REVIEWS 117 GARRISON,JOHN S., AND KYLE PIVETTI. Sexuality and Memory in Early Modern England: Literature and the Erotics of Recollection. New York and London: Routledge (Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture, 28), 2016. 272 pp. £90.00. ISBN 978–1–138–84438–4. This collection of 16 essays pursues several interrelated questions as a response to calls such as those by Carla Freccero in 2011 for queer theory to turn its attention more fully to the interrelations of desire and subjectivity as these intersect with ‘politics, sex, community, living, and dying’. Sexuality and Memory in Early Modern England asks how sex is understood as a thing of the past. How are erotic encounters remembered, and how does remembering itself become erotic? Each of the essays thus takes as its starting point that discursive representations of sex acts recreate and imagine the body as it is subordinated to those contexts which give it meaning. The majority of the essays are about Shakespeare, Spenser and Middleton, although Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, George Peele and Michael Drayton are also considered. The col- lection is divided into three sections. The ﬁrst, ‘Legacies of Desire’, addresses the ‘unhistorical’ spectre of desire, and asks what it means for queer historiography that remembering ‘inevita- bly brings the past to the present, treating it as an object of desire’ (p. 7) . The focus of the essays in the second section, ‘Bodies, Remember’, is the body as a site of personal and collec- tive memory, a subject and object which can be both sexual and national. The third and ﬁnal section of the collection, ‘Intimate Refusals’, explores the possibilities of forgetting as alterna- tively memorialization, deception and transformation. Queer theorists and early modernists who have followed the ﬁeld’s resurgent interest in the cultural poetics of memory will ﬁnd much to build on in these thoughtful studies. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx052] GIBSON,RICHARD HUGHES. Forgiveness in Victorian Literature: Grammar, Narrative, and Community. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic (New Directions in Religion and Literature), 2016. 184 pp. £28.99. ISBN 978–1–350–00375–0. This work offers an insightful look at notions of forgiveness across Victorian texts from ﬁve authors: Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde. Gibson opens his work with a series of engaging questions – such as ‘Must one always forgive?’ – which probe the key issues that forgiveness raised for Victorians. He presents a useful examination of the relationship between narrative and forgiveness, demonstrating how forgiveness demands a narrative con- struct and how forgiveness ‘congregates’ at the conclusions of Victorian narratives. Further, in exploring forgiveness and community, he analyses links between forgiveness, freedom and agency in the public sphere, as well as the ability of forgiveness to restore broken communi- ties. Following the introduction, the study is divided into three chapters. The ﬁrst focuses on Charles Dickens and the limits of forgiveness (in erasing the past, as well as in the divide between forgiveness and the socially imaginable, for example), and his views on earning moral redemption, with transgression as a debt to be repaid; it analyses Dickens’s writing in 1846, including The Life of Our Lord, plans for a house for ‘fallen’ women, The Battle of Life and Dombey and Son. The second chapter concentrates on Anthony Trollope and George Eliot, particularly The Vicar of Bullhampton and Adam Bede, and their representation of the consequences of transgression and forgiveness in communal contexts, and of forgiveness in contexts outside of traditional Christian practice. The third and ﬁnal chapter turns to for- giveness in the 1890s, with Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis,as a counterpoint, to examine how the language of forgiveness evolves through Hardy’s attack on and preoccupation with forgiveness, and Wilde’s endorsement of forgiveness that empha- sizes dialogue between religion and literature. This work is well balanced, wide ranging and accessible; it would be of interest to students and scholars of Victorian literature and theology alike. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx053] HARTUNG,HEIKE. Ageing, Gender, and Illness in Anglophone Literature: Narrating Age in the Bildungsroman. New York and London: Routledge (Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature, 59), 2016. 252 pp. £90.00. ISBN 978–1–138–85850–3. The title of this work immediately signals its ambitiousness. Its focus is not solely on old age but on the processes of ageing, and, speciﬁcally, on ageing’s intersection with gender and illness, both of which constitute extensive ‘subjects’ in themselves. In addition, Heike Hartung remarks that the Bildungsroman, the textual object of study here, comprises three opposing categorizations under its aegis, all of which are discussed: ‘ﬁrst, the German set against the [English] (or European) version; second, the eigh- teenth- set against the nineteenth-century novel; and third, the male set against the female vari- ant’ (p. 84). Hartung begins her study by noting the cultural lacunae surrounding Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fmls/article-abstract/54/1/117/4798976 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
Forum for Modern Language Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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