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HUMANITIES 461 forms of control. He projects this guarded liberalism into technological innovation itself, seeing both in the trend and in the particular invention a self-correcting cycle answerable to human self-reliance. The cycle begins in the identity of user and owner, moves through estrangement and the stratification of control, to the return of the unit to the lives of the individual and smaller groups, though on a mass scale. His viewpoint applies an organic model found in George Kubler's The Shape of Time, an account of formal change in art, and it draws on anthropologists in the tradition of Morgan, Tyler, White, and Childe, who are concerned with the evolution of civilization as a whole. The model proposes that in any cultural medium complexity builds up to a point of contradiction with human need and response; the medium escapes the threat by adducing a simpler beginning. Dudek does not face clearly enough the equilibrium bias of this model which is congenial to his progressive and civilized view of cultural change. The argument is formed in the serendipity of his bookishness. It comes unsupported by cultural theory or the politics of information. Indeed, he tends to shy away from the theoretical, claiming in his third lecture that heady specialization in the modem disciplines is a case of 'hypertrophy: or the self-obstructing phase of cultural growth, when means are elaborated without due regard to ends in effective explanation (as in science), in audience response (the arts), or in cultural coherence (technology). The first two lectures introduce the model of explanation. The next three expound on the hypertrophy in modem education and popular culture, where a romantic primitivism strong in McLuhan and other 'popularizers and barbarians' of rational taste is seen to obstruct culture, consciousness, and poetry in the course of their progressive evolution from image to idea. There is a beautiful quality to the scorn that Dudek shows for the developments which overtook the balance and clarity of his generation of literary modernists. These very classical values distinguish his last lecture, called 'The Meaning of Modernism' and given in 1975. lt is an erudite yet focused survey of the common experiment in the effect of the medium which underlay cubism, imagism, and chromaticism. The earlier lectures lack the reach and poise of this purely literary piece. They are troubled by unconventional rhythms of amplification and compression in the argument, by the use of homely analogy, and by the Sideways leap of a curiOSity that perhaps aims too immediately at wisdom. (SEAN KANE) Douglas LePan. Bright Glass of Memory McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 245ยท $10.95 In his introductory 'Letter to My Son' Douglas LePan is at pains to state that Bright Glass of Memory is 'not my diplomatic memoirs' (although 462 LEITERS IN CANADA 1979 'two of the essays deal with episodes from my life as a diplomat'}. Neither is it a book of confession 'where everything is laid bare, where every sin is remembered: Nor is it an autobiography 'where everything has been sifted and winnowed not only to produce a work of art but also to create a carefully calculated impression: The four essays in the book 'all deal with people or events that have their place in history' - General McNaughton, Lord Keynes (and the Canadian loan to Britain), T.S. Eliot, the Colombo Plan. But these are people and events that have their place in LePan's life too, and mark Significant moments in a process of self-discovery, of Douglas LePan's coming-of-age. The author gives us just enough of himself, of his own motives, aspirations, and concerns, to enable us to identify with him. As LePan's 'introduction to economics' happens before our eyes in the Audit Room of King's College, Cambridge, we are, as it were with him as it happens, able to follow, grasp, and assimilate the economics and politics of a scheme that was to have far-reaching consequences not only for Canada and Britain but also for the United States. A whole cast of characters comes to life in a marvellous give-and-take of policy and people - and with a lucidity (and elegance) that no mere...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 461-463
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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