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the tones that melted the very heart' and rhapsodizes about 'that lovely and delightful creature, for whom my whole vitals had been so long inflamed with love.' David Groves has good things to say about this novella in his Introduction, but his suggestion that the varied religiOUS and social backgroundsofthe girls and women show 'Hogg's theme of the need for a more unified nation' seems far-fetched. Of the two poems, 'The First Sermon' (Blackwood's Magazine, 1830) is especially fine. The clash between the tone of superior bemusement on the narrator's partand the genuine horror of which he treats is very subtly handled. 'Seeking the Houdy' and 'Some Terrible Letters from Scotland' are the best of the tales and are remarkable for the tension between their quasi-documentary qualities and the preternatural horrors introduced. David Groves has given this collection a good introduction and a useful glossary. Not everything here comes from Hogg's top drawer and the general level is not quite up to that of Hogg's Selected Stories and Sketches as edited by Mack. There are, however, some very good things here and the anthology adds appreciably to our knowledge of Hogg's work. (H.B. DE GROOT) Gary Wihl. Ruskin and the Rhetoric of Infallibility Yale Studies in English '94. Yale University Press. xiv, 234ยท $17.50 paper One expected from the title of this book a discussion of Ruskin's insistent claims to infallibility. He is telling the truth, not giving an opinion; that truth is constant. The book would be an attempt to reconcile these assertions with the tentative structures of much of Ruskin's writing, its contradictions, his waverings of position. Acknowledging this central problem, Wihl approaches it indirectly. He devotes three chapters out of four to an analysis of aspects of Modern Painters. Here Wihl shows the work to be surprisingly well structured. In volume I Ruskin follows Locke's view of the interaction between perception and thought, applying it in his examination of landscape painting. In volume II, following Aristotle, he moves out in a deployment of the notion of the metaphor in relation to early Italian Christian art. This leads in volumes III to v to the preference for'allegorical landscapes' as finally illustrated by Turner's painting Garden of the Hesperides. Here Wihl provides a sensitive analysis of the deployment of Ruskin's thought, but he disappoints in insinuating that this is an arbitrary and not a progressive and possibly objectively valid deployment. In his fourth and final chapter Wihl broadens his presentation beyond Modern Painters. Here he adopts Proust's irreverent position as a critic of Ruskin as liar and idolator, before ambitiously trying to move beyond this. With Proust the focus is on the later Ruskin, particularly the author of The HUMANITIES 111 Bible of Amiens and Aratra Pentelid. To fill out the volume, appendices provide material from what seems to be a less supercharged era in Wihl's critical career. Here he examines a little-known Victorian landscape painting by W.B. Scott in relation to Holman Hunt's Our English Coasts and Ruskin's discussion of the latter. Secondly, he examines Ruskin's critique of the Crystal Palace as neither palace nor of crystal. Indeed this last essay contains the germ of Wihl's approach in the body of his book. Ruskin revolts from the Crystal Palace because it is denuded of the associations, historical and cultural, which for him make up the definition of a palace. Further, its crystal is the antithesis of the values which he sees in the substance, in nature, and in relation to the human and to the divine. Yet in its negativity the 'crystal' in Crystal Palace completes the verbal, ethical, aesthetic, spiritual spectrum along which Ruskin's thought is playing. Wihl does very well to analyse this characteristic and basic mode of Ruskin's thinking and writing. However, in my view it is Wihl's 'true failure' (to use his own final comment on Ruskin [p 155]) to insist on the arbitrariness ofthis word-play. This play is not a compulsive outcome of Ruskin's personality nor a sign of his being caught up in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 110-111
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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