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Studies in American Fiction269 includes substantial discussions of all the novels (and the short story cycle, Bech: A Book) up to and including The Coup, as well as briefer commentary about the "other" Updike (two short stories, "The Astronomer" and "Leaves," are studied in depth). Some of the most useful analyses in Hunt's book derive from his interest in two frequently discussed subjects in Updike criticism, the influence of Karl Barth and Sören Kierkegaard. By focusing, however, on aspects of the theological influence hitherto unrecognized , Hunt breathes life into a moribund topic as when, for example, he discusses the probable relationship between Updike's treatment of sexuality and Kierkegaard's ideas about dread, sin, and guilt. Hunt also speculates suggestively about the possible influence of the theologian's dialectical and ambiguous modes of argumentation upon the "yes-but" quality of Updike's fashion. Another influence that Hunt links convincingly with aspects of Updike's work are the theories of Carl Jung, particularly his ideas about individuation and the anima. Hunt argues that these ideas are unusually important to an understanding of several novels; they help the reader to recognize, for example, what Hunt considers to be the ambiguity of the ending of Of the Farm, and to interpret Joey's dreams in this novella. Hunt, in fact, is very good throughout his book in seizing upon many possible sources so as to attune the reader to resonances in LTpdike's fiction. In discussing the novelist's treatment of the narrator in The Coup, for example. Hunt suggests several plausible sources and analogues: ideas in R. W. B. Lewis (the narrator thus becomes an African-style American Adam), Jung (because Ellelou may be confronting various anima figures as he fabricates his peculiar tale), and Nabokov ("Kush is Ellelou's Lolita"). In sum, Hunt's book is a genuine contribution to Updike scholarship and should be read by those wishing to increase their understanding of this important American writer. University of WaterlooWilliam R. Macnaughton Young, Thomas Daniel. The Past in the Present: A Thematic Story of Modern Southern Fiction. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1981. 189 pp. Cloth: $14.95. This book centers upon seven writers, not the entirety of modern Southern fiction; its tenor derives from the Ransom-Tate-Davidson-Simpson line of criticism. Following paths charted by Tate, Young sets out to demonstrate the advances of literary art since Tate's laments during the mid-1930s over the "absence of a profession of letters in the South" (p. 3). The Past in the Present opens with a chapter entitled "Memory and History: The Nature and Function of Tradition," treating effects of tradition upon modern Southern culture, in its literary manifestations, most notably in the combined classical-Christian lines ofthought. Framing his own critical outlook here by such hallmarks, Young selects as representative works, giving each its own chapter, Faulkner's The Unvanquished, Tate's The Fathers, Warren's All the King's Men, Welty's The Optimist's Daughter, O'Connor's The Complete Stories, Percy's The Moviegoer, and Barths The End of the Road. This winnowing unquestionably affords a sense of what "has gone on" in Southern fiction since the twenties. Following perhaps in Davidson's footsteps, cited by Young as denying a "unified view of life" to Thomas Wolfe, Erkine Caldwell, and Carson McCullers, Young omits them and others like Ellen Glasgow, Caroline Gordon, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, as well as Truman Capote and Frank K. Yerby. Although these figures may not conveniently group with the others, their work, surely, also treats the past in the present. If the last two would not 270Reviews elicit Davidson's approbation, they have created part of the "presence" in modern Southern writing, as contrasted to Tate's "absence." Consequently, Young's title may initially mislead unwary researchers or bibliographers because this is no inclusive survey. What Young does admirably, however, is to demonstrate his command of Southern literary culture and bring it to bear upon representative works. In Chapter I we are reminded of the vitality of traditionalism for Southern culture; Young's sense of a continuum crops up in ensuing pages. For example, he brackets deftly Tate...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-5806
Print ISSN
0091-8083
Pages
pp. 269-270
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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