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438 LETTERS IN CANADA 1982 lonesome in th' cheerless darkness of th' livelong night!' without sounding a little more parodic than the situation will bear? To my mind, Kleiman's advocacy for the dramatist would be more convincing if she did not feel compelled to defend his 'poethry: The claims for O'Casey as a precursor of Beckett and the Absurdists (based heavily on the 'state 0' ... chassis' evoked by Captain Boyle in Juno, and the pathos of Harry Heegan in his wheelchair) are rather factitious: an enterprising but overstated attempt to put O'Casey in the Absurdist van-, rather than the Expressionist rear-, guard. Whether it would be at all profitable to suggest in production that O'Casey's mixture of farce and pathos points the way to the Absurd seems most doubtful. But there is no indication whether, in this instance, Kleiman has the theatrical courage of her literary convictions. (MICHAEL SIDNELL) Michael Ballin, editor. D.H. Lawrence's 'Women in Love'; Contexts and Criticism Wilfrid Laurier University. 126 The editor's hope that this collection of essays 'will give the reader an impetus to continue the strenuous critical quest for new values and resolutions, enriched by an understanding of the manifold contextual bases of Lawrence's writing' (p vi) is intermittently fulfilled by the actual contents. The volume partly substantiates the reflection of one contributor , George Hibbard: 'Time and the academic community can be trusted to look after themselves. They have taken their ironical revenge on Lawrence by embracing him into the fold .. : (p 5). The first section, 'Physical and Environmental Contexts: launches the collection promisingly. In his essay on 'places and people' in Lawrence, Hibbard modestly disclaims scholarly authority, but displays an impressive familiarity with his subject. W.j. Keith's essay on 'Lawrence and the Rural' is, like Hibbard's, unpretentious and urbane. Keith explores the 'excruciating conflict between the urge forward and the pull of "the world we have lost" , (p 25) which he believes lies at the heart of Lawrence's work. He is especially stimulating on The Rainbow, which he views as 'an elegy for the regional' (p 28). His reading of Ursula Brangwen's rejection of nostalgia ('She wanted to have no past') seems to me unduly harsh; but in fact the value of his approach lies' partly in its capacity to provoke instructive contention. The volume's second section contains three papers on Lawrence's affinities with earlier writers. Keith's wise reminder that Lawrence did not need to rely on his reading to describe a swan becomes uncomfortably relevant to such link-hunting, which one is tempted to label the 'derivational fallacy: Peter Hinchcliffe's argument that Hardy and Eliot served as 'formal models' for The Rainbow and Women in Love is not immune to HUMANITIES 439 such an objection. Hinchcliffe makes a persuasive case for regarding Ursula's annihilation of Skrebensky as a 'corrected' version of Tess Durbeyfield 's murder of Alec, a point which perhaps supports Keith's provocative suggestion that The Rainbow in effect recapitulates Hardy's development as a novelist. But Hinchcliffe does not sufficiently define the nature of a 'formal model'; although he disclaims using such models as restrictive 'templates: some of his proposed parallels seem procrustean : 'When I try to imagine Gudrun's likely fate in Dresden, all I can think of is Hetty Sorrell's [sic] death in exile' (p 43). Maureen Mann's reading of Women in Love alongside Charlotte's Bronte's Shirley seems similarly forced; still, the comparison might have been more rewarding had it been less frequently obscured by a strenuously polemical vocabulary . Mann concludes that Lawrence, 'belonging to the last generation of Victorian writers [sic], is so overwhelmed by the "grand design of maternity" that his sexual ideology is informed by a biological determinism that is specifically uterine in its ontology' (p 67). Michael Ballin, tracing Blake's relevance to Women in Love, is at a different disadvantage: having to digest so complex a subject within a narrow scope. He compounds difficulties by dwelling on Paracelsus's hermeticism instead of clarifying more precisely the nature of Lawrence's undoubted affinity with Blake. Ballin's stress on the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 438-440
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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