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74Rocky Mountain Review reviewing poems by citing two or three-line excerpts and filling in with interpretations. A last objection has to do with Garrard's tone, which, while attractively light, at times becomes supercilious. This may be an appropriate approach to Lermontov's juvenilia, but it has the effect of undercutting the book's aim of providing a balanced appraisal. These cavils aside, Garrard's book is a commendable and much-needed volume for the Russian literature shelves. ANNE TYLER NETICK College of William and Mary SIMA GODFREY, ed. The Anxiety ofAnticipation. Yale French Studies 66. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984. 212 p. Ah, the delight of the voices of Yale ringing out the verities of the ancient refrains of classical reflections on classical themes. So accustomed are we to the dithyrambics of hard-core semiotics that we forget the whispers and murmurs of the winds, and the ripples of the forests and streams of gentle erudition. There are twelve voices in this issue of Yale French Studies which Sima Godfrey's prefatory essay describes as addressing "the energy peculiar to the vectors of French literary history." The title is a partial derivative of The Anxiety of Influence by Harold Bloom, who advances a theory for the continuous dynamic of English and American poetry. The intrinsic bias of Bloom and his "evasive disregard" and "disavowed interest in French culture and intellectual history" (iii) has virtually created these essays, each of which measures one of the many parameters surrounding his central theory. These voices are melodiously contrapuntal to the strong voice of Bloom in bringing us this delightful choral music which "alerts us to the echoes ofthe future" (iv) of the poetry, prose, painting, and culture of France. In "The Anxiety of Anticipation: Ulterior Motives in French Poetry," Godfrey disciplines our minds to an understanding of Harold Bloom's model for reading English poets in the wake of their predecessors. This model may be convincing for some literatures but not for the French. Other literatures have had "strong" poets early in their history, Milton for the English Romantics, but the French failed to produce an epic poet of equivalent magnitude. Voltaire admits that it is difficult for a Frenchman to create an epic poem, in spite of the epic poems of Ronsard and others, and Voltaire himself, which are considered relatively mediocre by comparison to the Aeneid they sought to emulate. We are made aware of the dominance of Boileau, Baudelaire, and Hugo in the vignettes contained within Godfrey's essay on "l'effet Boileau," "l'effet Baudelaire," and "l'effet Bloom." And we are satisfied that the collective anxiety qualifying the quest of the French poet subsumes the individual anxiety of influence into anticipation of the new. "Bien loin d'ici Baudelaire's flowers will continue to blossom, long after they have lost their bloom" (26). It is startling and then provocative to find included in this volume Richard Shiff's "The Original, the Imitation, the Copy, and the Spontaneous Classic: Theory and Painting in Nineteenth-Century France." It is also curious to note Book Reviews75 that there is no direct reference to The Anxiety ofInfluence or other of Bloom's works. There may be here an implicit assertion that the model, the precursor, does not obtain in denoting a classic or original painting, that the intangible written word needs the authority of the past for its acceptance in the present, but that painting or sculpting requires only the reality of the artist's direct naive vision for him to discover art in his own originality. He will never become alienated, divided among imitations of himself. We recall Goethe's expressed wish that he might have been a sculptor so he could leave behind some tangible evidence of his craftsmanship, and we know that Gauguin wrote profusely with the anxiety of anticipation to establish the permanent record of his artistic achievement and its interpretation. If Gauguin was a classic, then he is in all of us; if Goethe was a classic, then he is in all of us. The other ten essays are just as thought provoking and seminal as the first two. They include Louis A. Mackenzie...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 74-76
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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