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BOOK REVIEWS 107 regarding details of military history, including a reference to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1711 (x6), rather than 1648, and a reference to the non­ existent siege of Moscow during the Napoleonic Wars (188). Although these errors have little significance for Favret’s overall argument, they could be seen to limit the book’s potentially wide appeal to literary, cul­ tural and military historians. Nonetheless, this is a brilliant and sophisticated book. It offers a wonder­ fully comprehensive and innovative study that builds not only upon Favret’s own formative work on Romanticism and war, but also master­ fully condenses and reorients the growing body of work in the field that has appeared over the last fifteen years. The study offers a new direction in debates over the portrayal of suffering in Romantic era war literature by opening this into a broader concern with the forms of “subjective” feelings associated with responses to war (18). So, too, the study establishes reveal­ ing connections between the Romantic era and recent work on both our contemporary response to mediatized war and the cosmopolitan thought of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler. Perhaps the most exciting dimension, however, concerns Favret’s assertion that war is coming to displace revolu­ tion as a master theme of the Romantic era. In part echoing Reinhart Koselleck’s work on the “warlike heart ofrevolution” (38), her book helps to reorient Romantic criticism away from the abstract political discourses and ideological struggles of the French Revolution and its British counter­ revolution, to a concern with the brutality of revolutionary violence, im­ perial expansion, and national militarization. Neil Ramsey University of Western Sydney, Australia Diane Long Hoeveler. Gothic Riffs: Secularizing the Uncanny in the European Imaginary, 1780—1820. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010. Pp. xx+289. $57.95. This book marks an important stage in the necessary work of examining how the outpouring of gothic texts contributed to the process of secular­ ization over the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Grounding its analyses in Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, it brings a welcome new rigor to longstanding debates regarding the role of the gothic in mediating the anx­ ieties that arose in an era of cultural, political, and religious transition. Drawing on novels, popular plays, operas, ballads, fairy tales, and chap­ books produced in a network of mutual influences and adaptations across Britain, France, Italy, and the German-speaking territories, Gothic Riffs SiR, 51 (Spring 2012) 108 BOOK REVIEWS forcefully expands the literary and cultural reach of the gothic. The book makes a difference in several registers at once: it brings a strong rethinking ofsecularization to bear on the gothic while giving that new angle ofattack a vast space in which to work. As a result, it uniquely intervenes into how we understand the cultural transition operating in the period and thus makes a contribution that scholars in the relevant fields would do well to reckon with. Hoeveler follows Taylor by defining secularization not so much as the subtraction ofreligion from public space or the diminution of religious be­ liefs and practices but as a change in the largely invisible background of or­ dinary understanding. According to Taylor, the crucial shift toward a soci­ ety in which people could choose to value “human flourishing” without reference to transcendence took place over the eighteenth century, under the sway of “Providential Deism” that transformed a “porous” into a “buf­ fered” self, and was fostered by new cultural practices that shaped everyday experience. In a crucial contribution to this account, Hoeveler argues that this transition engendered what she calls “ambivalent secularization” char­ acterized by a “growing confusion that existed between the realms of rea­ son and faith” and an “uneasy coexistence of the immanent and the tran­ scendent” (5-6). “My argument,” she writes, “is that the gothic needs to be understood, not as a reaction against the rise ofsecularism, but as part of the ambivalent secularizing process itself” (6). By conceiving of the gothic in this way, she argues, one can also understand “the highly repetitive qual­ ity of the gothic,” what she calls its “riffs”: gothic cultural modes are “al­ most ritualistic in the ways they...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 107-110
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-19
Open Access
No
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