Jane Ellen Harrison: The Mask and the Self

Sandra J. Peacock, Author Yale University Press $42 (320p) ISBN 978-0-300-04128-6
We watch the journey of Harrison from ``Yorkshire's merchant class to the Cambridge intelligentsia'' in this biography of a scholar whose life is emblematic of the struggle of Victorian women for recognition of their intellect. Herself a classicist at Newnham College, Cambridge, and as the epicenter of the Ritualists, a small group of male scholars that included classicist Gilbert Murray and philosopher Francis Cornford, Harrison wielded enormous influence. Her book Prolegomena to the Study of the Greek Religion (1903) brought new anthropological insight to the ancient past, but also incorporated her own feelings, complex and compressed, about her experience of bourgeois Victorian family life, according to Peacock. Passionate in her intellectual friendships, Harrison was less successful in emotional entanglements, the author shows as she explores the continuum, personal and professional, of the life of a little-known but significant British classicist who died in 1928 at the age of 78. Peacock is assistant dean of the graduate school of Emory University in Georgia. Photos not seen by PW. (September)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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