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472 LEITERS IN CANADA 1997 though she fled her father and set up housekeeping for five years with her brother James (1798-18o3). When James wanted his daughter to move in with them, Sarah Harriet insisted that he return to his family. Dr Burney appears at his worst in these pages, repeatedly quarrelling with the daughter who twice became his live-in amanuensis and caretaker. Though Sarah Harriet took care of her father for the last seven years of his life, he left her a smaller inheritance than either of her half-sisters. I have only two cavils, and both are matters of omission. A brief outlinesummary of Sarah Harriet Burney's life would have helped the casual reader. Also, there is no central list of the black-and-white illustrations that are scattered through the book, such as the bust of Crabb Robinson and Edward Francesco Burney's illustration of Raphael appearing to Eve in Paradise Lost. Clark's decision to place her notes at the end of each letter has made this edition especially appealing to read. The notes themselves are so meticulous and thorough that readers will find this compendium of information exceptionally useful. Clark gives capsule descriptions, miniature biographies , and lucid explanations that clarify every allusion in these wideranging letters. Sarah Harriet Burney's letters are a treasure-trove not only for those curious about the Burney family, but for anyone interested in the early :nineteenth century. (JANICE FARRAR THADDEUS) Chris Wiesenthal. Figuring Madness in Nineteenth~Cenlury Fiction StMartin's Press. x, 202. us$49ยท95 Figuring Madness is less concerned with madness and nineteenth-century culture, a topic that has attracted legions of literary critics and historians from Elaine Showalter to Roy Porter, than it is with reading the inscriptions of madness in literary texts. Its subject is the forms of madness figured by texts and figured out by readers- the /diagnostics of madness.' Giving the term 'diagnostic' its full weight as a 'dyadic knowing/ 'investigative togetherness,' 'knowing produced at the intersection of subjectiv1ties,' Chris Wiesenthal concentrates on the mutual agencies of reader and text in her study of the signs and tokens of madness in select nineteenth-century literary texts. The theoreticallillderpinnings ofWiesenthal's shldy are to be folilld in the fields of psychoanalysis and psycholinguistics. Jacques Lacan and Roman Jakobsen, as forerunners in the tradition of the medical science of symptomatology and the linguistic study of signs, are the most powerful theoretical influences on the study; among psychoanalytic, poststructuralist critics Shoshana Felman is Wiesenthal's most admired and quoted predecessor. Given the author's focus on rhetorical and stylistic features of texts that figure madness, we may wonder what is historical or specifically 'nine- HUMANITIES 473 teenth-century' about her book, which embraces a spectrum of writers from Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, and Wilkie Collins, to Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herman Melville, and Henry James. Transitions between texts are sometimes uneasy; for example1 WiesenthaJ negotiates crossing the Atlantic and the gap between the Romantic period and late Victorianism in the transition from Gilman to Austen by noting that 'just over a century prior to the appearance of "The Yellow Wallpaper" in America, the 14 year-old Jane Austen wrote ...' For Wiesenthal, the relationship between Gilman and Austen is rhetorical rather than historical; it inheres in how each deals with the problems of inscribing madness in first-person narrative texts. Readers in search of an addition to the rich legacy of literary-historical studies on Romantic and Victorian madness, gender and culture, may be disappointed . But Wiesenthal in fact pre-empts such expectations with the disclaimer that her concern is not usually 'the underlying causal factors of psychopathology,' or the 'social or political contexts in which illness, as a cultural event, occurs.' And indeed, her focus on the symptom as rhetorical entity offers scope for a range ofnuanced and highly sophisticated readings ofboth canonical and relatively underdiscussed texts-Jane Austen's 'Love and Freindship/ and Wilkie Collins's Heart and Science, for example. - Throughout, she provides deft surrunaries of critical debate about the texts under discussion (particularly useful in the complex case of James's The Turn of the Screw), and her interventions in ongoing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 472-473
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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