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TANQUAM EXPLORATOR 171 Blissett chiefly notices the degree to which it illustrates 'the art of the antimasque .' By this view, Jonson implicitly invited that first audience of King and courtiers to serve as the triumphing masque proper. Where Blissett, in the context of a single play, sets gross reality over against perfect regal control, Eugene Waith considers Jonson's management of real and ideal in two plays and two masques of the years 1616-26. He shows that, whereas the demonstration of larger idea is hampered, in The Devil is an Ass and The Staple of News, by traditional English staging, the conventionally spectacular staging of masques such as The Vision of Delight and (especially) Time Vindicated is well suited to the effective counterpoint of 'things as they are and the world of absolutes.' The volume concludes with a compelling overview of Jonson's achievement by E.B. Partridge, who draws primarily on the non-dramatic verse to illustrate several, but chiefly two, 'exemplary Jonsons.' There is the empiricist, whose attentive regard for facts reaches on to a faith that comprehends 'the full consequence of things.' And there is the celebrator of heroes (who also castigates fools), arranging the Epigramrnes , as masque contains and counters antimasque, to balance 'a judicious sense of the way things are' with 'a pious faith in human life as good men live it.' At length , it is 'the complex heroism of the writer' that Jonson especially celebrates; the salient mark of that heroism is the poet's capacity to confer 'life, and authority' on his invention by the imaginative transmutation of significant fact and detail drawn from the cultural history of mankind. So things as they are, after all, touch and combine with the world of absolutes. Each of the essays here collected sheds new light on Ben Jonson's art; each also invites us to discover onward things more remote from our present knowledge. (HUGH MACLEAN) THE IMAGINATION OF MAURICE BARRES This is a sensitive book, of which .the starting point could well be a quotation drawn not from Banes himself but from a philosopher whom Banes admired: 'il fait voir dans I'imagination non pas une simple ouvriere de fictions, mais la revelation de l'ideal' (83). The author's purpose is indeed to show at work in Barres the transforming power of the imagination as applied to various domains and contexts, and to illustrate the techniques by which realities are turned by Barres into overriding myths. Mr Guston comes as near as anybody so far, not to explaining away the eternal and irreconcilable contradictions of Barres, but at least to relating them to some basic underlying urges. In the last analysis any attempt to 'explain' Barres does seem to come down to what Mr Guston aptly calls 'the simultaneous, or alternating, attractions of wild instinct and intellectual discipline' (4). To that extent, the book achieves its basic purpose. But it will inevitably disappoint a reader, or researcher, who is concerned with Barres mainly as a novelist, or as a philosopher, or as a politician. From the superior viewpoint ('superior' in its literal sense) adopted by Mr Guston, it is difficult for the reader Philip Duston, The Imagination of Maurice Ba"es. University ofToronto Press, Universityof Toronto Romance Series 26, 1974. Pp xviii, )10. $16.50 172 j.S. WOOD to fonn a clear notion of a terrestrial Barres. Any discussion of BalTes's political activities, for example, or of his novelistic production, is allusive. Clearly in the case of Barres it is impossible to separate the man into compartments; but if the 'imagination' ofBarres is being discussed, surely the mixture of fact and fiction in Barres's novels-after all a major part of his work - which makes them unreadable as novels and unreliable as histories, could be examined in detail, rather than passed over incidentally (for example, P 49). Similarly, the political historian might have preferred more on Barres's thinking in respect of Boulanger and Dreyfus. In avoiding superficial interpretations, Mr Guston has become perhaps a little too olympian. One must however admit that a complete Barres in 300 pages is probably a task beyond human capability. Mr Guston's...


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pp. 171-172
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