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HUMANITIES 455 Crawford in the eyes of so avowedly modernist a poet and critic as Dudek.) Finally, however, I should like to suggest one further area in which the Crawford Symposium points the way to a reappraisal of Crawford, perhaps along the lines suggested here in response to Dudek's challenge. It is now clearer than ever, thanks to several of the Symposium papers, that Crawford stands in the nineteenth-century tradition of aesthetic mythography. But where, precisely, does she stand in relation to the various Victorian theories of mythology which are examined, for instance , by J.A. Symonds in the Studies of the Greek Poets (1873) and by James Kissane in his 1962 article in Victorian Studies? What, for instance, is the relationship between Crawford's handling of solar and Amerindian myth and the theories of Max Muller, whose ideas concerning such myth and the 'disease of language' held centre stage in the mid-to-late Victorian period? An understanding of the inheritance and adaptation of ideas and forms by Canadian poets, a coming to grips with the matter of importation and adaptation, with the ecology of writing in Canada, is essential if we are to know whether Louis Dudek is right or wrong about Isabella Valancy Crawford or, indeed, if we are ever to discover the true merits of any Canadian writer. (O.M.R . BENTLEY) John Henry Wadland. Ernest Thompson Seton: Man in Nature and the Progressive Era, 1880- 1915 New York: Arno Press 1978. 528, illus. $32.00 This book, a facsimile reprint of a doctoral thesis, portrays Ernest Thompson Seton as a man who 'arrived at an ecological interpretation of his present at a time when a crisis did not exist to give it credibility.' In a faSCinating polemical introduction WadIand aligns himself with Seton's prophetic stance. He quotes Wilbur Jacobs, who called for a revision of 'the tunnelled frontiersman vision of the past that has engendered a conquistador attitude toward the land: and adds that his own study 'seeks to playa part in that revision.' For Wadland this tunnel vision is associated with liberalism which, in tum, is associated with individualism , capitalism, progress, and technology. The introduction offers the dubious argument that, since all history is anthropocentric, the whole of history is a 'whiggish chronicle of man's achievement.' Using Seton's life and writings, Wadland proposes an alternative 'ecological interpretation of history.' Although the political categories are often blurred, he makes a persuasive case for viewing Seton both as a kind of 'red Tory: in the tradition now typified by George Grant, and as an anarchist similar to the Russian writer Kropotkin. The biological reality of diversity, he argues, led Seton to pluralism and the observation 456 LEITERS IN CANADA 1979 of animal behaviour led him to recognize the survival value of mutual aid. These collective values he sees as opposed to the 'whiggishness' of the progressive era. Having established the theoretical context in his introduction, Wadland proceeds to document the life of Seton, using it as a launching pad from which to challenge the assumptions inherent in an increasingly homogenized technological world. His obvious sympathy with Seton's anti-anthropocentric stance, however, results in a failure to make a serious challenge to Seton's often primitivist and utopian thinking. In his pursuit ofSeton the radical ecologist he often loses sight of Seton the Victorian, the sentimentalist, and the utopian American. The more Wadland insists on the sharp division between Seton and the progressive era, the more the reader becomes aware of the biographical details which point, just as urgently, to the divisions within Seton himself. For example, in his account of Seton's confrontation with the Boy Scout association Wadland portrays him as a victim of American nationalisma 'red Tory' colliding with the liberal American dream of dominating the frontier. From his account ofSeton's confusion and bitterness, however, it is equally apparent that Seton was ambivalent about his nationality. One important division in Seton, stressed by Wadland, is that between the scientist and the artist, a division reconciled in the genre of the animal story. It is in his discussion of Seton's fictions, however, that the limitations of WadIand...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 455-456
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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