REVIEWS 119 Following the foreword, Ibell breaks down Williams’s biography into six sections – begin- ning with reﬂections on his early life, and then ﬁve chapters which look at the decades of professional writing from the 1940s up until the 1980s (Williams died in 1983). It concludes with a fascinating overview of the afterlife of Williams’s work – ranging from a 1992 episode of The Simpsons to ballet. The volume is richly illustrated with thirty-two photographs. The images of Williams’s fam- ily are particularly fascinating, and the combination of modern production images with Ibell’s relation of the respective work’s composition highlights the continuing popularity of the au- thor’s works on the stage. This volume will undoubtedly be of interest to many readers and is a useful guide to a fascinating ﬁgure of American literature who created some of the best-loved and most-revived plays of the twentieth-century dramatic canon. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx057] KENDAL,GORDON. George Chapman Homer’s ‘Odyssey’. Cambridge: MHRA (MHRA Tudor & Stuart Translations, 21), 2016. 515 pp. £35.00 /$45.00 / e42.00. ISBN 978–1–78188–121–7. This edi- tion of George Chapman’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey is a new addition to the exemplary MHRA Tudor & Stuart Translations series. The aim of this series, as set out by the General Editors Andrew Hadﬁeld and Neil Rhodes in their foreword, is ‘to create a representative li- brary of works translated into English during the early modern period for the use of scholars, students and the wider public’ (p. viii). This inclusive and accessible approach to Renaissance translations could therefore vastly increase the number of people reading, studying and appre- ciating what, for most readers, have been regarded as difﬁcult and/or obscure works. Although editions of Homer’s Odyssey can be easily acquired in a variety of formats, Kendal notes the scarcity of modern editions of Chapman’s translation. Although Wordsworth Classics produced an edition recently, it is based on ‘modernized’ spelling from Richard Hooper’s 1857 edition, so a new, modernized edition with substantial critical and editorial material for the twenty-ﬁrst century was sorely lacking (pp. 34–35). Gordon Kendal makes clear in his detailed and insightful introduction just why Chapman’s translation is worthy of a new scholarly edition. In particular, he notes the ways in which Chapman’s own biography and times inﬂuence his translation, such as his religious faith (see pp. 12–17) and moral philosophy (see pp. 18–27). The accessibility of this edition is aided by Kendal’s clear presentation of the similarities and differences between Homer’s origi- nal epic and Chapman’s translation. Moreover, the clear presentation of Chapman’s text, as in the other editions that form the MHRA Tudor & Stuart Translations series, helps the reader to access and understand the text easily with informative and clear footnotes as well as glosses at the side of the text. Following on from the main text is a fascinating list of Chapman’s neologisms, with references to where they can be found in the translation (pp. 445–48). This is a great addition as it allows us an insight into the great expansion of vocabulary which occurred during the Renaissance. A clearly-presented glossary and index conclude the edition. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx060] KOEHLER,KARIN. Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 246 pp. £58.00. ISBN 978–3–319–29101–7. Koehler’s book takes an expansive look at communication through letters, telegrams and the Penny Post in Thomas Hardy’s works; her writing is engaging, her analysis is compelling, and this volume is as enthralling as one of Hardy’s own. This tour de force takes into account historic nuances of the postal system as it evolved throughout the Victorian era, as well as a vast body of research on ‘epistolarity’ and letters’ formal and functional characteristics. Although grounded in a focus on details of form and history, Koehler never veers from her primary aim: careful analysis of Hardy’s texts. In examining a range of novels both well known and obscure – from The Mayor of Casterbridge to The Hand of Ethelberta – she explores topics of privacy, gender, control and the sexual double standard; the sense of self and a humanist conception of identity; romantic dynamics and discourse; narrative resolution; and the shift from oral tradition to written culture. One of Koehler’s most captivating chapters is that on failed letters – letters that are lost, mis-delivered, read by the wrong person or at the wrong moment – and social and sexual injustices in Jude the Obscure, The Woodlanders and Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Even for a topic as frequently discussed as Tess’s seduction/rape, Koehler manages to add new layers of understanding and meaning. In addition to the in-depth and illuminating look at Hardy’s novels and their exploration of written messages and their rela- tion to social and cultural norms, Koehler also explores Hardy’s poems and short stories, arguing that Hardy’s interest in letters did not end when he stopped writing novels. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fmls/article-abstract/54/1/119/4798981 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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