In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

a long life: an affection for the English countryside doomed by modern commercial development, a growing awareness of mortality, a consciousness of some potential not wholly fulfilled, and the affirmation of friendship. Particularly interesting is the emphasis on sensations and sense impression: a moment is vividly recreated, its emotional contours and colouring intact, the central intensity and blurred edges faithfully got down as the novelist steps forward for a handful of sentences or a paragraph before he retreats into some even more private world. Inevitably not all the entries are compelling; there are few bans mots, there is occasionally patchy perception and patchy prose, but readers of Forster will welcome this book's publication for the considerable light it throws on its author's personality. Philip Gardner's elegant introduction serves the reader well in its sharp and illuminating focus on major themes and in its justification ofeditorial practice. Gardner's annotations are informative, and a name and title index further assists the reader. In every sense this is a handsome production. And if, indeed, books have their fates, Forster's Commonplace Book has met with a happy one in being carefully printed and learnedly annotated. (r.H. STAPE) Averil Gardner. Angus Wilson Twayne. x, '40. $15.95 Averil Gardner's account of Angus Wilson's short stories cites a New Statesman recipe competition for 'Trifle Angus Wilson' that cleverly catches the essence of his early work. In contrast, the recipe followed by the Twayne series, while incorporating the essential ingredients of a writer's career, all too often has the consistency of an unevenly baked school pudding with too few pinches of critical salt. Gardner struggles to give some vitality to the Twayne formula - plot summaries sweetened with critical incisiveness - but the results are predictably bland. Although this is a decidedly more intensely meditated and intelligent book than Peter Faulkner's pedestrian monograph Angus Wi/son: Mimic and Moralist (1980), Wilson's work has yet to receive the comprehensive critical discussion it merits. Gardner is at her best in her first chapter on Wilson's life, a crisp and insightful exploration of his childhood and adolescent years. First published in the Wilson special issue of Twentieth Century Literature of 19B3 (curiously unmentioned in this book's selected bibliography), it contains much new information and usefully lays the groundwork for Gardner's chronological treatment of the short fiction and novels. The discussion of the early volumes of stories helpfully sets them in their post-war social context and provides an informed discussion of their HUMANITIES 117 roots in Wilson's early years, if at moments too trustingly citing from The Wild Garden, his own exploration of the relationship between his life and fiction. More successfully than previous commentators, Gardner discerns the connections between the novels and other works of the 1950s, giving full due to The Mulberry Bush, Wilson's only stage play. But the summaries of the longer works - and with some justice Gardner adjudges them as too long - crowdoutcriticalcommentary, leavingroom onlyforbrieflyargued evaluation. Thus, for example, the sheer bulk of the plots of No Laughing Matter and As If By Magic disallows sustained analytical consideration, suggesting that a writer of Wilson's depth and amplitude is particularly ill served by Twayne's format. As it is, Wilson the writer of fiction is the exclusive concern here, with the three critical biographies of Zola, Dickens, and Kipling receiving only passing mention and the vast output of essays and reviews almost unnoticed. The volume includes a brief chronology to 1980 and a primary and secondary selected bibliography. The latter fails to include Robert J. Stanton's A Bibliography ofModern British Novelists (1978), to date the most comprehensive, if far from complete, listing of Wilson's works and criticism on him, supplemented by J.H. Stape's similarly unmentioned checklist for 1976-80 in the TeL special issue. This is an urbanely written overview that will particularly interest the advanced undergraduate to whom it is addressed. The scholar, with whom this series is admittedly little concerned, must look elsewhere for the critical insights and information that will assist him in his reading of Wilson and must still await a study that will...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 116-117
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.