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gender issue that she regards as based on misreading or sheer misrepresentation, or otherwise flawed—sometimes, in Walter Hooper’s words, by readers ‘‘determined to use C. S. Lewis instead of receive from him’’ (quoted in Dance 6). Negative readings of Lewis’s character Jane Studdock, Hilder argues, often stem from both male and female critics’ own culture-based sexism. To Lewis’s accusers she feels a need to return at every opportunity. (Note, however, that even the most extreme antagonists frequently draw Hilder’s praise for their insights.) Perhaps less needful are the extensive quotations from like-thinking critics, sometimes strung together for more than a page, using their authority to bolster her position. A more positive way of viewing those citations is that she wants to give due credit to predecessors who helped develop her thinking. In any case, her own argument is strong enough to do without quite so much backup, and her study might have greater impact if presented in fewer than its 635 pages. Along the way, Hilder also adds to our general understanding of Lewis’s fiction with many interpretive insights not strictly related to the issue of gender. There are a few slips, however, both factual and interpretive—not many, but enough to warrant reading alertly. One of these needs mention, lest it prove misleading. She says more than once that Lewis believed in ‘‘the essentially masculine nature of angels’’ (Dance 173 n. 2; cf. 179 n. 27; Ethos 13), but Lewis explicitly denies it (as I read him) in the place referenced, where he uses the term ‘‘masculine’’ in a purely technical sense as one of the grammatical genders. Hilder also draws connections between Lewis’s feminist leanings and those of older writers such as George MacDonald, Spenser, Wordsworth, and, most often, Milton (who was the subject of her 1983 MA thesis). In the closing chapter of Surprised, ‘‘Eve’s Last, Best Word,’’ she finds in the last speech in Paradise Lost a ‘‘paradox’’ of feminine ‘‘surrender’’ joined with ‘‘life-giving . . . authority’’ that epitomizes Lewis’s stance as ‘‘a radical theological feminist’’ (157). Note 1. Owners of The C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia, especially librarians, are hereby asked to write in on p. 405 the name of Peter J. Schakel as author of the entry on Till We Have Faces. In a published letter (Mythlore 23.1 [Spring 2001]: 95) I tried to correct this error when the book first came out, but the point bears repeating. Charles A. Huttar Hope College The World of the Child in the Hebrew Bible. By Naomi Steinberg. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-907534-76-8. Pp. xxv + 146. $80.00 (list price). $40.00 (scholar’s price). Since Philippe Ariès controversially argued in Centuries of Childhood (1960) that not until the 17th century are children understood as anything other than miniature 268 Christianity & Literature 65(2) adults, scholars working in childhood studies have sought to understand the construction of the young across premodern cultures. The Word of the Child in the Hebrew Bible is an important part of this revisionist approach, as it determines how ancient Israel understood childhood and how it differed from adulthood. Steinberg utilizes linguistic analysis and narrative data to recognize childhood in ancient Israel as depicted in the Hebrew bible and Septuagint, and despite some limitations, her contribution enhances our understanding of the literary depiction and historical definition of Hebrew childhood. Many readers will be surprised by the book’s introduction, a lengthy, idiosyncratic discussion of how Steinberg spent her 2007 summer in Guatemala City. She details her experiences volunteering at a hogar (orphanage), and concludes not only that ‘‘the duality of life for all children did not necessarily conform to romantic myths’’ but also ‘‘that there are multiple understandings of childhood and [such] perspectives are often narrowly culture-bound’’ (xiii, xiv). Such conventional remarks continue throughout her first two chapters, ‘‘Children and Childhood as Categories of Analysis’’ and ‘‘What is a Child?’’ So much so that while some readers may find her literature review informative, most scholars in childhood studies will find this introduction a rehearsal of long-accepted ideas. However, such rudimentary overview...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 268-272
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-28
Open Access
No
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