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HUMANITIES 421 29) in the novel's 'humanistic economy ofsalvation' (p 28) - is shrewd and convincing, and puts into new perspective the redemptive encounters between the characters. He has as well a strong sense of the 'generic discontinuities' (p 78) of Middlemarch; certain features of the text are brought into useful focus by his discussion of Raffles as a Dickensian Doppelganger (p 90), by his observation that in her indulgent presen~ation of the landed gentry Eliot employs conventions of comedy not used for lower-class characters (p 78), and by his comparison of Dorothea both to the'Clarissa' type ofProtestantheroine and to the aspiring young woman at odds with her society described by Margaret Doody (pp 98-9). The fact that McSweeney chooses to open his discussion of Dorothea with a substantial quotation from another critic is emblematic of his method throughout. Dealing with a novel about which so much has been written, he has frankly chosen to make full use of work done by other readers. Such an approach is often useful: it makes sense to defer the classic solution of a classic problem to an earlier critic (to quote, for example, Barbara Hardy on sentimentality vs sexuality in Ladislaw's relationship with Dorothea, p 109), or to reflect the vexedness of a vexed issue with a survey of proposed solutions (as in McSweeney's rather ruthlessly dismissive summary of various attempts to assert the unity of Middlemarch, pp 123, 128-)0). But occasionally deference to other writers constrains the author to complete a paradigm or answer an objection in a way which blurs rather than sharpens the focus of his own argument. On the whole this volume reflects the problematic state of English studies at the momenbAn able and workmanlike presentation of the best (and dismissal of the worst) that has been thought and said about Middlemarch, it remains a catalogue of critical points of view rather than a true synthesis; it evinces a somewhat uneasy and defensive relationship with recent critical theory, and it fails to address in a fresh way the issues raised by such theory - issues like 'Character and Characterization' (chapter4). McSweeney objects to the 'interpretive totalitarianism' (p 125) of critics who attempt to impose a single reading on the novel, but his programmatic eclecticism, while it has its own kind ofhonesty- reflecting his perception of the discontinuities in Middlemarch itself - and while it often generates valuable observations, is sometimes unfocused and mechanical. His study is, in short, a genuinely, though not consistently, useful survey of Middlemarch, rather than a definitive rereading. (MARJORIE GARSON) John S. North and Michael D. Moore, editors. Vital Candle: Victorian and Modern Bearings in Gerard Manley Hopkins University of Waterloo Press. viii, 155. $12.00 All nine essays collectedin this volume contribute in importantways to an understanding of Hopkins's achievement. The first four essays provide a 422 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 Victorian context for evaluatinghis work. The two middle essays consider his influence on later poems. And the last three essays analyse his innovative use of language. The essay by Sheelagh Russell-Brown on Hopkins and Francis Thompson makes deft use of quotation and comparison. But it is too obviously composed with the aid of filing cards, and offers little original analysis of either poet. In a more original essay, Alison G. Sullowaychallenges many assumptions about the Victorians. But she seems less interested in Hopkins than in a problematic thesis she propounds about I the new pragmatism' of his age. In welcome contrast, Norman H. MacKenzie writes as a literary detective. The solution to the mystery he expounds about Hopkins's early lines on St Dorothea is as satisfying as it is unexpected. The ambitious contribution by Lionel Adey on the inscapes ofinsomnia convincingly connects Hopkins, James Thomson, and Robert Lowell. John Ferns offers a thoughtful account ofHopkins's revoltagainst the Parnassian style and substance of Tennyson's poetry. All readers will be intrigued, if not wholly convinced, by Michael Ballin's ingenious suggestion that the theological 'underthought' of 'The Wreck of the Deutschland' is the doctrine of the sacred heart, which Hopkins has taken care to veil from unsympathetic Protestant readers. The essays I read with greatest...


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