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HUMANiTIES 397 real literature in their own right - the early letters to the Reynoldses, some to Robert Balmanno, and the later letters to Philip De Franck, Jane Reynolds Hood, Charles Dilke, and William and Georgiana Elliot. They do not change, but they expand appreciably, our knowledge of the joking, teasing, charming Hood. It would be difficult to exaggerate the ingenuity and resourcefulness which Professor Morgan has shown in discovering unpublished letters and in locating the manuscripts of those partially published. He has been an extraordinarily successful researcher in exploring all possible sources. He has uncovered 213 entirely new letters, some of which are lengthy and valuable documents. And this number does not include the host of additions to letters previously published in part. Although the introduction to so large a volume might perhaps have been more extensive and detailed in interpreting the facets of Hood's character and the personalities of his relatives and closest friends, it achieves its basic purposes quite helpfully in sketching the outline of Hood's biography, in reviewing the development of his three-fold achievement from the early Keatsian poetry of the twenties through the comic work of the thirties to the humanitarian verse of the forties, in orienting the reader to Hood's major correspondents, and in revealing how this edition enlarges earlier work on Hood. The letters are edited carefully and accurately, though Professor Morgan stops short of the practices of some recent American editors who have included cancelled passages. The advantage of omitting cancellations in preventing impediments to the reader's smooth progress probably over-balances the small disadvantage of losing the complete account of the manuscript. The footnotes are admirably managed: obscurities are clarified without any excessive annotation. In general the book is handsomely printed, though the ragged right-hand margin, presumably required by the need of economy, mars the total effect a little. The review of so fine an achievement, however, must not close with mechanical matters. The book is a vital contribution to Romantic and Victorian studies. ( LEONIDAS M. JONES) Joseph Gold, Charles Dickens: Radical Moralist. University of Minnesota Press 1972, pp. ?, $9.50 Of all the critical works on Dickens published during the last decade, this is probably one of those that would have pleased him most as being a fair assessment of what he was trying to achieve in his novels. For throughout his book, Professor Gold emphasizes Dickens's Christian humanism. 398 LEITERS IN CANADA He sees the novelist as a reformer and moralist whose creative vision was that of a 'world built on love and wisdom' as well as being also 'a vision of whole, redeemed individuals.' Now, what is refreshing and timely is that this emphasis is in effect a return to the view of Dickens' fiction held by his contemporaries, and more importantly, by Dickens himself. Because of this, it is a book that is unlikely to be ignored, and Professor Gold is to be thanked for publishing in Canada. The partial proof that Gold's emphasis on Dickens as a reformer and moralist is a return to the correct one is that it frequently illuminates the novels in a way that, for me at least, the more single-visioned Marxists, Freudians, Excrementalists, and other whole-hoggers have never done much as we do owe to them. But the most significant evidence that Dickens did indeed see himself as a sort of radical moralist is to be found in the newly-identified literary review of the poet Leigh Hunt. Interested readers may refer to my essay in the Dickens Studies Newsletter (September 1972) for the full argument of my ascription of almost a dozen reviews of Dickens' fiction. The point is that I have been able to evidence that Dickens himself greatly valued these reviews of Hunt's as they came out. Clearly he concurred with the poet in seeing himself as one inculcating 'the belief in goodness and beauty,' bringing 'reforms into the Augean stables of mercenary schools and prisons and workhouses,' and showing 'a zeal for the social and political welfare of his fellow-creatures.' Indeed, the greatest compliment he could have received about The Chimes must have come from Hunt...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 397-399
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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