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1 82Victorian Review die vantage point of twentiedi-century Europe it is salutary to look back on Thackeray's depiction of Jews and Judaism in order to see what pitfalls he avoided." And die Thackeray who emerges is, whatever his occasional failings and conflicts, fundamentally tolerant and humane. Summing up, Prawer concludes, "He had sufficient respect for die resilience of die British society of his day to recognize mat its Jewish component constituted no threat to it, and a sufficiently clear view of that society's vices to see die faults popularly attributed to Jews, and undoubtedly exhibited by some members of die Jewish community, were faults mat could be equally well found in impeccably Gentile Christians. He never advocated or defended die persecution or political disadvantaging of Jews, and came more and more to accept their presence as a sometimes objectionable, sometimes amusing, sometimes admirable part of the social scene of which he was such a gifted chronicler." Israel at Vanity Fair is the work of a distinguished scholar, dioughtful, richly informed, urbane, a pleasure to read. It is a major and welcome contribution to Thackeray studies. R.D. McMASTER University ofAlberta Amanda Anderson. Tainted Souls and Painted Faces: The Rhetoric of Fallenness in Victorian Culture. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1993. ? + 250. $35.00 US (cloth); $14.94 US (paper). I suppose I must have been one of die last people to write about Victorian women's non-marital sexuality before Foucault was translated and die discussion shifted to discourse instead of ideology or social conditions. In Tainted Souls and Painted Faces, Amanda Anderson uses "feminist critique, hermeneutic mediod and Jürgen Habermas's approach to intersubjectivity" (9) to argue that mid-Victorian depictions of prostitutes and fallen women "dramatize predicaments of agency" (1). Explicitly forswearing discussion of real women whose lives were shaped by particular economic, emotional and physical circumstances, she is interested in die metaphoric meanings and cultural purposes of the Victorian texts which depict female fallenness. Her ultimate goal is to test and correct certain elements of current literary Reviews183 theory in a thirty-five page afterword entitled "Intersubjectivity and the Politics of Poststructuralism." Anderson begins by describing die intellectual background that shaped Victorian dialogue. She interprets John Stuart Mill's sometimes contradictory view of moral agency as an attempt to reconcile materialist and idealist concepts of human nature. Turning next to die social reformers, she draws on works by William Ratiibone Greg, William Tait, James Beard Talbot, William Acton and others to suggest mat if, as tiiey contend, prostitution arises from social causes and men's lust, dien their own mid-Victorian belief in character, autonomy and selfdetermination is called into question — or, at the least (I would add), women are specifically excluded. The next four chapters take up literary representations in Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Mary Barton, Ruth, Aurora Leigh, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Jenny." The discussion of Dickens argues that he uses the prostitute or fallen women as a kind of scapegoat on whom to displace three central midcentury anxieties: "die tiireat of environment over character, die power of 'stories' over dieir tellers, and die alienating effects of self-consciousness" (67). For Dickens, she contends, "die fallen woman herself becomes menacing . . . insofar as she metaleptically comes to figure tiiose forces mat determine her" (67). Since I am more interested in Victorian literature and society man I am in postmodern tiieory, I have certain problems widi books of tiiis sort. When Anderson writes, for example, mat "reforming die fallen becomes a task of decontextualization" (69), I have to stop and retrieve something concrete: a woman is "decontextualized" if she enters a refuge where her pimp can't get hold of her, if she calls herself "Mrs. Smitii" and moves to a new neighborhood so her chances of getting a job aren't destroyed by die fact tiiat she has a child, if she emigrates to Australia. I'm also bothered when texts have more agency man autiiors; when "David Copperfield presents itself" (83) and other written works "insist on," "enforce," and "constitute themselves." Questions about who's doing what to whom, radier man die jargon, make me stumped by sentences such as: "The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 182-185
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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