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218Victorian Review matters, while strong in all her textual analyses in the book, is particularly intriguing in her chapters on Machen and Conrad. In these chapters, she focuses on the use by fin de siècle writers of "textual disruption, hesitancy and instability as literary devices that embody, rather than merely emphasize themes of madness, alienation, and decay" (211). Through these devices, readers of fin de siècle horror are led to share in the experience of the protagonist as they too attempt (often unsuccessfully) to fill in the gaps and make meaning out of chaos. If, like James's governess in The Turn ofthe Screw, readers of fin de siècle horror fiction find themselves "hurled over an abyss . . . not into clearness, but into a darker obscure" (James 198, 196), the same cannot be said for Navarette's readers. Unlike writers of fin de siècle horror, Navarette locates and fills in gaps and silences by offering alternative critical perspectives on known works and by recuperating critically ignored texts. All in all, Navarette's culturally informed readings achieve the aim she sets out in her itnroduction, that of "reconstructfing] some portion of the histoire de mentalité" (6) of the fin de siècle. KIRSTEN MacLEOD University ofAlberta Works Cited James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. Vol. 11 of The Bodley Head Henry James. London: Bodley Head, 1974. Oliver S. Buckton. Secret Selves: Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Autobiography. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1998. ? + 270. $79.95 CAN (cloth); $30.50 CAN (paper). Secret Selves offers an insightful critical analysis of the roles played by secrecy and confession in nineteenth-century autobiographical constructions of self, sexuality, and same-sex desire though an investigation of John Henry Newman, John Addington Symonds, Oscar Wilde, and Edward Carpenter. Oliver S. Buckton interrogates the intersection between "secrecy as a narrative strategy deployed in Victorian autobiographical writing, and the emergence of same-sex desire as a particular site, or 'subject' of secrecy" (1). As autobiographical writing is a process through which subjectivity is constituted, he seeks to elucidate both the process of self-fashioning and the cultural effects Reviews219 of specific constructions of subjectivity. By doing so, he is able to indicate the complex urges and concerns that prompted the authors to "speak out" and conceal their desire. He incorporates critical reflections from gender studies, literary criticism, queer theory and postmodernism, emphasizing the broad cultural, as well as the specific personal, motives and contexts which resulted in the choice and form of autobiographical expression. Buckton explores the complex relationship between sexuality and gender, in particular the way in which "homosexuality" both supported and imperiled dominant modes of masculinity. For instance he shows that while the accusation of secrecy and dishonesty leveled against Newman stemmed from a broader cultural distrust of Catholicism and its conflation with unnamed perversions, it also resulted from Kingsley's personal experiences and anxieties about Catholicism and homosexuality. By situating both figures, Buckton teases out a complicated web of issues that limit and shape Newman's discursive representation of his conversion and history. The conflation of gender, sexual, and religious anxieties suggests that concerns about masculinity were central to their debate. Kingsley defined his masculinity and Englishness in opposition to Newman, who was represented as effeminate and foreign. In contrast Newman appropriated and shifted the discourse on masculinity in order to emphasize manly openness, courage, resilience, and vulnerability. In all of the autobiographies there are similar tensions about gender and sexuality, particularly around associations between effeminacy and homosexuality. Each author attempted to embrace, resist and refashion the discourse on masculinity in their formulations of self and same-sex desire. Emphasis on desire and its displacement are also central to Buckton's analysis of the narrative strategies the authors utilize to reveal and conceal their homosexuality. For example, in his autobiography, Carpenter emphasized his emotional, rather than his physical connections with men; yet in his case history, he claimed that his attraction to working-class men stemmed from their lack of sexual inhibition and greater connection to their bodies. The erotic aspects of his desire were attributed to Merrill, his working-class lover, who embodied that which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 218-220
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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