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HUMANITIES 489 by the protagonist' - hence something that the protagonist's maker could presumably improve upon. [n fact, the 'Voyage That Never Ends' never became much more than a filing cabinet for Under the Volcano and Lowry's 'bolus' of unfinished and constantly growing drafts. Under the Volcano remained his one fully achieved book. He hoped he would be able to better it, but he never did. The 'Voyage' concept had considerable potential , but potentiality is a long step from final accomplishment. Ultimately , this may not be quite enough to sustain Lowry's reputation beyond the undoubted achievement of Under the Volcano. Notwithstanding the flimsiness of the infrastructure, examining Lowry 's fiction within the framework of the 'Voyage' generates some rewarding insights and fresh perspectives. But the greatest strength of Grace's treatment remains her sympathetic appraisal of the stories and posthumous works, revealing suggestive patterns in the stories and displaying Dark as the Grave and October Ferry to such advantage that one takes them up with new respect for what they are and what they might have become in time. One may quibble about final judgment as to Lowry's stature, but for fair appraisal of the greatness that might have been, for just assessment of the splendour of Under the Volcano, for stimulating interpretation of the stories and uncompleted novels, and for valuable bibliographical guidance to the present state of Lowry studies, one could do much worse than take Sherrill Grace's study as an introduction to the Lowry canon. (G.P. JONES) Elspeth Cameron, editor. Hugh MacLennan: 1982 Proceedings of the Maclennan Conference at University College Canadian Studies Programme, University College, University of Toronto. 155- $10.00 paper The academic debate over the significance of Hugh MacLennan's contribution to Canadian literature has reached somewhat surprising proportions . The interest being shown in his work would be remarkable for any Canadian writer, but it is even more so in MacLennan's case when one considers the long-standing critical ambivalence towards his work and the degree of critical concern to which his last two novels were subjected. Part of that renewed interest is due to the sense of 'literary comeback' surrounding Voices in Time, and part (perhaps a large part) to the recent excellent critical biography by Elspeth Cameron. But most of the activity continues to be stimulated by the unique quality of MacLennan's role in Canadian letters for more than forty years. He has been broadly perceived to be a spokesman for a vision, or a series of visions, about the nature of Canadian society. As these proceedings 490 LETTERS IN CANADA 1982 make clear, the interest of many of his critics is in the nature 01 that vision, in the social and cultural implications of his work as much as or more than in the quality of the fiction itself. Indeed, there seems to be an unspoken (or very softly spoken) consensus that, although MacLennan 's influence on young writers and students was enormous, and although he broke much difficult ground for later writers, he made no very significant contributions to fictional technique in Canada, and that the literary weaknesses of his novels outweigh their strengths. Even Eli Mandel's intriguing Freudian analysis of MacLennan's work tacitly recognizes this fact. Though he calls MacLennan 'the father of the Canadian novel' who 'rewrites the concept 01 modernism while denying its existence: Mandel writes more about Freud and 'the tradition of Canadian fiction' (the title of his paper) than he does about the more specifically literary qualities of MacLennan's work. More and more, then, MacLennan's novels are being seen as touchstones for discussions which take us into other fields. It may be that the greatest gift MacLennan will leave us is this interdisciplinary involvement with his work. The opening paper is by self-styled 'ancient Marxist,' historian Stanley Ryerson, who argues that the 'root-problem of MacLennan's world picture ' is the inadequacy of his analysis of the overlapping concepts of 'class' and 'nation.' Of the diversity of Canadian nationhood, Ryerson says that MacLennan 'curiously constricts its components' by ignoring in his social analysis 'not only." the Irish" . but also the multiplicity 01 other...


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