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HUMANITIES 163 ness, where myths disfigure while they perpetuate the problems of the real. For a theorist concerned with the living texture of communication instead of with fatalistically polarized absolutes, 'a victim complex is not a thing we have, it is a relation we are in.' Wilden analyses this state of affairs in chapters on cultural stereotypes in Canada, on law and order, civil rights, resource control, the divide-to-rule strategy of corporations and state, and the tyranny of government power. The discussion is punctuated by 71 quotations drawn from popular culture and officially sanctioned misconception. His argument singles out the source of the problem in an 'imaginary' middle class that never earned its rights through struggle as the middle classes did in Britain, France, and America. In a key chapter nostalgically titled The First Canadian Civil War' Wilden demonstrates how the Canadian bourgeoisie through its historians has negated its indigenous traditions of radical democracy in Mackenzie, Papineau, and the battalion that later bore their names. By embodying this very anti-colonial spirit the work has the qualities of a guerrilla handbook, which is to say that it is obsessive, anecdotal, documented, unbalanced, committed, and rude. This is essentially a crucial essay extended into book-length form by an articulate anger with currents of real sorrow in it, and by an infectious, almost boyish optimism with a delight in tactics. Where does this radical democracy come from? In accordance with guerrilla strategy it keeps its base camp hidden. But if the informing politics of the book are not up front, the general theory of exploitation certainly is. The distinction between the imaginary and the real promises the critica way ofdistinguishingbetween the imaginaryand the imaginative in cultural thought and expression. Where miscommunicationseems tobea national pastime (and communication theory asalient feature of Canadian intellectual life), Wilden's short-term aim is to crack the code of colonialization in which, as Gunnar Myrdal said, 'ignorance, like knowledge, is purposefully directed.' (SEAN KANE) K.P. Stich, editor. The Duncan Campbell Scott Symposium University of Ottawa Press. xiv, '57. $6.00 paper The University of Ottawa's annual symposia on selected Canadian novelists and poets have become an established and useful part of the Canadian critical scene. Each fall the announcement of the author to be examined in the following spring is awaited by Canadianists with emotions somewhat akin to those attendant on the arrival of April in the Ottawa valley for Archibald Lampman. The volumes devolving from the Ottawa symposia are also eagerly awaited. In general they have been worthy if not always central contributions to the criticism of the authors 164 LEITERS IN CANADA 1980 treated; in particular, the Reappraisals series, with volumes on Klein, Pratt, Lampman, Crawford, and now D.C. Scott, has widened our understanding of Canadian poetry of the Confederation and modern periods. This is not the place for a retrospective assessment of the series, though clearly one is becoming due. The present volume follows what has become under Lorraine McMullen 's general editorship, an established format. There is a brief, primarily descriptive introduction (where Professor Stich could perhaps have been a little more ambitious in the direction of reappraisal). There are articles of varying length and quality on Scott's poetry (6), his fiction (2), and various aspects of his life and milieu (4). (Since neither Peter Haworth's illustrated presentation on Scott's treatment of the Indians nor the comments of the panel on Scott's achievement are reproduced, the editor was doubtless right to include three papers that were not read at the symposium.) The volume concludes with a 'Selected Bibliography' of works by and about Scott; compiled by Catherine E. Kelly, who wrote her doctoral thesis on Scott at the University of New Brunswick, the bibliography would have been more useful if it had listed theses such as her own and that of Leon Slonim. Nevertheless SisterKelly's bibliography is the most complete to date and is no doubt already proving useful to Scott students. There are three high points in the volume: Gordon Johnston's The Significance ofScott's Minor Poems' (because it is evaluative, hard-nosed, and provocative of reappraisal), Robert L. McDougall...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 163-165
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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