GUINEVERE

Having masterfully re-created the major characters and events of Arthurian romance in King Arthur (1986) and Merlin (1987), Goodrich brings her scholarly skills, her prodigious knowledge of sixth-century Britain, and her impassioned style to vindicate Guinevere and rescue her from the obscurities of time. This Guinevere is a collective identity derived from history, legend, myth, literature, and scholarly debate. Slipping often from fact to faith, Goodrich claims that Arthur married Guinevere for her dowry, the Eastern Highlands of Scotland including ``Camelot'' and an estate called ``the Round Table.'' Under matriarchal law, this land became Arthur's as soon as the marriage was consummated, placing Guinevere, like all young brides under this law, in great danger. Guinevere was afflicted as well with a sister also called ``Guinevere,'' possibly a twin. Attempting to replace the true Guinevere in Arthur's bed, the sister subjected the queen to various abductions, temptations, and accusations. According to Goodrich, poor Guinevere won the protection of Lancelot, supposedly her younger brother; and, as Druid priestess, she assisted him in his initiation rites by visiting the Underworld. He became known as her lover, Goodrich says, when several hundred years after their death around 542, someone mistranslated the word ``alter'' for ``bed.'' Erudite but not scholarly and lacking rigor in organization and argument. And while she depends on legend herself, with gratuitous sarcasm Goodrich accuses scholars who reject the historical validity of Arthurian romances of merely trying to protect their tenure. Still, fascinating reading, great detective work, and of considerable interest in the history of feminism. (Fifteen b&w photographs and drawings.)

Pub Date: June 5, 1991

ISBN: 0-06-016442-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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