restricted access Matched Pairs: Gender and Intertextual Dialogue in Eighteenth-Century Fiction by Joseph F. Bartolomeo (review)
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171 By defining the Swiftian signature in denotative intellectualterms,however,thecritic loses the visceral Swift. All of the book’s discussion of savages and the poor is from the standpoint of the European cultured class. A Swiftian dimension is missing. How the savages and the poor feel in return or even a sense of commiseration is no part of this book. Mr. Rawson makes no excuses for holding to the rulers’ perspective. Every control from that elitist point of view is a mind game up to and including mass extermination that looks unfeelingly on the laboring, beggarly, or idle poor as a mercantile commodity. Mr. Rawson’s book is itself an intellectual exercise and a fully documented one. Even if Swift’s layered meanings in the Travels turn out to be velleities, that is, mild wishes without action, on mass extermination of Irish savages, and even if he sends indefatigable researchers like Mr. Rawson rummaging among the satirist’s literary and travel sources for Yahoohood, Swift deserves the last word. Swift composed his own signature on his epitaph. It is about the feeling disposition and temper and not the mind, about freedom and not colonial power. He is buried ‘‘where savage indignation can no more lacerate his heart. Go, traveler, and imitate if you can one who strove with all his might to champion liberty.’’Heart triumphs over mind in this last word. In his 1985 biography of Swift, David Nokes notes the Roman courage, daring, and challenge to the rest of mankind to match him. The nonintellectual connotationsof savage inthisfeelingepitaphincludewild,fierce, furiously angry, unsparing in speech, indomitable, and valiant. As for indignation it implies righteous anger and contempt at what is unworthy or wrongful, includingmeanness , injustice, and wickedness. In passing, Mr. Rawson discusses Swift’s black humor. The proud, feeling, and challenging epitaph exactly coincides with Andrè Breton’s notion that Swift initiated black humor, which Breton defines as a savage, funereal jest. Liketheepitaph, black humorsuggestsempathyfor,andidentitywith,thedowntrodden. Kenneth Craven New York JOSEPH F. BARTOLOMEO. Matched Pairs: Gender and Intertextual Dialogue in Eighteenth -Century Fiction. Newark: Delaware, 2002. Pp. viii ⫹ 242. $44.50. At first glance, this book, which is admittedly influenced by Ann Messenger’s His and Hers (1986), may conjure up images of monogrammed towels or jammies. Mr. Bartolomeo’s comparative approach across gender lines is, however, nogimmick.Rather , it is in the same spirit as his previous book, A New Species of Criticism, which argues that dialogue among and between authors and critics reflects inconsistencies that constantly remake the novel. In Matched Pairs, Mr. Bartolomeo links eighteenth-century women novelists to their male counterparts. He attempts nothing less than to give the coup de grace to feminocentric approaches to the canon. To this end, he reconsidersthecontributionoffemale writers by examining cross-gender critical discourse and carefully reading complementary texts. These are set against the historical and cultural circumstancesthathelped produce them. Mr. Bartolomeo considers gender and genre by comparing David Simple with Joseph Andrews, The Female Quixote with Clarissa, and Evelina with Roderick 172 Random. He illuminates the frequently explored connections between The Italian and The Monk, problematizing attempts to categorize Gothic fiction as Male or Female Gothic. As the comparison between Radcliffe and Lewis may suggest, Mr. Bartolomeo is at his most convincing when he focuses on influence. Thus, his argument that Eliza Haywood ’s Idalia influenced Daniel Defoe’s Roxana is compelling. More important, however , than the comparative intertextual examination of early male and female novelists is Mr. Bartolomeo’s argument against essentialism. Applauding (at the same time that he contributes to) efforts to uncover forgotten women writers, Mr. Bartolomeo nonetheless argues against excluding men, and against a separate female tradition in literature . Since the mid 1980s women novelists have, of course, been the focus of much critical attention in the interest of arriving at a more balanced assessment of the rise of the novel. Mr. Bartolomeo suggests that while the recent exclusive concentration onfemale novelists may have been necessary to counteract their previous exclusion from the canon, this limited focus provides a skewed view of literary history, replicating ‘‘essentializing tendencies that feminist critics themselves generally deplore.’’ If Mr. Bartolomeo attempts to debunk the essentialist argument...