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Book Reviews273 pervasive skepticism takes an idealistic turn in the end. Even an appended idealism is missing from Juan Vulgar (1885), whose satire is directed largely at the Spanish educational system. El enemigo (1887), set during the second Carlist War, intensifies the spirit ofdisillusionment ofthe earlier novels. The target here is religious fanaticism masquerading as spirituality; the politics (and the rhetoric) of devotion bring tragedy to a bourgeois family torn apart by the agents of faith. La hijastra del amor (1884) initiates a series of narratives devoted to the heroine as victim. Picón depicts a deterministic universe in which the protagonist's fate is inseparable from her social status and from economic reality, yet the female characters are freely, often destructively, passionate. After suffering abuse in a loveless marriage, the protagonist of La honrada (1890) is united with another man in a somewhat nebulous state ofcontentment. Dulce y sabrosa (1891), Picon's most successful novel, traces a process of dishonor and reconquest on the part of Cristeta Moreruela, whose amorous prize is (Don) Juan de Todellas, the man who had seduced and abandoned her. The pseudoautobiographical Juanita Tenorio (1910) follows the heroine through a number of ill-fated liaisons leading to a reunion with a repentant lover. In Sacramento (1914), Picon's last novel and a companion piece to La honrada, the conflict is generational as opposed to sexual. Valis sees the title character as a symbol ofthe author's view ofthe sacrament of matrimony, that is, that individual happiness need not be a function of conventionalized concepts of honor and morality. Valis' thematically oriented approach combines analysis ofthe novels with an historical perspective. The elaboration oftheses and structures adds texture to related works with higher positions in the literary canon (San Manuel Bueno, mártir, El árbol de la ciencia, Tristana, to name a few). The uniqueness ofPicón seems most evident in his willingness to dedicate narrative space and ideological commitment to feminist issues. Female sexuality is a given in the novels, if not in the polemics ofthe time. Valis is an informed and perceptive reader; her defense of the "straightforward" manner over "a critical superstructure" (10-11) suggests an ingenuousness that her critical practice belies. This story of transitions is worth telling and told well. EDWARD H. FRIEDMAN Arizona State University PAUL VAN CASPEL. Bloomers on the Liffey: Eisegetical Readings ofJoyce's Ulysses. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986. 281 p. Over the years, Joyce scholars and critics have offered a number ofguidebooks to Ulysses, ranging from the annotations of Don Gifford, to the maps of Clive Hart and Leo Knuth, to the page-by-page summary narration of Harry Blamires, to the photographic guide of Frank Delaney and Jorge Lewinski. Paul Van Caspel's Bloomers on the Liffey fuses the narrative approach of Blamires with the selective annotations of Gifford and emerges not with yet another subdued and tamed narrative strand or annotations encrusted with occasionally irrelevant facts but rather with a lucidly presented, extremely useful guide for both the first-time reader and the long-time scholar. His very title suggests the extent to which Van Caspel shares the Joycean sense ofhumor and the Joycean drive for precision. 274Rocky Mountain Review Reading Ulysses, Van Caspel maintains, "is a matter ofyears, it is a process ofreading and rereading, in the course ofwhich understanding, enlightenment, may come as a flash, a shock of recognition or, rather, cognition" (4). In his years as a reader of Ulysses, Van Caspel found "curious incongruities" (4), mistranslations, and outright "sloppy methods" (16) which created yet further barriers between the reader and the already difficult novel. In his dissertation, his essays, and now in this book, Van Caspel has accepted the task ofpointing out "a number ofdemonstrably wrong readings" and of offering "alternative readings or interpretations in an effort to lead the reader into the text of Ulysses" (23). With correction and explanation as his goals, Van Caspel provides a brief outline ofhis method, illustrating it with ample, clear illustrations ofthe types ofproblems one encounters in the criticism and the translations, and then allots a chapter to each ofthe eighteen episodes. The objective tone, the level-headed argument, and the eclectic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 273-275
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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