orists, Kronick portrays Emerson, Thoreau,nWhitman, Henry Adams, EzranPound, William Carlos Williams, HartnCrane, and Wallace Stevens as deconstructionistsnand then deconstructsnthem. The book is an encyclopedia ofnthe jargon terms of poststructuralismnand a showpiece of the kind of incomprehensiblensentences that radical theoristsndelight in. Here is his thesis statementnfrom the introduction: “A poeticsnof history shifts the ground of historicalnstudies from epistomology to tropology,nthe rhetorical interplay that poses historynas a problematic of reading whereinntemporal relations are generated by anlinguistic process of exchange.” At thisnpoint he is just easing us into the idiom.nLater we must cope with sentencesnlike this: “Introjection promises a synthesisnof preservation and negation thatnit cannot fulfill; at this juncture, incorporation,na ‘fantasmic’ and ‘unmediated’nprocess, intervenes.” Or try:n”Reading, or the struggle of reappropriationnand exclusion (introjection),nis facilitated by forgetfulness. Forgettingnfrees us to reappropriate what wenhave rejected. And forgetting is a preservingnand negating par excellence.”nStill looking for more? “The economicntopos of a primordial gnosis passed fromnfather to son in chronological successionncannot control the entropic forcenof writing, which can never overcomenthe chaos of its indeterminable history.”nWhen to this idiom Kronick adds ansprinkling of Freudianism, we get statementsnlike this about Thoreau’s firstnbook: “But by writing, he gains thenmastery of the pen, which we mightncall a phallus, and in rewriting history,nhe inscribes his own origin. The masternof the pen/phallus becomes his ownnfather.”nHow appalling it is that a writer whonuses language in these ways insists thatnthere is no reality outside of language.n”Reality,” he says, “earns its name bynbeing written in a book, for only whennthe event is documented can we recognizenit as truth.” Elsewhere he informsnus that “the position one has relative tonthe universe is determined by language.”nAnd language cannot refer tonthings or events in a real world becausen”the thing language communicates isnalways language itself” Consequentlyn”the poet is no longer the namer ofnnature, man, and spirit; instead, he is anreader of texts, at once the assemblernand the dissembler of fragments.”nThe irony in all this, of course, isnthat the claim that language is everythingnin reality trivializes language andnliterary study. Kronick’s book is symptomaticnof what is happening to literarynstudy in our universities. In graduatenprograms and conferences of literaturenprofessors, poststructuralism is the fashionablenapproach and, for some, a newnorthodoxy. It serves to widen the gapnbetween criticism and the educatednreader and between the humanities andnthe general public.nStephen L. Tanner is professor ofnEnglish at Brigham Young University.n”[Judge Noonan] belongs to that rare tradition ofnscholarship in which specialized studies are enhanced bynmoral vision and a dazzling skill with words. These giftsnmake John T. Noonan an ideal Erasmus lecturer.”nMagna Est VeritasnTruth Is Great:nIt Prevailsnthe second annualnErasmus Lecturenby John T. Noonann—AmericanTb order your copy, send $1.95 plus .50 postage and handling to:nThe Rockford Institute, 934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103.n36 / CHRONICLESnnnCalifornianMonologuenby Martin Morse WoosternThe Outer Coast by Richard Batman,nSan Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich;n$18.95.nAuthor of one previous history of thenAmerican West, Richard Batman hasnattempted in The Outer Coast to providena history of foreigners in Californianfrom the founding of the first mission inn1769 until the attempted annexation ofnMonterey by a drunken American Navyncaptain in 1842, which, in Batman’sneyes, marked the end of California’snisolation from the world.nOn the surface. Batman has preparednan exciting tale. How could any booknwith guest appearances by DanielnBoone, Captain James Cook, JedediahnSmith, and dozens of hard-living furntrappers, ship captains, merchant bankers,nand other worthies be dull?nBut Batman overcomes all obstaclesnand achieves boredom nonetheless bynnever allowing any of his characters tonspeak in their own voices. Perhaps thisnis because most of the admittedly obscurenadventurers Batman chroniclesndid not leave any journals or lettersnworth citing. I suspect the real reason isnthat Batman prefers his own voice tonthose of the explorers he chronicles.nHere, for example, is Batman’s accountnof the return of Captain Cook’s crew tonLondon after Cook’s death in 1779:nOfficers and sailors were paidnoff and went their separate waysnto spread tales and legends ofnthe South Seas, of Hawaii, ofnthe west coast of America, ofnthe Arctic, of Kamchatka, andnof China. Wherever theynwent—to the drawing rooms ofnLondon society or to the sailors’nbars on the waterfront—theyntook with them the samenstories.nWhat were these stories? Were any ofnthem preserved? Did the sailors inventntales as fantastic as those of Herodotusnor Sir John Mandeville? We do notnknow. All we know is that Batman’sntone-deaf technique has glossed overnwhat, to me, should be a tantalizingnpiece of information.nThe best histories, like the best novels,nare means of giving voice to agesnand times now lost to us. Batman methodicallynsilences past voices in favornof his own. Batman’s explorers andnalcaldes are reduced to the lifelessnessn