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Book Reviews 155 Overall, Bassard's study is precise in its analysis, insightful in its readings of layered texts, and rigorous in its consideration of scholarship on these early black women writers and African American literary theory more widely. Its value lies not only in its scholarship on black women's writing of the pre-Emancipation period, but also in its challenge of African American studies to reframe its work within a diasporic context. Teresa Zackodnik University ofAlberta Kris Bulcroft, Linda Smeins and Richard Bulcroft. Romancing the Honeymoon : Consummating Marriage in Modern Society. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1999. Pp. xxvii + 229 Structuralism and even more so post-structuralism has led the scholar of all disciplinary stripes to places and rituals once considered insignificant or unworthy of serious critique. Under the pejorative term, populist, those spaces of intersection between ideology and ordinary practice, and the production and consumption of culture have been overlooked. Nuptials and particularly the honeymoon exemplify this type of illuminating site. Irrespective of ethno-social origin or status, the marriage rituals receive a relatively formidable investment of money, time and of collective plus individual identity. The honeymoon has attained greatest significance since the late modern era by virtue of the commercial and transportation opportunities produced by industrialization. And with the decline of conventional religious practice, the honeymoon has attracted inordinate attention both for its statement of social transformation and for its sanctification of conspicuous consumption; in a word it represents secondary ritual become primary fetish. This book also demonstrates the exponential growth in knowledge facilitated by interdisciplinary research. In this instance a trans-disciplinary theme is problematized as a cross-disciplinary investigation yielding a multidisciplinary thesis. The thesis-that the honeymoon is an institution under growth rather than decline-may at first sight seem self-evident. But the multiple perspectives synthesized by the three authors unpack the layers of 156 Canadian Review ofAmerican Studies Revue canadienne a'etudes americaines social practice and cultural signification attaching to the honeymoon. Their collaboration effectively surmounts the artificial barriers in analytical procedure constructed in the disciplinary process. Sociology tends to assert an interpretative authority generally assumed in the apparently empirical reporting of the Life Sciences, while Art History has always resided in a liminal space between the social operation and aesthetized commodification of art. Each has its inherent, and usually exclusionary strategies, which diminish their respective validity as comprehensive modes of knowing. By collaborating , they have retrieved the complex contingencies of experience, especially when ceremonial in nature. Ceremony is always about physical and material as well as personal and social environment. The often utterly dreadful kitsch that people of almost all ranks of society endure in the processes of "splicing" their own or kins' lives can achieve attain a real significance in the inscription of self or group identity. The perfect example appears as figure 7.6, namely the champagne glass jacuzzi at Caesars Cove Haven. Given the purpose of the honeymoon, traditionally preceded in many Western societies by bedding, why on earth go through the gymnastics required (like the boy but beautifully con? pair seated uncertainly in the receptacle) to sit in very close proximity in cooling water high off the comfortable horizontal? The text orchestrates our arrival at that point of heightened aesthetized and commodified eroticism by way of a well organized ritual of research. We learn about the historical antecedents of the honeymoon, of its epistemological ancestry and its modernization. We are also apprised of the theoretical and methodological machinery to be deployed by the authorial team: essentially a mixture of qualitative and moderately deconstructionist approaches. The four then turn along the present lines of post-structuralist discourse to the public face of the honeymoon . The account embraces the authors' observation, the historical record, narratives of journalistic and populist writing as well as the sociological literature. The direction of their gaze thereafter tracks towards those factors that have predominated since the honeymoon has been increasingly detached from dynastiC policing and the religious component of marriage. Thus attention moves from the social dimension-the setting, cast of characters, and staging-to the expectation and experience of the newly-wedding from both sides of the 49th Parallel. Prominence is also given...


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