port’s proclivity for changing verbs intonnouns and his obsessive preoccupationnwith homosexuality. Neither the repeatednallusions to genitalia and theirnrespective sizes and uses, nor the plethoranof terms which Davenport findsnto describe them, particularly in “OnnSome Lines of Virgil,” seem to have anynparticular relevance to the stories innwhich they appear. In fact, most of thensexual relations which Davenport depictsnin his anthology are gratuitous.nThe engrossment with onanism innEclogues seems to reveal an artisticnobsession with creativity and a concomitantnavowal of sterility as somehownequal components of an ego.nDavenport, however, sees his treatmentnof sexuality in a different light.nHis comments regarding “The Dawnnof Erewhon,” a story predating thosenin Eclogues, are instructive in thisnregard:nThe human body in this story is ancounter-symbol to the machine … Infelt free to be as explicit as I could,nfor we have so misunderstood the animalitynof our bodies that we may deserve,nas I have an Erewhonian Villiersnde I’lsle Adam say, to have machinesndo our living for us.nI would agree with Davenport that henrestores the animality of his charactersnto them, but in the process he inadvertentlyndeprives them of much of theirnhumanity. The repeated exploitation ofnsexuality throughout Eclogues transformsnseveral of the characters intonmindlessly churning machines in searchnof continual sexual gratification. Theirncondition brings to mind Camus’s witheringndefinition of 20th-century man:n”He fornicated and read newspapers.”nAnother element which adds to thenartificiality of the stories in Ecloguesnis Davenport’s highly stylized mannernof writing. Discussing the confrontationnof the self in imaginative writing in hisnessay, “Ernst Machs Max Ernst,” Davenportnadmits: “Though I admire stylesnin which words are deployed in a practicalneconomy … my heart is withnstyles controlled by artifice.” Unfortunately,nfor artifice to work effectivelynin literature, it first must become realnor be perceived as such. In Davenport’snanthology this transformation fails tontake place.nUavenport’s fiction reflects in manynways the century to which it belongs.nThe stories are eclectic—filled withnnumerous languages, distant countries,nfar-off times—they are informative,nfilled with newspaperlike snippets aboutnthe caves at Lascaux, paintings by Picassonor Van Gogh and musings on the lifenof Socrates. The fragmented writing innseveral of Davenport’s stories mirrors,nto some extent, the atomization of then20th-century psyche which has successivelynwitnessed the destruction of social,ncultural and religious values—tonsay nothing of the psychoanalytical dissectionnof the psyche itself. The telegraphicnstyle of these fragments evokesna certain nostalgia stemming from theninverse and paradoxical proportion betweennhow much we know and how littlenwe understand.nGay as a DepressingnAdjectivenJohn Boswell: Christianity, SocialnTolerance, and Homosexuality: GaynPeople in Western Europe from thenBeginning of the Christian Era tonthe Fourteenth Century; The Universitynof Chicago Press; Chicago.nby Father Richard R. Roach, S.J.nJohn Boswell has written a historynostensibly about the tolerance of homosexualsn(whom he prefers to call “gaynpeople”) from the dawn of the Christiannera until the 14th century. His treatmentnof the subject is muddied by anDr. Roach is professor of moral theologynat Marquette University.nnnWhereas Davenport does a brilliantnjob in bringing together disparate philosophies,ncultures and millennia in hisnbook of essays, these elements remainndisunified in his anthology. The disappointmentnthat the reader experiencesnis all the more frustrating because ofnDavenport’s obvious erudition, creativitynand talent with words. Moreover,nhe theoretically aspires to a plenitudenof meaning that is only found in thengreatest works of literature:nFar from wanting a word to be invisible,nunassertive, the makeshiftnvehicle for something else (“idea,”n”thought”), I want every word to benwholly, thoroughly a word. If realityncan be pictured in words, words mustnbe seen as a set of essences in parallelnseries to the world.nIf, indeed, Davenport is eventually ablento attain this goal in his fiction, hisnstories will felicitously rival in depth,nbreadth, meaning and coherence hisnmagnificent essays and he will be wellnon his way to charting a new path in thengeography of our collective imagination,nnnnumber of profound confusions. Apartnfrom his handling of the question ofntolerance, one wonders if his real interestndid not lie elsewhere, namely innadvocating a radical change in Christiannmorality. The implied thesis of thenbook seems to be that Christian moralitynand homosexual practice are not necessarilynincompatible. In his own words,nwhich have a studied modesty, we read:nIf, on the other hand, one concludesnthat the antierotic feelings and doctrinesnof the most extreme of thenfathers were an excess rather than anbase point of Christian ethics and thatnChristian orthodoxy has not necessarilynconsisted of rigid adherence tona completely functional approach.nmm/^mmmm^nMarch/A]irill98Sn