In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITiES 443 whatever the fashions of art and value - continues to stimulate and challenge. (j.H. STAPE) John Walker, editor. The Scottish Sketches of KB. Cunninghame Graham Scottish Academic Press (distributed by Columbia University Press). 204. $15.00 Scottish laird and Spanish hidalgo, first president of the Nationalist Party of Scotland, and first European to enter forbidden regions of Africa and Argentina, RB. Cunninghame Graham is remembered for his lavishly coloured life (1892-1936) rather than for his finely shaded writings. John Walker, Professor of Spanish at Queen's University, helped restore awareness of Graham's South American stories in a 1978 collection. Now he offers penetrating prefaces to six groups of Graham's Scottish sketches. Graham, like his friend Joseph Conrad, had a dark sense of destiny; like another friend, W.H. Hudson, he had a flamboyant skill in recreating impressions of rich landscape. The former power dominates this set of sketches, just as the latter dominated the South American ones. Walker organizes his selections to reflect Graham's unfolding interests: from descriptions of lochs and steadings, grey-crumbling dry-stone walls, and snOW-SWirling passes, to tales of action in Scotland and abroad: conversion, enlistment, death, litigation. The division between 'sketches' and 'stories' is arbitrary, as Walker admits. In all his work Cunninghame Graham is an impressionist - like his other friends, the graphic artists such as Jacob Epstein. Walker reminds us that for subjects Graham turned from sophisticated cosmopolitan friends to countrymen, drovers and lairds, to 'Heather Jock' the ministrel eccentric, or to the Aberdeen sailor who married Princess Sinakalula of Raratonga and brought her to the windswept 'grey sky, grey sullen sea, grey rocks' (189). Cunninghame Graham, like the Princess, returning from Southern adventures and the power politics of parliament, was perhaps overwhelmed by the loneliness and desolation. In turn, his sketches almost overwhelm us. 'Landscape without a face!' we mutter, remembering early criticism of the Group of Seven. But there is of course a human presence in all the sketches, an eye, the T of Cunninghame Graham. Like all good travel writers, he correlates visual impressions with landscapes of memory, of dream and nightmare. In this realm ghosts ride, 'gigantic forms .. . in the billowy vapours by my side' (p 185). Here is another problem for modern readers: the throng of ghosts, from light-footed raiders in doeskin brogues to Rob Roy and the Beggar Earl. Sometimes Graham mocks second sight, 'begot of whisky and loneliness.' Sometimes his fanciful fairy vein reminds us of his friendship with Parnell and the writers of the Celtic twilight. Sometimes he moves to a mystery-ridden melancholy: 'Is it really that I myself have gone, and they live on?' (p 108) Walker reminds us that this melancholy is 'more than a personal obsession: Because so many Scots, as travellers, have delineated this land of memory, Scotland remains accessible as the archetypal realm of 'harsh North ... declining West: A Scot from Graham's own region, Walker adds just enough glossary to help us past the 'Iarochs' of the 'drumly' river, through the 'bealochs: to the realms of grey. He leaves undisturbed the oddities of diction, the quirky idiom and punctuation of his eccentric, talented author. (ELIZABETH WATERSTON) D.S.). Parsons. Roy Campbell: A Descriptive and Annotated Bibliography witl! notes on unpublished sources Garland Publishing 1<)81. xxvii, 278, illus. $20.00 The range of specialisms to be found in Canadian English departments is a continual surprise and delight. To the understanding of Roy Campbell , the controversial South African satirist whose two faces are revealed in the title of Rowland Smith's major study, Lyric and Polemic (McGillQueen 's University Press 1972), 0.5.). Parsons has now contributed a most helpful bibliography. There is truth in his claim that a comprehensive view of Campbell's writing depends to an unusual extent on some knowledge of his life with its 'exoticism and violent variety' soldiering in the Spanish Civil War and the East Africa Campaign, bullfighting in Provence, farming in Portugal. Parsons had contacts with his elder brother, once listened to Roy reciting his poetry, and after his death in 1957 visited his relatives in Portugal and Durban. Though Parsons provides excellent notes on Campbell's books, the shorter prose writings (section H) are left practically unannotated. The item 'Poetry and Experience' (H54) was the convocation address I heard Campbell give to the multiracial University of Natal after receiving an honorary 0 LITT, in '954. It excludes five minutes of extempore diatribe which electrified the proceedings but which those of us who knew him were expecting (his brother George was my doctor): for that we have to turn to the local newspapers. Ninety pages are devoted to books and articles about Campbell, each skillully summarized or quoted from. These make fascinating reading. The student should, nevertheless, remember that personalities influenced the warmth of praise or vituperation expressed. Though no indication is usually given in the bibliography as to what degree ofapproval Campbell had shown his reviewers in earlier reviews of their own work, his titles sometimes speak for themselves. Thus the tone of 'Moo, moo! ...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 443-444
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.