In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

476 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 'Chronologie' ant pour but, selon Ie mot de Gagne, d"agrementer la consultation de l'ouvrage' (p 11) it caractere surtout methodologique. La 'Chronologie: de pres de 150 pages, en retra~ant la genealogie de Vigneault , en publiant des inedits au des poemes oublies ('Le mot: p 796), en effectuant Ie suivi pas it pas de chacun de ses recitals, met en place une fascinante biographie it la portee de chacun qu'il serait souhaitable de voir un jour publiee separement. La dimension 'critique' de la bibliographie amene Gagne it situer fort bien I'interet et les limites des ouvrages et des articles et confere beaucoup de plaisir it la consultation de cette etude. Les 'Precisions methodologiques' qui suivent l"Introduction' sont d'une clarte et d'une pertinence exemplaires et nous preparent bien it I'utilisation de cet outil precieux. Certaines fa~ons de proceder s'inspirent de la Bibliographie descriptive et critique d'Emile Nelligan de Paul Wyczynski. Nalls ne dirons jamais assez comment la parution de eet ouvrage critique de Gagne sur Gilles Vigneault est un evenement capital en 1977. II a repere, mis en place, regroupe en ensembles significatifs les elements d'information indispensables al'etude de I'ceuvre de Gilles Vigneault, notamment de cette thematique du temps qui prend ses racines aux plus lointaines origines du poete. Son ouvrage peut servir de modele it toute recherche semblable sur un autre chansonnier. Gagne fait autorite par sa connaissance de I'ceuvre de Vigneault et par la qualite de sa mise it jour de la recherche. (DENYS LELIEvRE) Edith Fowke. Folklore of Canada McClelland and Stewart 1976. 349. $ 10.00 This is not a book to try to read from cover to cover: it is a layman's book to browse in and savour at odd moments, to get caught in (as I did) and find yourself reading for an hour before you realize you had intended to do something else. It is fascinating, disappointing, exasperating, hilarious : and finally you realize it is like a grab bag full of junk and jewels, and you never know which - more likely both - your hand will bring up the next time you dip into it. But that very act will prove once again how ludicrous it is for Canadians to be concerned that 'we have no culture.' We have as much culture as it is possible for 24 million people to have who have lived in one gigantic half-continent for over a hundred years and we had better stop being concerned that our.culture doesn't fit patterns found in other parts of the world. Why should it? We are what we are, and Folklore of Canada brings together the richness of our stories, legends, songs, riddles, jokes, tales, habits, and customs in the crazy-quilt pattern and mixture that we are; this book should be placed in every library in Canada, be required reading for every educator in this country, and every foreigner who HUMANITIES 477 comes to teach here should have to sit a compulsory examination on it three months after entry. For the very richness of the folk-stuff of Canada is staggering, and we are all ignorant of it to our peril. Folklorists have a difficult time defining their discipline; Edith Fowke admits as much in her introduction (which would have been even better had it been longer). She might not insist that it is a 'discipline'; she does admit it may be best defined by making lists and gives us the 'listy' definition of Marius Barbeau, the late folklorist from Quebec who is known throughout the world. But for me, the whole connotation of 'folklore' blazes out in all directions the unclassifiability of living human behaviour; people will do what they do because it pleases them to do it; when we say of someone 'She's really a character!' we are grappling not only with individual personality but with the incomprehensible variety of what makes people so strikingly people. And folklorists try to do this for entire communities. Fowke tries to do it for all of Canada. She classifies her enormous .subject into four parts (a fine, indigenous division...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 476-477
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.