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Book Reviews93 being open to the past Roderick is eager to hand on (177-78); no mention is made of the horror of that past. Dimmesdale's final speech and revelation is heralded as a catalyst for community redemption (106-07); no mention is made of the deep ironies of his speech, and of his abandonment of Hester. And since Pease wants to use Ishmael to underscore "the fundamental problem for a society which has lost sight of a shared covenant" (275), no mention is made of Ishmael's bond with Queequeg. Finally, consider this reading of The Leatherstocking Tales: "By converting those pre-Revolutionary years into a historical period in which Americans were affiliated with the last of a noble Indian line, Cooper enabled Americans to imagine the American nation as the beginning of a new cultural line which included all Americans as its heirs" (21-22). Cooper certainly did not envision a culture in which all races were peacefully compacted together. Pease's "all Americans" apparently does not include Indians, nor members of other races. Pease's new treatment of the American Renaissance is, in fact, unfortunately traditional in its lack of attention to the cultural work of Native Americans , Blacks, and women, all of whom offered more inclusive "visionary compacts" than those of their white male contemporaries. The lack of attention to nineteenth-century women writers is especially surprising, since Pease co-edited The American Renaissance Reconsidered (1985), in which appears Jane P. Tompkins' "The Other American Renaissance." Tompkins reinterprets the period's popular "sentimental" novels as literature which spoke to the real needs of its culturally oppressed female audience, an audience in the main not spoken to by the writers Pease assesses. The various sins of commission and omission mentioned above would be more forgivable, were not their author so sure of his righteousness. Like some other new historicists, Pease is quick to attack others for "appropriating" earlier culture-bound literature into their own present ideology (48), but refuses to acknowledge that his own interpretation is also an ideological appropriation , inevitably biased in its interests. I find his attack on F. O. Matthiessen particularly offensive, since Matthiessen at least makes his political agenda plain throughout his brilliantly sustained study. The contemporary critical establishment, however, has not been offended by Visionary Compacts: its back jacket boasts blurbs of praise from Geoffrey Hartman, Richard Poirier, Lawrence Buell, and Joseph Riddle. Perhaps the reader should heed the words of these authorities, rather than of this reviewer. WALTER HESFORD University of Idaho MARJORIE PERLOFF. The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. 288 p. This attractive volume brings to life a "moment" that was, in hindsight, not altogether eclipsed by the explosion of Dada and World War I. Rather than offering yet another survey of Italian or Russian Futurism, French Cubism, or English Vorticism, Marjorie Perloff aims to explore the aesthetic rapprochements between the exuberant poets and artists of the avant guerre in the 94Rocky Mountain Review relatively brief time span of 1910-1915, as well as the postmodern repercussions of their efforts to break the formal barriers between genres, media, and literature and popular culture. The generating process at the core of her study is collage and the related techniques of montage, assemblage, and construction . By calling into question the rigid distinctions between message and medium, collage technique laid the groundwork for such developments as Futurist manifesto, artist's book, performance art, and above all, parole in liberta, "the visualization of the text that is neither quite 'verse' or 'prose,' a text whose unit is neither the paragraph nor the stanza but the printed page itself" (xviii). Eschewing the less appealing political, proto-fascist, and nationalistic ambitions of the avant guerre, Perloff demonstrates convincingly that the apparent anarchy of postmodern disruptions in genre boundaries is but a latter-day manifestation of collage and its analogues. Each chapter examines a particular form of rupture. "Profond aujourd'hui" focuses on Blaise Cendrars' elaborate "performance work" of 1913, "La Prose du Transsibérien," a simultaneist collaboration with Sonia Delaunay's vertical painting which created a verbal-visual model of the Eiffel Tower...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 93-95
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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