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Book Reviews95 target throughout the book, because it epitomizes the presentism Reynolds resists and because it rarely accounts for the full complexity of Whitman's poetry and personality. Such presentism especially ignores the religious dimension of his lyrical eroticism. Reynolds seems to ignore little as he reads Whitman through an overlay of cultural phenomena. While not directing all his findings toward interpreting the poet's texts, he supplies more than enough satisfying readings. Recovering what has not been "sufficiently recognized," Reynolds reconstructs a more adequate context than previously offered for an understanding of Whitman's poetry. This enables him to closely account for the part that diverse "cultural styles" played in shaping Whitman's free verse, in particular; it allows him, as well, to acknowledge the extent to which Whitman's poetic "I" partook of"America's well-stocked reservoir of affirmative cultural images" (314, 324). The argument finally sustaining Reynolds' book, which may bother those who resist individualist arguments, is that Whitman was not only capable of assimilating these "styles" and "images" but of "transforming them through his powerful personality into art" (590). Yet Reynolds reveals how Whitman's ability to absorb his culture was as much, if not more, a part of his genius as the distinctly forceful energy he employs. This book traverses a wide spectrum of nineteenth-century American experience in order to recapture a sense of both a time and a person. Accepting the poet to be fully a part of his time rather than a product of our own, Reynolds significantly enriches our understanding of Whitman and his America. JASON G. HORN University ofNorthern Colorado EVANS LANSING SMITH. Ricorso and Revelation: An Archetypal Poetics ofModernism. Columbia: Camden House, 1995, 194 p. Evans Lansing Smith takes on an important task in this new book on modernism , that of elucidating the connections between four predominant mythic patterns in Modernist art. Smith selects four foundational myths: the labyrinth, the great goddess, alchemical transformation, and the apocalypse . Identifying them as the defining mythic patterns in a period of art that focuses on mythology, he shows how these apparently distinct typologies function in a unified pattern. The myths are tied together by the single paradigm of disintegration and reintegration or dissolution and re-creation of the self. Most importantly, they serve as a model for the two fundamental aesthetic acts—creation and interpretation. Associated by the experience of revelation, the four archetypes enable the artist to "see" the shape of the emerging art work and the reader to grasp the basic form of the text and thus its deepest meaning. In Smith's own words: "Writers in the Modernist mode continually circle back to the origins of literature, in myth, for a 96Rocky Mountain Review revelation of those archetypal forms which provide pattern and meaning as the basis for artistic creation (poesis); similarly, readers continually discern those fundamental mythical patterns which provide the basis for creating coherent interpretations of the texts (hermeneusis)" (3). Discussing primarily fiction but also including sample poets and dramatists and the painter Pablo Picasso, Smith develops his argument intricately . The book is organized according to the four major archetypes and subdivided into chapters on individual artists, some of whom appear in several or all of the categories. This structure enables the author to cover a great deal of material, fourteen Modernists in all, a number of them from multiple perspectives. An introduction provides a comprehensive overview of the core myths and lays out the thesis relating myth to the aesthetic process. The conclusion titled "The Language of Form" opens the discussion out to the multiple languages, both verbal and symbolic, that artists and philosophers have developed to articulate their mythic world views. The "vocabularies ofform" range from W. B. Yeats's "Spiritus Mundi" through C. G. Jung's well-known eidola and Charles Williams' less familiar "geometricized " reality. The wide-ranging mythic symbolism of Modernism incorporates mathematical, geometric, alphabetical, and musical images along with the human child to represent a return to the beginning and vision of reconstruction. "In whatever images," Smith says, "the revelation of these fundamental forms of the mind, through a process of creative dissolution and return to origins, provides the basis...


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