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HUMANITIES 487 quotient was and how vigorous his intellect. Nothing of the 'dandy' remains and little of the professional charmer of women. However, his capacity to understand the feelings of others, to sympathize with bereavement is movingly evident in his letter to Lady Londonderry on the occasion of her husband's death. Such elevated writing is matched by Disraeli's bluntness, for in writing to Lord Stanley on 18 July 1852 he states: 'We built up an opposition on Protection and Protestantism. The first the country has positively pissed upon.' Even where frequently cited letters are published- such as that of 13 August 1852, where Disraeli writes of the 'wretched colonies' as a 'millstone ' - this volume places such correspondence in context. Surrounding Disraeli's irritation with the colonies are letters demonstrating his knowledge of the American political arena, tariff issues with France, and Russian imperial policies against Persia. Of course, Disraeli often showed bad judgment, such as claiming on occasion that he could supplant Lord Derby or in failing to see Palmerston as the dominant, rising politician. However, these letters reveal a much more gifted, energetic, and professional politician thanhas so far been depicted in the secondary literature. It is this more complex understanding ofDisraeli, and of aspects of midVictorian Britain, revealed in the letters and annotations, that justifies the historical importance of this volume and of the entire Disraeli Project. He knew that he was indispensable to the Conservatives; however courteous his words to those grandees, there is no toadyism. This volume allows scholars and students alike to discard many of the shallow generalizations that still beset the study of mid-Victorian politics and society. (RICHARD A. REMPEL) Maggie Berg. Wutluring Heights: The Writing in tire Margin Twayne's Masterwork Studies 163. Twayne Publishers 1996. 136. us$29.00 Maggie Berg opens her study of Wuthering Heights with personal anecdote: she first took up the book because her great-grandmother recommended it to her 'mum,' who told Berg's sister ab.out it, who then urged Berg to read it because it was 'one of the greatest love stories ever written.' Berg is respectful of the generations of readers that have been drawn to Emily Bronte's novel, but she questions many standard assumptions about it. Noting that her sister would probably no longer read the narrative as she once didf Berg recalls that upon her own first encounter with it, she was 'very puzzled (as were the first reviewers in 1847) about how to react: was this a love story? who [sic] in the novel could I trust? was this realism or fantasy? If it were intended as a story about the everyday life of ordinary people, what about the ghosts?' These questions may seem obvious and 488 LETTERS TN CANADA 1997 simple, but they address with provocative candour the issues that arise (I will be anecdotal too) every time I teach Wuthering Heights to undergraduates who, along with some critics, cling to the idea that it is a story of passionate romantic love, but who feel Wl.Comiortable with its presumed lack of 'realism/ Berg responds to these commonplaces and others - that Bronte was a 'spontaneous' artist with no conscious understanding of what she was writing, that Nelly is an 'objective' reader, that Edgar Linton is entirely benevolent, that the second half of the novel is weak- with 'A Reading' that is at once commonsensical and theoretically complex. This lucidly argued and often original interpretation of Wuthering Heights rigorously analyses what many readers have failed to confront: the book's disturbing linkage of sex and violence. Berg performs this difficult task first by grounding the novel in its historical context- intriguing connections are made, for example, with accounts of wife abuse in the newspapers read by Bronte- and then by carefully invoking psychoanalytic theory, especially as it is used by Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous, and Eve Sedgwick. In these terms, the novel's paradigmatic image is Catherine's diary, written in the margins of revered patriarchal works, and its immediate coupling of textuality with female subjectivity anticipates the novel's continual collapsing of women into signs: for Lockwood, Catherine's text is a woman that he can...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 487-489
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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