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296Comparative Drama play which allows her to distinguish Shakespeare's comedy of mythic androgyny from Jonsonian satire, on the one hand, and over-idealized Petrarchan romance, on the other. Contrasting explicitly with Asper in Every Man Out ofHis Humour, Rosalind invites fellow characters and the audience to "embrace erotic relationship as the antidote for human suffering" (p. 177). Tiffany is particularly convincing in showing in As You Like It a "linkage" between Petrarchan "love-longing and satiric melancholy" (p. 190), both of which the play rejects. This chapter makes a deft conclusion to Erotic Beasts and Social Monsters, since we have moved from the first chapter's whirlwind tour of Greek and Roman literature, to increasingly detailed considerations of specific plays, and finally to a local theatrical quarrel whose full cultural resonance can now be read richly in the light of that previous history and its seriously competing visions of human fulfillment. Tiffany's book is a skillful comparatist's study, and one of its achievements is to construct a detailed lattice of intersections between Shakespeare, Jonson, and classical literature. Her overarching argument for an informing, continuous tradition of mythic and satiric androgyny constitutes a striking innovation and deserves attention. Likewise Tiffany argues compellingly that different views of androgyny can organize Renaissance plays formally. Her definitive claim about androgyny—that a gender-transgressive mythic androgyny represents identity-in-relationship as a consummate human experience—may not be embraced by all critics of Renaissance drama. This book, I also suspect, will be held at arm's length by Marxist critics who decry the hint of any transhistorical human urges or by feminist cultural critics who view Renaissance drama in terms of exclusionary patriarchal practices. Even the willing reader may sometimes wish for more sifting among Tiffany's massed resemblances and contrasts, and may stumble over the odd instance of opaque style (e.g., "The verbal mode of the Shakespearean separatist, or antiandrogyne , is an attempt to control or reify discourse . . ." [p. 101]). But those occasional concerns pale against the larger sense of bracing scope and imaginative excitement in Erotic Beasts and Social Monsters. KENT CARTWRIGHT University of Maryland, College Park Melissa Knox. Oscar Wilde: A Long and Lovely Suicide. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. Pp. xxiv + 175. $25.00. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word 'silly' as "deserving of pity, compassion, or sympathy." And it is this extremely useful word which best notâtes and describes this lopsided, profoundly unfortunate foray into the life and times of Oscar Wilde. A psychoanalytic biography, this book, blessedly short in length, is at once and quite sim- Reviews297 ply a failure of method, or perhaps more charitably, a risible exercise in fallacious causality. Indeed, fallacious causality is here the apt phrase best pinpointing this overburdened, narrow-minded, tunnel-visioned discourse, which raises once again the unsettling specter of the highly problematic and perhaps doomed relationship or forced alliance between psychoanalysis and the art of biography (literary or otherwise). The hapless, peifervid, and often poorly informed or untrained practitioners of this curious game follow an intrepid method (i.e., a full-scale, elaborate , often jargon-filled investigation of their target armed with all the weapons of the social sciences, the pronouncements of Freud, his disciples , and their various progeny), asserting with what can only be called questionable conclusions often cloaked in or embellished with a monumentally smug rectitude that every piece a writer makes is the product of some buried trauma long forgotten, a painful episode suddenly resurrected by whatever means necessary (drugs, emotional recall, or other exotic stimuli) to be reshaped into a poem, novel, or play. So much then for the business of literary creation, Philoctetes and his wound notwithstanding. And so much also for the overworked psyche, as it is probed, pushed, cajoled, or often kicked into analytic submission by a naively simplistic invasion presumably setting out to reveal a plethora of buried secrets best forgotten. Perhaps it is well to remember that Vladimir Nabokov, ever the wry sophisticate in such matters, once called Freud "that Viennese witch doctor." It is also well to remember that at present of course psychoanalysis is very much up for grabs, as they say...