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a number of General Readers who will find the recipe appealing-but they must not be too young, too well-acquainted with the last half-century of critical theory, or (obviously) too concerned with the ins-and-outs of Roman cultural history. 3 / Housman's edition of Lucan was 'for the use of editors': much of Quinn's prolific writing has, ex- or im-plicitiy, been designed for the use of professional Latinists who propose to write their books on each subject. Texts and Contexts may count as a useful irritant, perhaps even a thorn in the flesh, when the next introductory survey is to be written: on the one hand an easy conventional 'what? when? 'approach must come to terms with Quinn's arguments in favour of 'why? and how?'; and on the other hand a traditional ratification of inherited judgmentsbased on inscrutable appeals to taste and experience will be harder to write after the involuntary discrediting of the procedure available for inspection in Texts and Contexts. I am not, however, persuaded that either lesson will, in fact, be learned. (JOHN HENDERSON) W.K. Thomas. The Fizz Inside: Critical Essays ofa Lighter Kind University of Waterloo Press. x, 389. $9.95 The reader need not beware: despite the title, one may open Professor W.K. Thomas's The Fizz Inside, even after agitation, withoutthe danger of being drenched by a Niagara of sweet champagne: pop do not go the essays. What is contained is much more palatable: light, yes, but with body and bite. The genre is becoming rare: who except the superstars can get collected essays published now - and when was the last one at only $9.95 in hard cover? More's the pity (less is more?), for Thomas, in a belles-lettristic spirit, offers us a generous share in his wide reading and perceptive analysis. There is no pressure to use the material in one's courses, though it is evident enough that some of the questioning and research that lie behind the essays was prompted by his teaching. One benefits simply from the reading and the reflection and rereading the book prompts. The collection is, then, non-professional, which is not of course to say unprofessional. Thomas must command a retentive memory, a capacious flIing cabinet, and the leisure to browse: of these only the filing cabinet (until the word-processor with bottomless capacity is installed) is mandatory for the professional, and my filing cabinet even now lacks a folder tabbed 'Relax and Enjoy.' As to the browsing: the essays (twenty-one in all, reprinted from many journals), while revealing Thomas's central concern with the eighteenth century, and particularly with its poetry, include discussions of Catch-22, A.P. Herbert (here and elsewhere too much summary), Milton, nineteenth-century Canadianoratory (a particu- larly valuable account, there being so little study of our tradition), Rupert Brooke, Sidney, translation, satire, and a good deal more. Throughout there is a demonstrated skill in exposition, a nice turn of scholarly inquisitiveness, a happy attention to detail, and an admirable willingness to grant great authors their askings. Thomas can run a stiff line: 'the paraphrastic kind of translation that seeks to create responses equivalent to those created in the original audience comes the closest to fulfilling the desires of those readers who wish to experience as much as possible of the literary excellence of the original works' (p 160). And occasionally the rough side of his tongue rasps away at silliness, but no brutal critical wars are waged. It might be admitted, in fact, that theory is not a strength of the individual essays, a fortiori of the collection as a whole - but that is a purely professional remark. On the negative side, one might also say (and without contradicting the judgment about theory) that some of the fun is diminished by Thomas's too-pressing analytic spirit, which sometimes lets the air out: he is enjoying his authors, but he's not laughing. This spirit shows to disadvantage in the index, which unbelievably in a book of this kind runs from page 343 to page 389, and includes entries for'Africa' and 'agriculture,' 'Zeus' and 'Zollverein': knowing the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 99-100
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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