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Reviews 337 “The Commentaries” focuses on Waters’writing. This section begins with T. N. Luther’s valuable bibliographic update and includes Stephen Wall on Waters’use of regionalism to portray universal themes; Alexander Blackburn’s stylistic analysis;Joe Gordon on Waters’fictional incorporation of his Colorado College experience; Charles Adams on Waters’ “deep ecology”; Thomas Lyon on academic biases affecting readers’responses to Waters; Win Blevins’tribute to The Man Who Killed theDeer, Quay Grigg on characters who mediate between individual and collective selves; Deloria’s celebration of Waters as prophet and explorer in his religious/historical books; PeterJ. Powell on Waters’identifica­ tion of the Holy in the people and the land; Bobby Bridger on Waters’ quest into the meaning of becoming indigenous in North America; Will Wright on Waters’ dramatization of the implications of Indian cultures. The volume con­ cludes with Larry Evers’ edited transcript of a 1978 dialogue on Pueblo living between Waters and University of Arizona students and faculty. Vine Deloria,Jr.'sFrank Waters:Man and Mysticenriches our understanding of a writer whose books, as Eastlake asserts, “will conquer the next, approaching century with ease.”The biographical and critical insights here will alleviate the dearth of resources plaguing earlier Waters scholars. FRANCES M. MALPEZZI Arkansas State University The Steinbeck Question: NewEssays in Criticism. Edited by Donald R. Noble. (Troy, New York: The Whitston Publishing Company, 1993. 278 pages, $29.50.) The Steinbeck Question proposes an interrogative as a unifying theme: why has John Steinbeck never been fully accepted by the critics, the liberals, the conservatives, or the anthologists? For the reader, another question emerges: did Donald Noble formulate the question and invite seventeen responses, or did he recruit the essays and then look for a title which would bind them? It’s not at all clear. What is clear is that this is not a work of apologetics designed to enhance Steinbeck’s reputation. Once beyond Jackson Benson’s opening, candid, and persuasive setting of a context for the historical, literary, and political “discon­ tent”with Steinbeck, one seldom finds “the question”raised. With a few remark­ able exceptions, the essays focus on Steinbeck’s least admired novels and his non-fiction prose. The work of Dennis Prindle is typical. He expresses regret that critics have emphasized Steinbeck’s biological vision, but he draws those regrets from Philip Rahv’s 1957 essay, not his own new ideas. Three studies analyze Steinbeck’s “misrepresentation of women,” but only Mimi Gladstein acknowl­ edges Steinbeck’s avowed insecurity “about his ability to understand a woman’s 338 WesternAmerican Literature motivations or viewpoint.” Several writers attempt analysis conducted through theological perspectives, and others present material widely discussed twentyfive years ago as if it werejust recently discovered. There are significant essays in this collection, however. H. R. Stoneback’s study, “Woody Guthrie,John Steinbeck, and Folksong,”is alone worth the price ofthe book. On the other side of the question, Louis Owens’analysis of the two best known non-fiction prose works, The LogFrom The Sea of Cortez and Travels With Charlie, demonstrates that Travelsdid not continue the pattern which gave The Log its power. As always, Owens’ perceptions are significant. Robert Morsberger has arguably the best study of Steinbeck’sWWII works, and he believes The Moon IsDown to be “the best novel about the war written during the war.” The final essay needed editorial direction. Had John Timmerman taken a positive approach in showing how Steinbeck learned to “rearrange experience to ‘establish a relation of meaning’” rather than seeing his task as defending Steinbeck against the charges of imitation and plagiarism, it would have pro­ vided unity for the volume. As it is, readers will have to look diligently, and often without success, to discover the implied answers to “the Steinbeck question.” ROBERT M. BENTON Central Washington University A New Study Guide To Steinbeck’s Major Works, With CriticalExplications. Edited by Tetsumaro Hayashi. (Metuchen, NewJersey: Scarecrow Press, 1993. 298 pages, $35.00.) Twenty years after he edited A Study Guide To Steinbeck, Tetsumaro Hayashi is back again with “a new generation of active Steinbeck teacher-scholars” to revisit the major works. Written primarily for the college classroom, each essay includes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 337-338
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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