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440 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 dramatists, as, for instance, 'the extraordinary disjunction between the performative and theconstative in Webster's tragedies, whereby characters tend to act first and explain themselves later, and often lamely, in a sort of retrospective self-fashioning.' But he is no less effective in generalization, especially on the relations between representations of subjectivity and issues of genre. In tragicomedy, 'a specific set of social and political relations is established initially as right, possible, and- especially- natural, and becomes in itself a form of transcendental d.iscourse,' expressed through forms of symbolism.Jn this context Hillman's view of subjectivity as developed through displacement makes good sense: '"True" identities are ever-present in suspension, waiting to be realised, and displacement or deviation from them carries a quality of alienation.' The last chapter, in which Hillman claims to distinguish figurations of specifically feminine subjectivity, is the least successful, partly because too much of it is devoted to a learned, ingenious, but unpersuasive account of masturbation in Love's Labour's Lost (so that's what it means!) as a 'physical co-relative of selfspeaking .' The new implications thus emerging for Greasy Joan's keeling of the pot are in line with a tendency to psychosexual punning that surfaces at unfortunate moments from time to time. This is a difficult book but rewarding. Its difficulties are justified by the complexity of its ideas and (what is not always the same thing) its intelligence . (SANDRA CLARK) Jonathan Hart, editor. Imagining Cult!lre: Essays in Early Modem History and Literature Garland 1996. 2.62. us$62.00 This volume inaugurates a new series from Garland entitled 'Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies.' This is a timely subject for many reasons, not least because (as Jonathan Hart acknowledges in his wide-ranging introductory essay) 'for some, cultural studies in the English-speaking countries is subsuming comparative literahlre.' As well as such purely institutional pressures on comparative literary studies, this project also tacitly recognizes the contemporary rise of English as an imperialistic cultural force and as the lingua franca of multinational capitalism. Rather than proc1aim the triumph of culrural studies over its older counterpart, the stated goal of the series is to explore the many commonalities between the two, and the present collection begins with the recognition that early modem vernacular literature was uninhibitedly comparative in its procedures. The eleven essays in Imagining Culture range across Italian, Spanish, French, and English hterature and are grouped rmder the categories of discourse and the human sciences, gender and representation, and the relations between early modernity, modernity, and postrnodemity. Among HUMA.!'\JTTIES 441 the subjects covered are the various literary representations of the Rape of _Lucrece, the question of historical notions of selfhood, and authors such as Gongora, Ariosto, Cervantes, Boccaccio, and Marguerite de Navarre. Serving as bookends to the collection are more general essays on the interactions between history and anthropology and between theories of narrative and drama. The collection as a whole is made much more Lm.ified and userfriendly by the inclusion of a general list of works cited and an index for the entire volume; very few edited collections bother with these features, and it is to be hoped that Hart will make this standard for the series. There are several imp-ressive pieces of work within this wide array, but the collection as a whole bears only a tenuous relation to any widely recognized definition of 'cultural studies.' As Hart states in his preface to the series, the two disciplines he wishes to juxtapose 'emphasize popuJar culture, visual arts, and the sociology of literature.' None of these subjects, however, receives any detailed attention here, and there is little in the way of non-literary history either. As the above summary implies, the subjects of the essays in Imagining Culture are, in the main, canonical and literary, and most follow the traditional modes of literary analysis that the cultural studies movement (in its many manifestations) implidtIy or exphcitly seeks to challenge. It should be stressed that this is not an indictment of the essays themselves: Gise]e Mathieu-Castellani's excellent essay 'Pour une poetique de la nouvelle' is a fine example of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 440-441
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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