In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

young “George Moore,” looking at the image in the eyes of a young woman, who looks at herself suddenly with the eyes of her lover. Grubgeld, with her relish for complexities, points out that the narrator, amused and objectifying, is like the reader: both can watch, neither can be seen; both can enjoy, neither can be touched. But voyeurism for “George Moore” is no shameful perversity; it is the highest form of sex. To the inveterate autobiographer, self-watching is story-telling; and story-telling is self-making. If George Moore and the Autogenous Self has a weak point—and of course, every reader will quibble page-by-page, as with any original book—I suppose one could say that Grubgeld writes best of least-written-about texts—“texts” in the broad sense; some of the best things are about gossip, frontispieces, dedications, and other manifestations of the author-function— and least well of most-written-about texts, such as that great but wearisome novel Esther Waters. On the whole, however, this is an excellent example of literary criticism. It appears to have been the ambition of its author not to write the last word on George Moore, but a book that would beget yet other books, by illustrating how stimulating an author Moore is, given the variety of genres in which he worked and the complexities of his authorial personality, as stimulating indeed as the most famous novelists of the period. If there are other studies of Moore forthcoming—and Moore à la Lacan should be on its way—they have here a high standard to meet. —Adrian Frazier Learning the Trade: Essays on W. B. Yeats and Contemporary Poetry, ed. by Deborah Fleming, pp. 313, West Cornwall, CT: Locust Hill Press, 1993, $32.00. According to the historian Joseph Lee, Irish economic performance has been “the least impressive in Western Europe . . . in the 20th century.” The same country overXows with poets of the Wrst rank. Is there a relationship between these facts? If so, what is it? Yeats would have seen the Xowering of poetry after him as a vindication of his belief that Ireland’s escape from industrialism and materialism made it fertile ground for poetry. It was this Yeatsian doctrine that was espoused by F. R. Higgins when, in a famous BBC exchange with Louis MacNeice, he maintained that Irish poets beneWted from “the spiritual buoyancy of a belief in something . . . [,] a belief emanating from life, from nature, from revealed religion, and from the nation.” Is this so? Is it true, as Heaney puts the question, that “poetry might have a desirable . . . relation to the life of a nation . . .”? Heaney suggests that Paul Muldoon’s reprinting of the Higgins-MacNeice exchange in his Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry implies that answering the question in the aYrmative BOOK REVIEWS 189 “is at best to commit a literary oVense, at worst to promote dubious mystiques involving race memory and the chosen-people complex.” Nonetheless, Heaney concedes that “however neatly we want a verdict against hazy romantic notions about the poet’s bardic relation to his inheritance,” the “troublesome complexities” of “the solidarities and antagonisms of politics” keep “nagging at MacNeice and Muldoon ”—as they do at Heaney himself and at every Irish poet. The reader looks to Learning the Trade for some explication of these heart mysteries, both because the volume takes its title from Yeats’s injunction to “Irish poets,” and because Yeats was, as Heaney observes in The Field Day Anthology, “the preeminent theorist, visionary and exemplar of a literature based on the category of nationality.” Paul Muldoon’s sparring with Yeats on these issues in “7, Middagh Street” is the subject of the volume’s thoughtful opening essay by Jonathan Allison. Muldoon ’s poem consists of seven monologues by various residents of an artistic colony in Brooklyn Heights in 1940–41. Perhaps liberated by his own relocation to the United States, Muldoon invokes the voice of W. H. Auden, one of the monologists , to argue for a cutting of the cord between Yeats and Irish nationality. Taking aim at Yeats’s doctrine that all art is a “rooting of mythology in the earth,” Muldoon ’s...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 189-192
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.