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196Victorian Review fools. Indeed, the author further demonstrates his good judgment by including more than one hundred of Bengough's cartoons, for they remain the most absorbing historical evidence left by Grip. It is still hard to resist the urge to pause a few moments and examine the cartoons in some detail (indeed, how many of you have already figured out from the illustration reprinted above that Macdonald supposedly imbibed his political principles and "taktix" from his bottle of booze?). For Bengough and Grip with its motto of "Never say die!" the longevity of the sketches is most fitting. William M. Baker University ofLethbridge Barbara Penny Kanner. Women 'in Context: Two Hundred Years of British Women Autobiographers, a Reference Guide and Reader. New York: G.K. Hall, 1997. ix + 1049. $60.00 US (cloth). W omen in Context is a bibliography of British women's autobiographies spanning the eighteenth, nineteenth, to mid-twentieth centuries, presenting more than 800 entries, arranged alphabetically. They include women living in Britain, as well as some in the colonies, and some in foreign lands. The author states plainly in the Preface that the book is intended as a "resource for researchers of history, biography, women's and generic studies, literary criticism, and related fields" and that "it will serve more as a guide for researchers than as a source of new theoretical conclusions" (xxi). Kanner has been at work on this project for more than ten years, beginning in 1987 when she and her co-researcher Susan Groag Bell compiled a computerized database for beginning analysis. Kanner later became convinced that the autobiographies cried out for more individualized attention and the present project was conceived. Running to one thousand and forty-nine pages, the book is remarkable for the variety of information it provides, beginning with an eminently practical "Guidé to Abbreviations and Terminology," which will be especially helpful to users who do not come from the fields ofEnglish or history, or are unfamiliar with certain British usage. Every user should next take the time to read carefully the author's suggestions for "How to Use This Book," which discuss the factual components of each entry: bibliographical information; biographical facts; a summary of content of each autobiography; and an analysis of the socio-historical context of Reviews197 each. This section also explains the purposes of the three indices: die Author Index in 20-year segments; die Identification Index which operates according to key words such as vocation, social class, politics, religion, etc.; and die Subject Index. In a wide-ranging Introduction the autiior illustrates die types of deductions to be drawn from autobiographical analysis. She helpfully provides categories under which her findings may be grouped. They include: Relational Ties: Kinship, Marriage and Friendship; Education and Career; Migration and Emigration; the Empire and Imperialist Perceptions; the Great War; and Issues ofForm and Interpretation. Such categorizations result in interesting socio-anthropological observations; one example is refutation of the stereotype of the universally stern and remote Victorian fatiier. Fatiiers are often remembered fondly in diese autobiographies for supervising home tutelage, and sometimes help with careers, although when memories are negative the judgments are often harsh and unflattering. By contrast, one in eight, or one hundred and eleven of the autobiographers refer to dieir fatiier by name, whereas a motiier's given name is often omitted. Again, when the autobiographers experienced unpleasantness at home witii eitiier motiier or fatiier, die subject often left home early or married recklessly. Study of diese documents also shows that "women were far more professionally involved than historians have generally suggested" (xxx). These examples are only die tip of the iceberg of information to be gleaned from diese heartfelt, dogged and determined recollections of lives. This is a most remarkable volume, rich witii information of many kinds, and will surely find its place among indispensable reference works, for eighteenth, nineteenth, and to mid-twentieth century scholars. In her acknowledgments, Kanner speaks of the many "academics" to whom she is indebted, but it was her responsibility to organize and direct this enormous project and one can only stand back in awe at the magnitude of the task. Finally, it remains to be said tiiat not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 196-197
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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