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168 LETTERS IN CANADA 1980 language catch the reader's attention. One can only salute this author as he plunges on, neighing and rolling his eyes with enthusiasm. (HELEN HOY) Robert G. Lawrence and Samuel L. Macey, editors. Studies in Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy University of Victoria. 12). $4.25 paper In February "977 the Journal of Canadian Studies devoted a special issue to Robertson Davies. Of its seven articles much the most important was Gordon Roper's'A Davies Log' with its pioneering work on biographical data and its lists of Davies' publications and of critical work on Davies. Now Robert G. Lawrence and Samuel L. Macey have drawn together ten articles on the Deptford trilogy. These articles testify to the complexity and resilience of Davies' last three novels and they offer more substantial critical insights than the earlier collection. Three articles are particularly fine. Macey's examination of Davies' idiom - 'the idiom that relates the modern Western technological Devil to time and clockwork' - produces a sensitive reading of the novels and explains Dunstan's preoccupation with precise dates and Magnus's with clocks and automata. Peter Brigg's exploration of the law in The Manticore is thorough and well-written. Though I was surprised that he does not refer to Davies' 'Lawyer as Protagonist: A Star of a Particular Kind' (The Advocate, 12:1 [1977], 3-5), I decided that the omission is not serious since he independently grasps the points Davies raised and places them accurately in his own broader analysis of the subject. Patricia Monk's consideration of the archeological data in the Swiss cave incident in The Manticore is likewise excellent. She marshalls her evidence for Davies' use of particular sources meticulously and by comparing source with text reveals 'some of the literary strategies by which Davies proceeds: She observes that, by the time Davies reworks his source material, it becomes 'pseudo-fact - a reasonable analogue of true fact: Since pseudo-fact is a recurring phenomenon in Davies' plays and novels, Monk here draws attention to a characteristic which would reward further investigation. That the remaining articles are less good is frustrating since they all contain productive ideas. Two are lists -lists which could have served as the foundation for critical insight. F.L. Radford's reading of the Salterton novels 'as preliminary exercises in the development of certain themes and motifs that are brought to mature expression in the later novels' illuminates neither the early novels nor the later trilogy. Yet, in the context of a critical biography, the continuity in idea and the shift in emphasis Radford reveals would be useful. Lawrence's enumeration of the parallels between Sir John Tresize's tour of Canada and Sir John HUMANITIES 169 Martin-Harvey's tours could profitably have prefaced answers to questions like these: Why did Davies resuscitate this chunk of Canada's theatrical past? Is World of Wonders an historical novel? Does the theatre material tug away from the novel's central energies? Two more articles violate critical principles. Terry Goldie, surveying folklore in Fifth Business, does not use available bibliographic aids. Had he discovered Davies' paper 'BenJonson and Alchemy' in Roper's 'Log: for example, he could have simplified partofhis argument.ltwould also have made him see E.J. Holmyard's Alchemy as an importantsource worth more than a cursory glance, and have alerted him to the existence of Lynn Thorndike's History ofMagic and Experimental Science from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century. Radford's second contribution, on Jungian ideas in Fifth Business, has no principle for how far it is legitimate to take a myth or a Jungian idea. Nor has Radford decided what he is doing with such data illuminating Davies' thought processes? demonstrating Jungian and mythic possibilities? His article is unnecessarily long as he introduces a wealth of information with too little regard for its relevance to Davies' carefully structured patterns. The remaining two critical articles ignore evidence which counters their arguments. David Monaghan, tackling 'the public figure: for example, feels that Dunstan's and Magnus's malicious behaviour is inconsistent with the wholeness and balance the two characters are supposed to achieve. We may not like it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 168-170
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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