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HUMANITIES '49 seminar - certainly much more than a short review. I hope that the book will spark such attention and use. It goes far beyond Atwood's simplistic survival thesis and Moss's treatment of isolation. Almost always, in my opinion, her reading of texts fits them, but does not force them, into the developments ofher argument, atthe same time highlighting orextending their potential meaning. This is a feat under any circumstances: in the context of such a broad and diversified study it constitutes a mammoth exercise in selective techniques and close, sensitive reading. The Wacousta Syndrome belongs in the same critical category as Fiedler's Love and Death in the American Novel. Studying and attempting to synthesize the psyche of a people through its literature and art is not popular now, nor is such a stress on themes as McGregor displays. Her work will be contentious and it should be. We should be talking about it for some time to come. The book will not be adopted by teachers or used by students who want an 'easy read' or a trendy one. But it is a work of scholarship, conviction, and challenging and ultimately positive conclusions . It repays the effort it demands. (CLARA THOMAS) Ken Norris. The LittleMagazine in Canada, 1925-80: Its Role in the Development of Modernism and Post-Modernism in Canadian Poetry ECW Press 1984. 203. $16.00 paper This book is too restricted in range and focus to be regarded as a definitive history of the little magazine in Canada. Furthermore, lacking both an index and an annotated bibliography, it falls short in practicality as well as in the comprehensiveness of its American parallel, The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography (1946; reprinted 1967) by F.J. Hoffman et aJ. Norris's true topic is partly revealed in his subtitle. His book, dedicated to Louis Dudek, is a version of his doctoral dissertation, written under Dudek's direction. Using as a measure Dudek's well-known premise that social realism constitutes the mainstream of Modernism in EnglishCanadian poetry, Norris examines and evaluates a select number of magazines. His study is thus a sort of companion and sequel to The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada, a collection of 'essential' articles selected and edited in 1967 by Dudek and Gnarowski. Norris follows Dudek's interests closely. He emphasizes the contribution made to the tradition of social realism by certain Montreal-based magazines of the twenties, the forties, the fifties, and the seventies. And when the spotlight shifts away from Montreal in the sixties, Norris follows it to London, Ontario and Alphabet magazine. Chapter 6 is devoted to Alphabet's mix of myth and document, and to its apparent susceptibility to the influence of Northrop Frye, i.e., to a branch of Modernism Dudek has vigorously opposed. But, Norris notes, the tendency towards symbolism and myth has never ' taken root' in Canada; and so, he concludes, 'In spite of its insistence upon a central informing myth, Alphabet served as a haven for Canadian intellectual and cultural life rather than merely as a militant literary periodical' (p 95). Norris mentions other little magazines but dismisses most of them as being too eclectic, too conservative, or too sporadic. He is chiefly interested in avant-garde periodicals that 'continue to pioneer, to argue and debate the ground rules of poetryand the validity of specific aesthetic programmes' (p 78). Tish, a magazine influenced by Black Mountain poetics, receives special attention because (like Alphabet, though from the opposite extreme) it posed what appeared in the sixties to be a serious threat to the dominance of social realism. Echoing Dudek's somewhat delayed reflections on this subject, Norris asserts that Black Mountain poetics and social realism are not incompatible; that they have a common origin in the preferred branch of Modernism stemming from Imagism, Pound, and Williams; and that, once naturalized by Canadian writers, the theories of Olson, Creeley, Duncan, et al. are easily accommodated within the indigenous tradition laid down by previous groups and little magazines in Canada. Norris notes that the Montreal poets of the sixties failed to realize this potentiality and so spent much of their energy resisting Black...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 149-151
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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