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466 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 of tales written in French or Italian, provides appendices of the original text, highlighting phrases which proved difficult to translate. These tales almost certainly could be used for teaching as well as scholarship. rt might be intriguing, for example, to place some of these shorter romances alongside Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote. Montagu, like Lennox, has a great deal to say about women's susceptibility to romantic fancy, as well as sympathy for the fascinations of romance. These tales could help accustom students to literary conventions they will encounter in longer novels of the period. As the work of a widely read and well-travelled literary figure, they provide a fresh perspective on eighteenth -century culture, and should find an eager audience in anyone interested in the period. (CARRIE HINTZ) Frans DeBruyn. The Literary Genres of Edmund Burke: The Political Uses of Lilerary Form. Clarendon Press 1996. xii, 318. $86.oo In The Literary Genres of Edmund Burke: The Political Uses of Literary Fonn, Frans De Bruyn has opened several new walks with new prospects for exploring Burke. Starting from the observation that in the eighteenth cenh.uy no boLmdary separated 'literary' from 'political' writing (both were 'writing,' i.e., 'literature'), DeBruyn shows Burke's political use of available literary genres/ from tragedy to epic, satire to georgic. Burke's writings belong to such familiar eighteenth-century political genres as the speech, the report, the letter, thoughts, considerations, reflections, with one youthful vindication. When constructing his arguments, however, he exploits conventions and procedures, linguistic and formal, that belong to the belletristic genres. With certain social attitudes and assumptions already embedded in eighteenth-century genre theory, to adopt a genre was to take up a half-articulated politicalargument, to refer to a shared culture, and to reinforce the political and cultural identity that rmderstood and responded to such references. Intertextuality thus becomes an inextricable aspect of political argument, simultaneously form and content. Having dealt elsewhere with Burke's use of Gothic romance in the Hastings trial, DeBruyn emphasizes the literary genres typical of the early eighteenth century, especially satiref georgic, and tragedy. Even the simplest description of generic features elicits familiar passages in Burke. Consider, pausing, the 1 georgic-didactic, wjth its characteristic features of landscape views, prospect surveys, spatial imagery, and patriotic rhetoric.' In such passages 'Burke pursues his "constructive" Whig political vision' and embraces historical change as 'improvement.' On some occasions, he can even be found endorsing 'enlightenment.' The shadow of georgic 'improvement ' is 'innovation.' Violent denunciations of cultural decay and imminent apocalypse/ of selfish innovation and absurd destruction/ in the Letters on a Regicide Peace are traced to the satiric, Scriblerian mode of the Dunciad and Gulliver's Travels. Burke's distrust of literary men and philosophes is thus linked with Pope/s mockery of scribblers/ and Burke follows Pope's path from mocking the scribblers (in A Vindication ofNatural Societtj) to fearing their contribution to a significantly wider moral and cultural decay. In De Bruyn's accorn1t, satire succeeds to the tragic structure of the Reflections, and that succession illuminates the generic inadequacy of tragedy to a period of social change. The 'tragic' structure of the Reflections seems at first a paltry reading of the text that stops, as many readings of the Reflections seem to, with the fall of the royal family. When radicals mocked Burke's account of the queen, they rejected his definition of tragedy and turned from the heroic mode to more demotic genres. Contrasting dis~ missive reactions to the Reflections with the apotheosis of Charles 1 a century earlier/ De Bruyn seems to forget that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were not dead yet. One mocker, Paine1 voted against death at the king's trial. The radical dismissal of Burke's tragic theatre tells us that radical confidence in progress subverted tragedy as genre but not as event. Although De Bruyn omits the conceptuat analytic struggles in the Reflections, his argument makes newly visible the curious serenity of Burke's conclusion: the certainty that there will be a younger generation to continue and to consider after France has passed through blood and fire. The Reflections moves...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 466-467
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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