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me (Mavis Gallant, Matt Cohen) do not encourage me to think again, though I am persuaded that, despite my suspicion of his subject-matter, I must investigate the work of David Watmough. Significantly, perhaps, the most satisfying discussion of fiction in the book COncerns Margaret Atwood, whose 'other self' as a poet enables him to discuss her novels in the terms he has evolved when considering her poetry. Above all, there are two extraordinarily perceptive essays on Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan. His comparison of Frye with Sir James Frazer provides him with an elegant and original structure out of which genuine insight can emerge. As critics, of course, Frye and Woodcock are poles apart. Woodcock categorizes Frye as a 'critical mandarin, who works always by afterthought, considering literature long after it has happened, as a substance already marmoreal.' The full account is clear-sighted and balanced, though Woodcock cannot resist drawing attention to Frye's excursions into his own region: that of the 'public critic.' But his tribute is all the more convincing by reason of its independent stance. The treatment of McLuhan, on the other hand, shows Woodcock at his most virulent. The essay reads rather sadly now (I write within a few weeks of McLuhan's death) yet one cannot help being impressed by the firmness of Woodcock's judgment. It is hard to believe that the essay first appeared in 1971, when the failure of McLuhan's prophetic generalizations was less obvious and the temptation - and pressure - to take him at his own valuation far stronger. I always admire the critic prepared to take his stand when the better part of valour is to defer to the response of the fashionable multitude. Woodcock's integrityevident in the whole book and, indeed, in his whole career - is nowhere more prominent than here. It is a thorough justification of his present pOSition as doyen of Canadian letters. (w.J. KEITH) Theatre History in Canada IHistoire du theatre au Canada Edited by Ann Saddlemyer and Richard Plant VOll, no. 1 (Spring 1980). 80 2 issues yearly. Subscriptions: $7.00 within Canada, $8.00 outside Canada Canadian theatre history is a rapidly growing area of research, and about time. There are too many horror stories of important material being destroyed just before scholars could get to it. The establishment of an active, visible group of specialists should help; and the appearance of this journal is just what is needed. Its first issue promises well; it is handsomely produced, and - by the standards of our penny-pinching times-lavishly illustrated. It covers a good range, from the early circus to Rick Salutin's Les Canadiens. Despite its bilingual title, the French fact is represented only in the book review section, but perhaps future issues will redress the balance. 160 LEITERS IN CANADA 1980 David Gardner's affectionate tribute to Dora Mavor Moore makes an appropriate opening article not only because Gardner sets a standard for other contributors by presenting a wealth of material with elegance and economy,but because the lady in question embodied in her own career so much of the theatre she served. She was a hard-working, stubborn pioneer. Though the theatre she worked for was in large measure an import industry, she encouraged Canadian playwriting to a degree that will surprise those who assume that it all began in 1970. She died while Gardner's tribute was in preparation; and it is appropriate that the first issue of this journal should be, in a way, a memorial to her. For the rest, nineteenth-century material dominates- appropriately, as this is a peculiarly rich period for the theatre historian. The main interest for the non-specialist readeris in the sometimes quirky, sometimes highly revealing primary material, from which the authors quote generously. We read of Claire McDowell's appearance in Caste at the age offive months; of a spectacular and 'exact' representation of the death of Captain Cook, followed by 'a procession of the Natives to the MONUMENT OF CAPTAIN COOK With MILITARY HONOURS' (p 17 - not the same natives who killed him, one assumes); and we are treated to the Prize Address composed for the opening of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 159-160
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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