120 REVIEWS This work reads well as a whole, though the chapters are largely self-contained and could be equally usefully read in extracts for a particular course. The book would be of signiﬁcant in- terest not only to Hardy scholars but also to enthusiasts of the post, of letter writing, and of the Victorian cultural imagination in general. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx061] LEVY,ERIC P. Detaining Time: Temporal Resistance in Literature from Shakespeare to McEwan. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. 288 pp. £85.00. ISBN 978–1–4742–9204–1. Eric P. Levy’s monograph on the nature of temporal resistance is heavily inﬂuenced by a variety of philosophical and literary theorists, ranging from Aristotle to twentieth-century thinkers such as John McTaggart and Roland Barthes. There is a particular focus in the eighth and ninth chapters on Gilles Deleuze’s Temporal Theory and how it can be applied to the texts which Levy treats, facets which are brought together in the epilogue chapter. Following the introduction there are seven chapters of close reading. Levy makes the case for the seven texts/authors he chooses based on what he regards as the ‘intensity’ of their ‘involvement with time’ (p. 5). The works are considered chronologically: Hamlet, Hard Times, Ulysses, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, various works by Samuel Beckett, and Enduring Love. As Levy notes in his acknowledgments, ﬁve of these chapters are modiﬁed versions of his own earlier articles on the theory of time in these speciﬁc works (p. ix). Whilst Levy’s analysis of each text is interesting in its own right, this does lead the mono- graph to feel quite disjointed at times. In particular, the very large temporal gap of over 250 years between the composition of Hamlet and Hard Times makes the Shakespeare feel very separate from the other texts – the original audiences of the play being so far removed from the readership and audiences of the later works. Ironically in a monograph concerned with time, analysis of the contexts and eras of the individual works is almost entirely neglected in favour of the critical theory which Levy employs. It is left to the reader to think about how the temporal spaces within the works of literature relate to the real time of their composition. There is much, however, to commend in this book, and the readings of individual texts would be of interest to anyone studying or writing on them speciﬁcally, or on the literary application of theories of time. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx062] Nineteenth-Century Poetry: Criticism and Debates. Ed. by Jonathan Herapath and Emma Mason. London and New York: Routledge (Routledge Criticism and Debates in Literature), 2016. 472 pp. £34.99. ISBN 978–0–415–83130–7. A sizeable volume with a noticeable bright red cover, this book offers criticism on nineteenth-century poetry. The keyword ‘English’ is missing from both the title and the blurb, though the book is emphatically concerned with nineteenth- century English poetry – even the Irish and Scottish poets of the period are omitted. Canons are changing formations, and even canons set in stone, such as those of English Romantic and Victorian poetry, invite continuing debate. Spanning two centuries, this volume presents essays on Romantic and Victorian poetry from Wordsworth’s ‘Preface’ to twentieth-century criticism, organized around eight key topics. Although calling for a collage-like perception of the past, the editors also sustain a linear view of Romanticism by regarding it in continuity with the Victorian age and by collating classic and modern criticism. Under the heading ‘Periodization’, for instance, Matthew Arnold’s 1853 preface to his Poems is set alongside Robert Langbaum’s 1957 essay ‘Romanticism as a Modern Tradition’: both draw on Goethe’s ideas and use Keats as a test case in arguing for continuities stemming from Romanticism. Other essays evoke nineteenth-century anxieties about the usefulness of poetry and whether it should be a driving force behind social change or a vehicle for introspection, thereby building bridges between concerns and practices of poetry then and now. The essays on prosody re- veal that nineteenth-century debates about metre were ideologically-laden contestations about English identity, whereas the section on religion aims to reappraise the inﬂuence of non- canonical religious poetry on the Romantic and Victorian classics. The section on sexuality, oddly sandwiched between religion and science, investigates Victorian resistance to conserva- tive gender ideologies and discusses related topics such as identity, emancipation, censorship and legislation. The section on poetry and science is of immediate relevance since, now as then, the two are deﬁned in opposition to each other and prejudices on both sides abound. One approaches volumes with such wide-ranging ambitions with a mixture of anticipation and caution, but Nineteenth-Century Poetry delivers on its promise. Looking at Romantic and Victorian poetry from a multiplicity of perspectives, it is essential reading for undergraduate students and I would also recommend it to scholars wishing to be engaged in further debate about nineteenth-century English poetry. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx063] Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/fmls/article-abstract/54/1/120/4798983 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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