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Reviews 339 authorized Steinbeck biography, this new volume dramatically reveals how completely the mantle has been passed from Peter Lisca to Benson. Every critic in A New Study Guideused Benson’s material, many with three to eight specific references. In some cases the study guide apparatus weakens the presentation, as in the beginning essay on America and the Americans in which the first sentence in several plot synopsis chapters is repeated verbatim in the corresponding section of explication, or as in the discussion of Cannery Row in which non-narrative chapters are called intercalary and equated with those in The GrapesofWrath. Of more regret is the misunderstanding of the concept of “breaking through,”but the essay’s discussion questions arejewels. The really sparkling contributions come from Louis Owens, who presents East ofEden as “a novel about its own creation”and who reveals Steinbeck’s “key to how we should read” the novel. In this essay, as well as in his study of The Grapes of Wrath, Owens demonstrates the best in critical analysis as he carefully leads the reader to new levels of insight, covering major critical viewpoints with an ease that is the premier example ofHayashi’sconcept of the teacher-scholar. A similar result can be found in Helen Lojek’s analysis of In Dubious Battle. Although she breaks no new ground, she brings together the major aspects of the book in a voice that reveals her own ability as a story teller. Barbara Heavilin also makes a valuable contribution in her analysis ofthe writing style revealed in Travels With Charlie, one which will delight rhetoricians. Editor Hayashi closes the volume with his own essay on “The Art and Craft” ofSteinbeck. Using Steinbeck’smany statements about his own writing, Hayashi appropriately presents an opportunity for reflection on Steinbeck’s achieve­ ments as Hayashi, himself, retires from a distinguished academic career and quickly moves into new challenges. ROBERT M. BENTON Central Washington University CriticalEssays on Robert Bly. Edited by William V. Davis. (New York: G. K. Hall, 1992. 304 pages, $40.00.) This volume of the Critical Essays series offers reasonably complete cover­ age of the author’s literary efforts. The “Preliminaries” section includes four brief biographically focused selections by such notables as Louis Simpson and Donald Hall. Eighteen reviews of Bly’s works are followed by twelve essays. The volume concludes with three selections grouped under the heading “Overviews and Conclusions.” The reviews treat Bly’s poetic career roughly chronologically. Typical ofthe values most reviewers see in Bly’s poems is the statement in Richard Howard’s review of Silencein theSnowyFieldsthat Blyconfers “upon even the simplestwords 340 WesternAmerican Literature a weight and consequence of new things.” Michael Heffernan finds The Teeth MotherNaked at Last to be “uncompromising,” “frequently unbearable”because of Bly’s insistence on writing a “nightmare poem” about the “barbarities of American wars.”Joyce Carol Oates, in her review of the same volume, calls Bly “intellectual and relentlessly emotional.” Several reviewers identify Jungian influences in Bly’s poems. For instance, Stephen Kuusito, in his review of Iron John, calls Bly a “popularizer of archetypal psychology,”whose heroic archetype “restores men to the center of the cosmological drama.” The longer essays present, quite naturally, a broader and deeper examina­ tion of Bly’s work, both poetry and prose. Their attention ranges from the earlier capturing of the essence of particular landscapes (through “deep im­ ages”), to Jungian shadows on the 1970s political landscape, to the Jungian “soul-making”in IronJohn. The volume closes with a short excerpt from Richard Sugg’s Robert Bly in which Sugg places Bly “squarely within the American Romantic tradition”and identifies Bly’s ultimate importance as, through Bly’s own “psychic journey,” redefining theAmerican poet. The composite of all selections is appropriately represented by Sugg’s finaljudgment that Bly’s “ultimate achievement... is in awakening, even inspiring, his audience with a sense of human community.” All this is a heavy burden for one literary artist to carry. However, the selections in this volume convince the reader that Robert Bly manages that burden very well. JAMES R. SAUCERMAN Northwest Missouri State University Mark Twain: Protagonist for the Popular Culture. By Marlene Boyd Vallin. (Westport...


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pp. 339-340
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