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266Rocky Mountain Review my doing it is indeed submerged in the larger consensus — namely that I and everyone else in English departments should be doing it. Within the literary culture which surrounds me I think there is a fair amount of bad faith of this kind. But there is another kind ofbad faith. That stems from the current literary criticism, of which this book is an example, which leans heavily on sociology, Marxist thought, deconstruction, all aimed at unmasking the deceptions that authors — that texts, for authors and literature are suspect terms in this criticism — practice on a public. In such criticism one kind ofbad faith arises from ostensibly departing from traditional practices while denying that such departures do not constitute, in Gerald Graff's phrase, "literature against itself." Another kind is in denials of "departures from public ideals ofthe true andjust." These are oflabyrinthine complexity ranging from the public's naive self-deception that there is a "true and just" to the critic's self-deception that the true and just resides in exposing that the true and just doesn't exist. Now all this could have been said in simpler terms, as simple as the author's sentence: "Something is not right in Huckleberry Finn and we know it" (241). The author's familiar, partly concealed, purpose is then to tell how Mark Twain should have written the novel could he have but shaken off his bad faith. I am being unjust to the author, for I think he may at times read Mark Twain's books for simple pleasure. On page 175, for example, he remarks, "The irony here is perfectly delicious." I find it also ironic that the earnest literary critic, despairing of a world free ofracism and slavery, purports to become engaged by embracing a socially engaged literary criticism that exposes other writers' evasion of social engagement. The bad faith arises from not recognizing how absurdly distanced from social engagement, how subservient to academic laws and customs, literary criticism is. By comparison, Mark Twain's evasions seem trivial, his glimpses of the true and just more to be trusted than the critics' revelations of the true and just that he somehow missed. KENNETH E. EBLE University of Utah SUSAN J. ROSOWSKI. TAe Voyage Perifous: WiUa Cather's Romanticism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. 284 p. In TAe Voyage Perdus, Susan J. Rosowski discusses Willa Cather's major works of fiction in the context of her views on art and the artist. Rosowski links Cather with the late eighteenth-century literary historical movement that reacted against the "dehumanizing implications of the scientific world view" and with British romanticism in particular. Cather centered her attention on the power of the creative imagination "to transform and give meaning to an alien or meaningless material world" (x). In the first half of her career, Rosowski argues, Cather saw the world as dualistic, polarized into the spiritual and physical. It was the artist's task to bring the two together. Bartley Alexander's (Alexander's Bridge) failure was that he could not do this, but Cather's three strong heroines of O Pioneers!, The Song ofthe Lark, and My Antonia accomplish it. Claude Wheeler in One of Ours cannot integrate the spiritual and the physical either, and even the artist-priest, Godfrey St. Peter (TAe Professor's House), suffers from a "lapse in perfection" (131) that leads him into "the tragedy of irresolution" (159). Book Reviews267 Since Cather did not find negation creative, Rosowski states, she eventually moved away from it, discarding romantic duality and adopting symbolism as the artist's way of perceiving the world. In Death Comes for the Archbishop, mood and feeling become the reality. Bishop Jean Latour saves himselfthrough his ability to "conceptualize" (172), to see meaning in ordinary acts and objects. A similar kind of symbolization occurs in Shadows on the Rock, but in that novel, Rosowski suggests, romanticism's dark strain ofthreat and chaos begins to predominate in the form ofthe Canadian natural wilderness and the French political wilderness. These dark elements, Rosowski points out, have been present in Cather's work from the beginning, and in Lucy Gayheart and Sapphira and the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 266-268
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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