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HUMANITrES 425 direction. To read all of jane's narrative as personal myth-making is to undervalue Bronte's control. For instance, Tromly regards the rhetoric of chapter XII as romantic delusion. She grants no historical validity to jane's complaint that women need to exercise their faculties as much as men. But in the complex pattern of past and present tenses Bronte has collapsed the distance between the mature and the younger jane. To see jane only as dominated by romantic imagination is to miss the point: the rhetoric is out of control: out of jane's control but not Bronte's. The mature jane is no more satisfied with 'perfect concord' and Rochester than was young jane with life before Rochester. In reading everything solely as jane's self-aggrandisement, Tromly misses the criticism of absolute marital concord which Bronte the controlling artist implies. Tromly does, however, explain why jane writes and why St john dominates the final page. She also achieves what no previous study offered: a satisfactory defence of The Professor's artistic unity and control. And although her analysis undervalues the comedy in Lucy Snowe's art, Tromly's argument that Lucy writes to vindicate her terrible sense of Fate provides a cogent explanation of Villette. The book recalls the master's thesis which preceded it: chapters begin with the standard view of criticism and so are encumbered initially with footnotes to every sentence. Of course, such a departure must prove itself against previous interpretations, yet Tromly too easily assumes that art is merely fictive construct with no historical validity. I am not always comfortable with the critical vocabulary she generates, but the language appropriate to Bronte's achievement has yet to be found, and Tromly's book is an excellent beginning. Rarely before has Bronte been read so respectfully. (MAUREEN F. MANN) John Pettigrew, editor (supplemented and completed by Thomas J. Collins). Robert Browning: The Poems Yale University Press (Penguin English Poets) 1981 Volume I, xxxiv, 119]; volume II, xxxviii, 1167. $14.95 paper per volume Fifteen years ago, F.E. Faverty observed that 'the need for an inexpensive edition of his [Browning's) complete poetry ... is still great.' He wrote this when the Ohio University Press fourteen-volume variorum edition was still a gleam in the editors' eyes. After the publication of the first volumes of the Ohio edition, and the ensuing controversy over their quality, any editor and annotator of Browning's complete poetry would feel a particular challenge. john Pettigrew's two-volume edition, completed by Thomas Collins, meets this challenge admirably. Browning's poetic output exclusive of The Ring and the Book (which is edited in this series by Richard A1tick) is almost completely represented 426 LIITTERS IN CANADA 1982 in two fat and fortunately well-bound volumes in the excellent Penguin English Poets series. Six plays from Bells and Pomegranates, as well as Browning's version of the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, have been omitted from the canon. It is a pity not to have it complete, but then binders cannot work miracles; if the editors had to choose between these works and the fine textual apparatus we have, together with Browning's essay on Shelley, their choice was wise. Uncollected and previously unpublished poems are added at the end; some of these are trivial, but not all; it is a pleasure to have in print Browning's transcriptions from the Anacreontea. The format is admirable. These are books to be used for years - well-spaced type pleasing to the eye, ample margins to scribble over (this is a study edition), good binding to remain unbroken (one trusts), decent-quality paper to remain untom (unlike the thin, brownish paper of even the hard-cover Oxford Standard Authors). Like most editors of Browning's work, Pettigrew has chosen as copytext the collected edition of 1888--<), which Browning saw through the press with care. Though there are arguments for printing earlier versions of a few poems (Pettigrew suggests Pauline), the 1888--9 edition provides a consistent and generally superior text. Pettigrew has included a 'generous selection of manuscript and textual variants.' He has standardized much spelling, restored lost paragraphing, corrected a few obvious compositor 's errors, mostly retained Browning's punctuation (about which Browning had strong feelings), and added to the accents used by Browning to indicate pronunciation. (The series follows the sensible practice of using a grave accent for a pronounced participial ending and an acute accent for unusual stress. The Norton practice of using an acute accent for participial endings is distracting to any eye trained in French accentuation or English practice.) The work on annotation is extensive and generally first-rate. Volume I contains 165 pages of notes, volume II, 184. Pettigrew has aimed at a full glossing of the poems, with essential factual information, explanation of allusions, and help with difficult phrasing. For each poem, he has indicated what scholarship and criticism appear to him most useful. Annotation is always difficult, because obviousness may annoy and absence will frustrate, yet our needs vary. Any reader may find places where more or different information could have been supplied. (J myself would have liked more information about the musical poems; did the editor have any luck with Hepzibah Tune?) And of course any reader would realize that one editor's annotation may suggest one interpretation , while another will suggest a different reading (compare Loucks's gloss on A Woman's Last Word with Pettigrew's). What is important here is that Pettigrew's notes omit nothing essential. Their thoroughness is very impressive, especially for the less-known poetry, where Pettigrew found 'deserts of vast vacuity' among commentaries. My own reservation about this generally excellent edition is a minor HUMANITIES 427 one. I think that the editor might have indicated more precisely what proportion of variant readings he chose to include, and might perhaps have exercised more consistency in that choice. He always informs the reader generally about revisions, but a reader might well infer too much from these remarks. In notes to The Statue of the Bust, the change in line 203 from 'the subtle artisan!' to 'as the crafty sculptor can' is omitted, while seemingly smaller changes are included. Similarly with Caliban upon Setebos. The manuscript in the Pierpont Morgan Library shows that there were some seventy-five verbal revisions. Of these, some forty are changes more important than an alteration of verb form, order of words, or, for example, 'which' to 'that: Pettigrew lists twenty-two, but not Browning's change from 'willing' to 'choosing' (line 103); and, although other changes from third person to first person are given, two in line 126 are omitted. In the last paragraph, the change from 'There, see!' to 'What, what?' (line 284) is noted, but not the change from 'See!' to 'Ha!' (line 287) or 'See!' to 'La!' (line 292). Of course, this is not a variorum edition and readers doing serious textual work wiIl go elsewhere, and of course space is limited. But I think a stronger effort should have been made to prevent the reader from assuming too much from the sample of variant readings. But this is a minor question in an achievement of this magnitude. We do now have that long-desired inexpensive, virtually complete poetry. It has been edited with great diligence and thought. Nothing of this quality has been available before at such a price, and the reader of Browning's poetry can feel only gratitude toward the two editors, together with sorrow over John Pettigrew'S untimely death. In its good sense and integrity, this edition is a fitting tribute to his memory. (ELEANOR COOK) John Hayman, editor. John Ruskin: Letters from the Continent 1858 University of Toronto Press. xxviii, 207, illus. $20.00 In Ruskin's fortieth year the ashes of his unconsummated marriage were cold (since annulment six years before); the fifth volume of Modern Painters was projected; his religious beliefs were changing; his father was concerned about his 'deep thinking' on dangerous topics; and he was exhausted by cataloguing 'the nineteen thousand pieces' of Turner drawings given to the nation. Ruskin needed to renew his physical and spiritual strength, and set out in May to visit 'Turnerian landscapes' on the Rhine, in Switzerland, and in Italy. From Turin, obsessed with copying details of Veronese's Solomon and the Queen of Sheba for seven weeks, he wrote in late August: 'I am in good writing humour now, having got back my usual spring of mind & body: The 121 letters in this travel diary, all addressed to 'my dearest Father' ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 425-427
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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