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262 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 Gardeners Dictionary (1759) or that amateur botanists read Linnaeus in the popular form of the Introduction to Botany (1760) by the Fulham nurseryman , James Lee. The consequence of these lacunae is that the history of botany and nurseries in Early Canadian Gardening is very hit and miss, scrambling back and forth across the centuries in a way that is confusing, especially about the dates of plant introduction. In her third chapter, 'Horticulture in the Nineteenth Century,' for example, we find that this was 'a period of cultural transition between the eighteenth century's Age of Reason and the extravagant Victorian epoch.' Where these generalizations are not meanmgless they are laughable. The early nineteenth century, as Ann Shteir has pointed out in her book Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science (1996), was precisely the period in whichwomen staked aclaim to botanical knowledge. Itwasthe age that produced Catharine ParrTraill, for example. Moreover it was the period in which (in gardens) the transformation was not from reason to extravagance, butfrom the cult of the picturesque to that of the gardensque, exemplified by John Claudius Loudon and his wife, Jane. If anything gave rise to the interest inindividual plants it was the specimen-bed planting that Loudon encouraged. McGill-Queen's has notbeen generous with its copy-editing of this book. Not only is the style and annotation stilted and awkward but there are many mistakes and obscurities that could easily have been corrected or clarified. That is a pity, for the essential work of annotating and explaining Custead's work was and is worth doing. (DOUGLAS CHAMBERS) David A. Kent and P.G. Stanwood, editors. Selected Prose a/Christina Rossetti St Martin's Press. xii, 40 4. us $49.95 Selected Prose ofChristina Rossetti is an important and usefulbook that places in readers' hands a judicious selection of this major Victorian poet's neglected prose works. The editors' introduction offers an informed and often illuminating overview of Rossetti's lifelong interest in prose writing; headnotes to each selection helpfully situate the selected work within Rossetti's career, summarizing where applicable Victorian and contemporary critical reception. Textual apparatus is kept to a minimum: its strengths are the inclusion of substantive variants from the manuscript versions of Maude, Seek and Find, and Letter and Spirit, and of Rossetti's own marginal comments on Time Flies. Not included are some very interesting variants in 'Pros and Cons' - the Commonplace version tones down the more politically charged diction of the earlier Churchman's Shilling Magazine publication. The index is less detailed than one would hope (more elaboration under the 'Themes and Images' heading would make this volume more valuable to the reader), but the selected bibliography is thorough. HUMANITIES 263 This edition separates Rossetti's prose works into three sections: 'Part 1. Fiction' includes full reprints of three longer works, the early novella Maude (1850), a female Kunstlerroman whose adolescent eponymous heroine is, like Rossetti herself, a High Church Anglican and a poet; Commonplace, a tale in the'Austen vein' and the title piece of Rossetti's 1870 collection of fiction; and Speaking Likenesses (1874), three linked tales in the 'Alice style' of Lewis Carroll, aimed at a younger audience and reproducedhere with the original Arthur Hughes illustrations. The text of Maude is based on the manuscript in the Huntington Library. Selected Prose thus makes readily available the authoritative version of Maude, a text vastly superior to the English edition (London: James Bowden, 1897) which is 'much abridged,' 'omits many of the poems,' and also collapses Rossetti's carefully constructed triadic structures; this unsatisfactory English edition is unfortunately reprinted in the very popular classroom anthology Rossetti's Poems and Prose (Everyman ). Also included .are the practically inaccessible brief narratives of Rossetti's elder sister Maria's charity work, 'True in the Main: Two Sketches,' published in the SPCK periodical The Dawn of Day. One can always wish for more in a selected volume, and in this instance the fairy tale LHero' with its extraordinary treatment ofdesire, commodification, and economy, and the social!religious commentaryof'A SafeInvestment' with its apocalyptic economics might well be wished for among the selections from Commonplace, and Other Short Stories...


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