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258Rocky Mountain Review daily relationships told him otherwise. The sex, therefore, would appear to be the only significant verification for him of his own existence. The angel that begins to be expressed, therefore, might be a safer way ofconveying some partial understanding than the despair which could otherwise surface. The Diaries end with Halliwell's note that the police found after the deaths If you read his diary all will be explained. K.H. P.S. Especially the latter part. (266) "All" is very limited. One can understand that the combination ofHalliwell's suicidal depression and Orton's narcissistic, self-loathing self-absorption would in the end be fatal. One can grasp that the only way Orton could feel alive was by sex, the more casual the better. One can see clearly that Orton was completely incapable of intimacy. But there is very little sense ofthe artist in these diaries. The plays appear to be as split offfrom the dramatist as his feelings were. It is not a book which helps us to understand the nature of dramatic writing or the artist's intense involvement in his work. But it is a powerful document about a very disturbed borderline psychotic personality. Interestingly, editor John Lahr catches the lack of affect which Orton exhibits throughout. The footnotes try to identify everyone mentioned in the diaries. Poetic justice would also wish to give the dates of birth and death of all Orton's anonymous "lovers." The feeling I got from reading this book however, is completely different from Lahr's apparent intention. He closes his introduction thus: "What is left to the world is Orton's evergreen laughter and the last testament of the fierce, sad kingdom of self from which it came his diaries" (31). I can find no "evergreen laughter" in this volume. My dominant impression is of intense and unacknowledged, unattributed rage the outcome of which is despair and destruction. It suggests to me that the plays need not be seen as farcical black comedies whose purpose is to evoke laughter at the surrealistic nature ofthe world we inhabit, but that the comedy and the laughter in the plays are a mask for the rage which is so powerful that it has at all costs to be denied. PETER BUCKROYD London ROSEMARY LLOYD, ed. Selected Letters of Charles Baudelaire: The Conquest ofSolitude. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1986. 300 p. xvosemary Lloyd's attractive though uneven edition offers a skillfully balanced selection of Baudelaire's letters, enhanced by an illuminating introduction an inviting list of suggested readings, a detailed chronology, and a helpful index. Although only 13 percent of the total correspondence is included hers (196 of the 1500 letters assembled in the Pléiade edition), it is nevertheless the largest anthology of Baudelaire's correspondence published in Englishto date. It is therefore reassuring to note that Lloyd has generally selected the most revealing and representative of his letters, written to a wide range of relatives andpersonal and literary acquaintances. Included are letters to such luminaries ofthe period as Victor Hugo, Alfred de Vigny, George Sand, Gustavo Flaubert, Richard Wagner, Sainte-Beuve, Théophile Gautier, Leconte de Lisle and Edouard Manet, as well as lesser lights like Champfleury, Nadar, and Ernest Feydeau. The only surviving letter to his long-term mistress, Jeanne Book Reviews259 Duval, is included together with a number ofmissives written to other female acquaintances with whom he established varying degrees of intimacy. The reader may be inclined to feel that including 52 letters to the poet's mother is excessive. As it turns out, the number of letters to Mme. Caroline Aupick constitutes 26 percent of the total selected, and that is only slightly higher than the proportion of letters to her (23 percent) in the collected correspondence, where Mme. Aupick clearly emerges as Baudelaire's most frequent correspondent, and the one to whom he wrote many of his longest and most probing letters. The first point on which I take issue with Lloyd is her choice of a subtitle — TAe Conquest ofSolitude. Her use of the term solitude is justified, because it designates a major theme which recurs throughout the correspondence, and, as the introduction...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 247-249
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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