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HUMANITIES 4b3 wooden floor of the shrine was covered with flowers and with bright bits of cloth ... That night my sleep was particularly deep and, although dreamless, seemed to be illumined with a wonderful freshness and radiance. And it is the art of the novelist which gives us vivid and searching sketches of people like Wyndham Lewis, Vincent Massey, Graham Towers, Keynes, Eliot, and McNaughton. At a dinner party in Toronto LePan meets Wyndham Lewis. 'Although he was wearing a dinner jacket like the rest of us, he seemed to me like a gorilla who had escaped from a cage or a jungle. His head seemed huge, his jaw prognathous, and his teeth bad and protruding. A Cro-Magnon or even neanderthal type, I thought.' And here is Massey. 'Whenever ... he appeared in one or other of our offices, he always seemed strangely diminished, a manikin in faultlessly cut shirt and jacket and carefully pressed trousers, almost like a piece of paper you could easily put your fist through.' But LePan does have his heroes. It is one of the refreshingly unfashionable qualities of the book that there are heroes in it - Keynes, Towers, Eliot, and above all General McNaughton: ... the more I saw of the General, the more convinced I became that his authority came, not from anything outward or accidental or merely cumulative or symbolic, but from something profoundly inward and intrinsic, from some inward source of energy that was ultimately mysterious but that Icould realize already was passionate as well as intellectual. I stil1 believe that. In its unashamed but wholly unsentimental Canadianism this book will endure as a record of a splended creative moment in our public service and in our nationhood. (MALCOLM ROSS) l.R. (Tim) Struthers, editor. Before the Flood: Hugh Hood's Work in Progress ECW Press (York University). 294. $7.50 paper 'No critical approach based on the expectation of a purely mimetic realism can come adequately to terms with [Hugh Hood's] work.' So says Lawrence Mathews in his contribution to Before the Flood: Hugh Hood's Work in Progress, and the articles in this collection substantiate the observation . Challenged by Hood's relative disregard for psychological exploration and conventional dramatic action, the critics here have for the most part turned their attention constructively to questions of genre, symbolism, style, and especially structure as a means of illuminating Hood's fiction. 464 LEITERS IN CANADA '979 Hugh Hood, author of over a dozen novels and collections of short stories, is presently working on an ambitious roman fleuve in twelve volumes, which he intends to be the Canadian A la recherche du temps perdu and expects to complete about the year 2000. (Reservoir Ravine, the third volume of The New Age, appeared after Before the Flood was completed .) Hood is an artistically self-conscious writer, and almost onethird of Before the Flood is taken up with his own commentary on himself and his art, first in his article on the literary influences of his youth and then in a lengthy interview conducted by Tim Struthers. Although, as might be expected from his fiction, Hood often lapses into personal reminiscence when addressing questions of literary theory, the interview successfully explores the main issues of his writing. Hood discusses his indebtedness to Wordsworth and Coleridge, Dante, Dickens, Leacock, and Callaghan, his Christian faith, the Canadianness of his art, the influence of number theory on the structures of his fiction, his use of various genres, the relation of The New Age series to the work of joyce, Proust, Lowry, and Powell, and his use of 'super-realism' and 'documentary fantasy' to reveal the'interpenetration of reality by vision.' The interview sometimes lacks the spontaneity and sense of discovery created by the meeting of two independent minds; Struthers acknowledges that Hood's 'art and thought have made a permanent impression on my own habits of mind: and his questions at times seem prearranged , designed to anticipate Hood's ideas and interests. Nevertheless , such sympathetic and knowledgeable questioning ranges economically over a large number of important topics and the discussion remains at a consistently high intellectual level. At the end of Before the Flood Struthers provides a...


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