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HUMANITIES 453 ample material is provided for such a comparison. The continuity of thinking in Canadian intellectual circles to the present time is similarly suggested but not dealt with in detail. And these are only two of the many new directions in scholarly thinking suggested by this highly original and useful work. A Disciplined Intelligence is sure to become an indispensable source book for students of Canadian intellectual history . (PETER ALLEN) Frank M. Tiemay, editor. The Isabella Valancy Crawford Symposium University of Ottawa Press. 158. $6.00 paper There is a paragraph in The Golden Bough where Frazer, drawing on a vignette in Charlevoix'S Histoire (1744), describes the manner in which North American Indians, believing that 'each sort of animal had its ... genius: treated even mice 'with ceremonious respect: No doubt if Isabella Valaney Crawford had lived to see the publication of The Golden Bough in 1890 she would have found it congenial to her mythopoeic imagination; she might even have incorporated Charlevoix's vignette of an Indian fondling a dead mouse before allowing his daughter to eat it into the embroidered fabric of a narrative, or - since she seems to have had a sense of humour as well as of myth - made it the subject of an amusing (and feminist?) lyric. Such is one train of thought provoked by the Crawford Symposium. Another is that Louis Dudek, whose voice cuts sharply against the grain of the other contributions to the volume, would have seen in the Indian's respectful and ceremonious fondling of the dead mouse an apt image for the Crawford symposium itself and for all that is wrong with literary criticism in Canada at the present time. To Dudek, Crawford is a 'failed poet' whose works are characterized by 'counterfeit' emotion, 'hollow convention: and 'fake idealism: This view leads him to condemn the academic high seriousness and failure of judgment on the part of her critics, and to call for a 'new critical method' that sees Crawford 'in the context of Canadian life and Canadian literary development, that acknowledges her defects ... and that sees these characteristics as part of Canadian reality and its literary limitations: Dudek's contribution to the Crawford Symposium, though not without its facetious aspects, is salutary in that it does call for true reappraisals - of Crawford, and of other Canadian writers past and present (including, presumably, Dudek himself). And, while the Crawford Symposium contains many useful things, nuts-and-bolts items such as an (inevitably titled) 'Preliminary Checklist' by Margo Dunn, a discussion of the 'Editorial Problem[s]' by S.R. MacGillivray, and contributions to 'The Life' by Dorothy Livesay and others, together with several readable but uneven essays on, predictably, Crawford's handling of myth and symbol, the volume as a whole moves Crawford criticism laterally rather than forward . The mythopoeic approach generated by James Reaney in his seminal article of 1959 still dominates, with Marxist and feministoriented interpretations also enjoying, as they have for some time, a degree of prominence. As an ably edited and delightfully introduced consolidation and expansion of accepted critical approaches to Crawford the Symposium volume has considerable merit and value. But what about Louis Dudek's call for a 'new critical method that is suitable for Canadian needs'? Was the Crawford Symposium as hollowly ritualistic and as uncreative as he suggests? After reading such an item as 'Crawford, Tennyson, and the Domestic Idyll: in which Elizabeth Waterston illuminates the poet laureate's influence on Crawford and the Canadian poet's use of - and divergence from or adaptation of - that influence, one is tempted to answer a qualified 'no' to that question. It is crucial that we know exactly how our poets are derivative, exactly what was the nature of their anxieties (and, beyond that, the nature of a young literature's oedipal anxiety regarding the literature of the mothercountry and the mother-tongue). For only then will we be able accurately to gauge the originality, distinctiveness, and merit of our poets and our Iiterature. Perhaps the 'critical method' demanded by Dudek will address itself, as some writers in the Symposium seem to be doing, to the ecology of imported literary forms and influences, to an examination...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 453-455
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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