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important nineteenth-century reference works on British literature, works that were liable to have been in many manses and college libraries in Canada ...'? But perhaps the weakest papers in the volume are those concerned with Scott's fiction, an area in which there is a clear need for the evaluative criticism, sage scholarship, close analYSiS, and true reappraisal which are, happily, present in several essays in The Duncan Campbell Scott Symposium . (O.M.R. BENTLEY) William Christian, editor. The Idea File of Harold Adams Innis University of Toronto Press, xxiv, 288. $20.00 cloth, $7.50 paper Between 1945 and his death in 1951 Harold Innis maintained a crossreferenced set of index catds containing notes related to his communications studies; and from these cards he prepared a typescript apparently intended for some sort of limited circulation. Here, even more than in his other 'late work,' his pen, like his mind, tended to leap from one highly condensed concept to another without intervening logical connections. For this reason a committee which dealt with Innis's papers after his death concluded that this 'idea file' was impenetrable to the point of being unpublishable. More recently, however, in a foreword to the revised edition of Innis's Empire and Communications, Marshall McLuhan contended that Innis's stylistic peculiarities, so far from being a private or specialist language, handed us 'the keys to understanding technologies in their psychic and social operation in any time or place.' Readers of Innis will likely still fall within one of these two camps. Many entries in the file, however, are easily understandable. For example: 'Readers Digest accepts no advertising and attacks advertisers New Yorker accepts advertising and ridicules pretensions of advertisersadvertises advertisers by exploiting pretences' (5-108). But other passages , perhaps more representative of the mind of Innis in full flight, need more patience to be puzzled out. 'Rise of mysticism,' he could write, with clash ofone group ofsymbols with another, i.e. simplifying scriptures and scholastic philosophy for German nuns led to mysticism. Developed concepts difficult to get into simpler language - Latin abstractions into German or Greek into Latin - philosophy versus law - missionaries teaching hell to Esquimos. Impact ofscience and scientific thought on humanities produces social sciences or form of mysticism. But also makes for inventions and abstraction. Newton dynamics - American constitution. Darwin's evolution on social sciences. Hardness of scientific thought produces fuzziness at points encroaching on humanities. Limits of education as device to reduce gap between illiterary and abstractions of learned language - emphasized symbols of Middle Ages. (5-87) 166 LEITERS IN CANADA 1980 Not every reader is likely to agree that the social sciences are a form of mysticism. This book is admirably introduced by William Christian who, beyond identifying persons referred to by Innis, attempts no exegesis of particular entries. (GRAEME H. PATTERSON) Robertson Davies. The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies. Edited by Judith Skelton Grant McClelland and Stewart '979. 320. $14.95 The Canadian longing for an urbane and sophisticated spokesman (a longing which finds expression in our reluctant endorsement of Pierre Elliott Trudeau) may be assuaged at least temporarily by the presence of Robertson Davies. The latest collection of his prose, The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies, presents not merely the wit and cleverness which in our fear ofprovincialism we might find ample, but wit which is also intelligent and thoughtful. Furthermore, surprisingly and reassuringly, the selections of Davies' prose which delight and amuse us here are garnered from articles, reviews, weekly columns contributed over the last forty years mainly to Canadian magazines and newspapers, notably the Peterborough Examiner, Toronto Star, and Saturday Night. Editor Judith Grant has omitted material on Canadian theatre and literature, intending to publish this in a separate volume, and has organized selections from the remaining journalism under the headings of 'Characters,' 'Books,' and 'Robertson Davies.' Davies' range ofsubject-matteris wide, his allusions scholarly, his views provocative and decided, his style polished. And yet, if I may indulge in the cliche of applying a critic's judgment of another to himself and echo Davies' words on an obscure biographer, Daniel George: '[Hellacks that air ofbeing too fine for this gross world which is the mannerism ofso many men of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 165-166
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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