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106Victorian Review in Victorian England is a tremendously valuable contribution to the understanding of an important aspect of Victorian EngUsh society. There can be no argument with the author ' s concluding comment that "there is a need for greater interest to be taken in the legal system—the laws themselves, who operates them, and who benefits from their operation" (268). Notes 1.The English legal profession was then characterized by two major "branches* which operated in effect as distinct professions providing related legal services. The Bar ("barrister's branch") was the socially more exclusive of the two, enjoyed a monopoly of superior court practice, and was governed by four "Inns of Court" in London. The so-called "lower branch" of the legal profession consisted of attorneys (also called solicitors), was much less socially exclusive, much larger, and provided the vast bulk of legal services throughout the country. 2.I am grateful to Dr. Barry Wright for sensitizing me to this. Of course there are many stopping points short of simplistic conspiracy theories but, as Wright's extraordinary scholarship illustrates, elements of instrumentalism and deliberate elite manipulation of law routinely intrude in times of perceived crisis. WES PUE University ofManitoba Marcia Pointon, ed. Pre-Raphaelites Re-viewed. Manchester UP, 1989. viii + $49.95 US (cloth); $18.95 US (paper). The word play in the title of Marcia Pointon's essay collection PreRaphaelites Re-viewed holds out an engaging offer. In this set of eight closely focused articles, written by British and American scholars in the fields of Uterature and art history, we are asked to take a new look at famiUar terrain, the art, the writings, and the ethos of the Pre-RaphaeUte movement. Few would argue with this proposition. Despite the vast extant Uterature on the movement—and few movements have been so meticulously documented—the discourse has tended to be redundant, telling and retelling the same story of youth, rebeUion, and romanticism, all in the cause of a purer British art. Although the story still pleases, as Reviews107 any undergraduate instructor will attest, it has ceased to inform and enlighten. A further problem with Pre-Raphaelite scholarship is its legacy of personalization and bias. From the beginning, the original seven Brothers wrote about and promoted one another, sought out "friendly" critics and endured, especially in the first years, some of the most vituperative criticism ever sent to press. The list of primary biographers—Wüliam Michael Rossetti, Ford Madox Hueffer, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Amy Woolner, Diana Holman Hunt, to name only a few----reads like a guest list for a family reunion. Each writer offers his or her own version of the same story, placing their father/uncle/grandfather at the center of the circle, then sets the familiar facts in motion around them. Even works conceived as a corrective—notably Jan Marsh's The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood (1985)—must ultimately travel the same worn road; trying to balance the story unfortunately tells us the story again. Pointon ' s coUection appears at the end of a decade that saw a new analytical perspective on the Pre-Raphaelite movement The retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery (1984) and its comprehensive catalogue The Pre-Raphaelites played down the anecdotes and put forth the solid information on sources and provenance needed to work with the pictures at a deeper level of analytical engagement The essay coUection published in conjunction with the exhibition—Pre-Raphaelite Papers (ed. Leslie Parris, 1984)—advanced an approach of closer reading and broader contextual integration. These volumes broke ground for the innovative analyses that foUowed—by Deborah Cherry and Griselda PoUack, by Lynda Nead, and, most significantly by Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn. In common with the efforts of Pointon and her contributing authors, these scholars all seek to apply new, or at least alternative and less biased, modes of interpretation to the production of the PreRaphaelites , leading to deeper and wider understanding of the works in their broad Victorian context A part of a series published by Manchester University Press on "Cultural Politics," Pre-Raphaelites Re-viewed adheres to the observation that "texts" are "as inseparable from the conditions of their production and reception in history...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 106-108
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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