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476 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 does not however, adhere exclusively to Jamison's thesis. For example, she says that during his marriage ~Byron was almost driven mad by money worries,' but Jamison argues that the onset of manic-depressive symptoms is 'usually tmrelated to events'; Byron's money problems may have been an effect rather than a cause of his illness. Grosskurth, like Marchand, assumes that his last lover, Teresa Guiccioli, eventually bored him; Jamison argues that he was sinking ever deeper into depression. Unforrunately, Grosskurth's book contains dozens of errors, including at least ten misprints (e.g., 'Portugyuese'; 'aware' for 'unaware'); eleven misquotations (e.g., omitting 'I' from 'He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore' ['Epistle to Augusta/]/ thus losing the comparison between Byron and his grandfather, ~Foul-weather Jack'; adding 'should' to ~we are not what we have been' [Childe Harold 3.111L thus turning a lament for lost youth into a confession- and in both cases, spoiling the metre); fifteen mistakes of fact (e.g., M.G. Lewis did not commit suicide~ he died of yellow fever; the lost memoirs were not 'written in conjunction with the opening of Canto Iv of Don Juan,' but with canto I); and some serious m.isreadi.ngs (e.g., The Two Foscari is not about a ~father (who] plots against the state that has wrongly banished his son' but about a father so devoted to his duty to the state that he presides over the judicial torture of his son). (o.L. MACDONALD) Hugh Roberts. Shelley and the Chaos of History: A New Politics of Poetry Pennsylvania State University Press. x, 534ยท us$75.00 doth, us$25.00 paper This is a large and ambitious book, one which seeks not only a new reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley but also a novel articulation of political efficacy in culture and letters. Further, Hugh Roberts appropriates the discipline of chaos science in an effort to lay bare the foundations of Shelleyan process and to demonstrate 'the implications of chaos theory for literary studies.' This is a tall order, all the more so because Roberts finds well nigh all previous Shelley criticism -and most critical inquiry generally - to be a 'misunderstanding/ or a 'misrecognition,' or simply 'mistaken.' The author, that is, establishes a high order of expectation that would be difficult for anyone to meet. Roberts hopes to establish a survey of the philosophical antecedents of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought, and the various ways in which such contexts have been misprised; he seeks to explain the basic tenets of chaos theory, and the ways in which humanities professors have tended to misconstrue the science; he offers a history and critique of the new historicism and a discussion not only of its failures but of the ways in which others have misnnderstood its aims. Much more is attempted than the latter would suggest, but the point will hold all the same: given the rigour demanded of such bold endeavours, it is remarkable and surprising that the dominant leitmotif of this book is therapy, and that the therapeutic is repeatedly invoked in sentimental terms. Roberts places Shelley in a struggle to move beyond disparate legacies of the Enlightenment, and finds that the therapeutic is the poet's most severe ch~llenge: 'the "therapeutic" drive is an attempt to "heal" the division between mind and world, subject and object, citizen and state, that the radical Enlightenment had forced open.' But Enlightenment disengagement 'is also a discourse of therapy,' and it is even in Kant's third Critique 'that the therapeutic drive finds its fullest, and most influential, expression.' But Shelley seeks to transcend the limitations of what Roberts identifies as 'therapeutic idealism' and so, in The Triumph of Life, for example, 'the atomistic fragmentation of death is most evidently an assault on the organicism of the therapeutic approach.' In A Defence of Poetry1 a 'chaotic poetics' is teased out of the sorry failure of what 'the therapeutic philosophers ' posit as a comprehensive societal reflection: 'Both Milton and Dante, then1 represent a limit case for the therapeutic resistance to atomistic entropy; if they can be shown to be subject to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 476-477
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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