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HUMANITIES 429 Nationalist Theme Books. Praise by association, a device exposed as fraudulent elsewhere, is used to promote the chosen: 'Like Pound's Cantos, this century's exemplary epic of the poet in time, Layton's reorganized oeuvre begins with a connective.' The general reader, Powe's putative audience, will be amused, challenged, and inspired by A Climate Charge, but he should be wary of the rebel's authoritarian cast of mind. (JACK ROBINSON) John Robert Colombo. Canadian Literary Landmarks Hounslow Press. 318, illus. $35.00; $19.95 paper With its glossy cover, numerous illustrations, and newspaper-column format, this volume carries all the hallmarks of a coffee-table book. Certainly, it invites casual dipping, but it also repays a more careful scrutiny. Arranged alphabetically by place, province by province, it is easy to use and worth consultingbefore any trip into unfamiliar territory. A typical Colombo compilation, itis chock-fullofinformation, some ofit well-known, some obscure, some downrightarcane. Thereis, to be sure, a lot of trivia mixed in with facts of more permanent interest. I don't much care that there is a river in northern Ontario named after Shakespeare's Mercutio, but I was interested to learn that Hemingway had once lived as a tutor in a house within two minutes' walk ofwhere Ilive. Inoted the odd mistake (Daryl Hine's name is spelled wrong, and the real Wapiti in Manitoba is not the fictional Wapiti of Rudy Wiebe's Peace Shall Destroy Many, which is located in northern Saskatchewan); for the most part, however, the information seems accurate. For my taste, there is rather too much space devoted to nobodies posing as somebodies, and too many stills from ephemeral films are reproduced. From time to time, indeed, one gets the impression that material is being eked out. None the less, for those who enjoy literary (and some not-so-literary) odds and ends, this is a bookto pore over withenjoyment. Many of the photographs of the eminent are well known, but a number I had not seen before. Besides, Colombo packages his knowledge succinctly and attractively. 'Where is here?' has always seemed to me one of the more pointless Canadianintellectual questions; perhaps this book will lay it to rest for ever. (W.J. KEITH) Lorraine McMullen. An Odd Attempt in aWoman: The Literary Life ofFrances Brooke University of British Columbia Press 1983. 243 Literary biography can give new life to a writer's works, showing their origins in experience and their reception in the world in which they 430 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 first appeared. Or it can animate its subject, revealing the author as a personality beyond the printed page. The best literary biographies do both: they expose the vivid texture of the text, drawing our attention to its liaisons with life; and they tell a good story, introducing the writer large as life, exposing his or her attachments and ambitions and disappointments . What the literarybiographer can accomplish depends on the nature and extent of the evidence available. The writer's canon is inevitably available: if it were not, we would have no occasion for a literary biography. So we can expect that the biographer will mention and explain the subject's writings, and bring up any pertinent bibliographical news. In her biography of Frances Brooke, An Odd Attempt in a Woman, Lorraine McMullen attributes to Brooke All's Right at Last, a novel set in Canada. And she carefully reviews the other writings that came out of each phase of Brooke's career. She tells about the 'odd attempt' itself: this was Brooke's early enterprise as editor of the Old Maid, a London periodical that ran for thirty-seven issues through 1755 and 1756. She deals thoroughly with Brooke's efforts as a dramatist. Despite long years of failing to get her work produced, Brooke finally had her way when, at the end of her career, she had a handful of works staged. The most important of these was Rosina, a comic opera whose striking success McMullen conveys very dearly. McMullen goes into Brooke's fiction in some detail. Much of the detail recounts the plots and characteristics of Brooke's novels. This practice is...


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