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Reviews 343 various ways gender is inscribed in stories ofwomen’s captivities. The desirable next step would be to explain how these gender inscriptions served developing cultural needs and beliefs; however, a careful critical analysis of the cultural work performed by the stories is precisely what Namias’book fails to sustain. The vast array ofcaptivitymaterials Namias assembles for review—historical narratives, fictions, paintings, sculpture, dime novels, parlor book fables and illustrations—is at once the book’s greatest contribution and the source of its greatest difficulty. The sheer volume of material she tries to cover leads her often into inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and finally undermines her efforts to organize and control her material in order to develop a coherent argument. White Captives is nevertheless the first book to investigate captivity materials through the lens of contemporary race and gender studies and accompanying re-visions of American cultural history. I wish Namias had organized her mate­ rial in a more orderly and efficient way: I wish she had sustained a coherent version of the argument that pops up erratically throughout the book. The fact that she promises more than she delivers is a disappointment; her book does, though, point the waytoward more thorough investigations of race and gender in captivity materials, investigations to which it also will no doubt contribute. REBECCA BLEVINS FAERY Harvard University DarkMatter. ByChristopher Buckley. (Providence, Rhode Island: Copper Beech Press, 1993. 64 pages, $9.95.) Jacaranda and palmetto. Eucalyptus and bougainvillaea. Mastodons graz­ ing in Central Park, recalled after one hundred thousand years. The perseid shower over Wyoming. Crab nebulae. A caucus of dust . . . arriving on the shirttails of a comet. The flotsam ofnature’sfirstwreck. Stars the Chinese knew as little lamps. Stellar dust. The softened gloss of the past. Edges bright with the humming and singing of atoms. A spin through the galactic plasma. . . . Buckley’s language of earth, sky, and galaxies is luxurious. Full of light are his words, his lines. Gifted with the imagery of wonder and stellar time/places, Buckley’s is an invitation to join him in the starry night, to watch the reel of constellations as his acute eye greets them. At the same time, his intense humanness, a companion sensuality (“the white and floating hearts of saints”), revisits his black/white childhood of nuns and the denial of a child’s awakening, except, of course, what he could gather from the glittering dust of another galaxy beyond the stained glass. Buckley’s is dialogue in the cold dark sky, with eyes upward, where we may transcend all that has nearly been lost in this time and place. It is a collection I will read again and again. MARGARET PETTIS Hyrum, Utah ...


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