methods of writing and editing, continued editing his writing for posthumous publication in the same spirit that moved them while Wolfe lived. Moreover, there is absolutely no credible evidence that the posthumous writings were written by someone other than Wolfe. He wrote the posthumous works and the editors edited (p. 165). In this new book, Field examines the editing of The Web and the Rock, You Can't Go Home Again, The Hills Beyond, all edited by Aswell; The Story of a Novel, edited by Elizabeth Nowell (and published during Wolfe's lifetime); Thomas Wolfe's Purdue Speech: "Writing and Living," edited by William Braswell and Field; and The Autobiography ofan American Novelist, edited by Field alone. Field's method in this latest work is to select what he calls "cameo test cases"—chapters of the various books—and examine them carefully as typical of the editing of the whole. To those who wonder what Wolfe thought of the editing of his work, he gives us a sample of Nowell's and Wolfe's reactions to it: "Her method of tightening the prose, correcting spelling and punctuation, and even excising numerous passages was typical of Nowell's editing of Wolfe's writing. More often than not he agreed that her editing was helpful, even necessary" Studies in American Fiction253 (p. 163). When Field speaks of his editing of the Purdue Speech with Braswell, he says that "uppermost in our minds . . .was our dedication to rendering Wolfe as he himself would have wanted to appear in print or in speech. The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-5806
Print ISSN
0091-8083
Pages
pp. 252-253
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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