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282Victorian Review and silence" (30). The precise interrelationship between modalities of speech and silence as complexly interwoven dual indexes of hysteria is a question that is, naggingly, left hanging for the reader throughout. Despite Porter's contention in the Preface that "[i]t goes without saying that gender plays a key part in Professor Logan's account; the hysterical body and the nervous narrative were automatically considered feminine" (xiii), it should be said that Logan's readings are also, at times, limited by annoying generalizations about "the nervous body" or even just "the body" which remain unmarked by important distinctions along gender lines. His discussion of the epistemological "impermeability" or impenetrability of "the body" and its physical "boundaries" in George Eliot's Middlemarch is one instance in which, it seems, to me, "a corporeal 'universal' ... in fact functionfs] as a veiled representation and projection of a masculine which takes itself as an unquestioned norm."1 There is no consciousness in this discussion of nineteenth-century medical anatomy that the female body has always been perceived by Western medicine as more "open" to invasive scrutiny/interference than mens' bodies, that medico-cultural perceptions of the limits and boundaries (or bodily integrity) of sexed bodies vary in radical and important ways. For that matter, Logan's choice of Middlemarch strikes one as somewhat anomalous in a study otherwise focussed on "nervous narratives" — Nightingale's Cassandra comes to mind, for example, as a more obvious Victorian candidate for rounding out the collection of texts in Logan's study. CHRIS WffiSENTHAL University ofAlberta Notes 1. Elizabeth Grosz. Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1994. 188. Garrett Stewart. Dear Reader: The Conscripted Audience in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 19%. ? + 454. Written with wit and humor, Garrett Stewart's Dear Reader: The Conscripted Audience in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction is a satisfyingly detailed and thorough study of novels' construction of their Reviews283 individual readers. These readers, Stewart explains, comprise an "audience not only narrated to but also narrated" (7). He terms this construction the "reading event" and maintains a sharp focus on the nature(s) of this event throughout the volume while drawing extensively on novels and writers of the period. Early on, he clarifies that his study of the reading event is neither a traditional readerresponse approach nor a new or old historicist approach: "As distinct from the historical advent of a readership emerging en masse, and from the historicisms that attempt to canvass and graph it in retrospect, I am referring here to the very different level of the reading event" (6). He stresses that "we will be concerned less with how a reader decodes a text than with how a text might encode — might teasingly encipher — its own reading" (10-1 1). The scope of Stewart's study is the British novel from Austen to Hardy, and he focuses closely on Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, Shelley, Eliot, Thackeray, Meredith, and Hardy; additionally, he studies Fielding, Edgeworth, Gissing, and others (indeed, there is virtually no nineteenth-century novelist that goes unnoticed). After three initial chapters, which introduce and limit the field of study and situate upon this field the interpolated audience and the extrapolated audience, Stewart shifts to a textual emphasis. In the introduction he had designated Jane Eyre's confession, "Reader, I married him," as the definitive aspect of Victorian reader conscription, but before examining Brontë more closely he studies Austen as a transition writer, a bridge between the eighteenth-century epistolary novel and the nineteenthcentury novel that involves the reader without using epistolary format He then engages Shelley who, he says, "taps the gothic conventions in a more direct manner [than earlier gothicists], while at the same time returning to the epistolary roots of Austenian realism for a full-blown but still curiously disembodied version of the 'whomsoever it may concern' structure manifested by the respectively psychological and apocalyptic ironies of framing in Frankenstein and The Last Man" (114). In a segment on the Brontë sisters and other writers, Stewart analyzes the widespread use of "Dear reader" in nineteenth-century novels, pointing out that "as a prototype of address, it is the salute to attention...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 282-285
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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