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112Victorian Review conversely, that the Victorians were well aware both of the complexities of trying to represent themselves and of the solipsistic effect at the core of much radical scepticism. Such reservations as I have about this book are essentially trivial. Occasionally the outline of the philosophical context is so brief as to be cryptic without lifting The Lucid Veil. And sometimes the author 's own highly metaphoric style becomes too exuberant. It is most apt, for example, to describe Newman ' s leaps of faith in terms of glaciers and mountain peaks, for he uses a clambering analogy himself in one of his sermons. But to describe Newman ' s response to Charles Kingsley and Arnold's relation to Frederic Harrison and the Dissenters in terms of Japanese martial arts ("intellectual karate," and "mentaljudo or aikido," respectively [230]) is to risk being more clever than true. Such moments, however, are few, and as a whole the book lives up to the claims of its dusk jacket: "genuinely probing and provocative"; "challenging . . . convincing and often brilliant." Works Cited Shaw, W. David. The Lucid VeilĀ· Poetic Truth in the Victorian Age. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1987. Stoehr, Taylor. Dickens: The Dreamer's Stance. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell UP, 1965. ROBERT O ' KELL University ofManitoba Barreca, Regina, ed. Set and Death in Victorian Literature. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990. vii + 264. $37.50 US (cloth). Set and Death in Victorian Literature is a collection of essays that will stimulate and intrigue any reader interested in Victorian literature, critical theory, or both. The book offers interesting perspectives on current trends in Victorian studies, and provides incisive readings of particular texts. The essays included in the volume range from analyses of Daniel Deronda through to explications of Tennyson's In Memoriam, and each contribution explores the interconnections between sex and death in the work(s) examined. Barreca ' s introduction lays down the parameters of the collection, and argues that Reviews113 [w]ithout the romantic eulogising ofsentimental cliches, sex and death are clinical experiences, full of anatomy. The play between the two topoi undercuts the apparently paradoxical relationship between an act of generation and an act of closure. The intersections between the two bring to Ught "the erotic component in the death instinct and the fatal component in the sex instinct." (5) This selection of articles illuminates the ways in which sex is often metonymically displaced onto death, and death onto sex. Consequently, the collection provides a framework for discussing the Victorian sublimation of eroticism, as well as its preoccupation with expiration. The two articles on vampirism (Robert Tracy's "Loving You AU Ways: Vamps, Vampires, Necrophiles and Necrofilles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction" and Regenia Gagnier ' s "Evolution ad Information, or Eroticism and Everyday Life, in Dracula and Late Victorian Aestheticism") are particularly noteworthy in foregrounding the interrelationships apparent between deadly sex and sexy death. The collection, while broadly post-structuralist in nature, presents a wide-range of theoretical methodologies, including deconstructive, new historicist, feminist, and psychoanalytic strategies. A New Critical approach is represented in Robert Zweig ' s " ' Death-in-Love ' : Rossetti and the Victorian Journey Back to Dante," yet this essay, to my mind, is one of the weakest in the collections. This is unfortunate, since it is the only example of New Critical analysis in the book, but Zweig ' s treatment of the presence of Dante in Rossetti's poetry is superficial and disappointing. However, articles like James Kincaid ' s " ' You did not come ' : Absence, Death and Eroticism in Tess," Regina Barreca ' s "The Power of Excommunication: Sex and the Feminine Text in Wuthering Heights," and Elisabeth Bronfen's "Dialogue with the Dead: The Deceased Beloved as Muse" more than make up for the flaws evident in Zweig ' s contribution. Set and Death in Victorian Literature serves as an overview of contemporary approaches to Victorian studies. As such, it is a text that should not be overlooked by specialists in the area. Priscilla L. Walton University of Lethbridge ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 112-113
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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