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HUMANITIES 451 the last two thinkers would have produced a more satisfactory result. (MARK FREIMAN) Joan E. O'Donovan. George Grant and the Twilight ofJustice University of Toronto Press. ix, 196. $3°.00; $12.50 paper Dr O'Donovan has written a learned and lucid book-by-book progress of her subject's thought from its beginnings to. the present. It deals thoroughly with the various philosophers of our time - Simone Weil, Leo Strauss, Martin Heidegger - who have strongly influenced him. Less weighty in considering the matter of Plato and Nietzsche, whose strange intellectual coupling produced Grant, the study still will serve as the finest guide at this time to the subject. This book ought to be the last of this kind of celebratory or expository work. Eugene Combs's festschrift, which appeared in 1983 (Modernity and Responsibility), Larry Schmidt's 1978 volume of essays and interviews (George Grant in Process), plus the number of articles that O'Donovan cites in her bibliography threaten Grant with evangelization. Sufficient gospel material now exists. A generation of English-Canadian intellectuals has testified to his influence. The writings of Dennis Lee, the intellectual background of Graeme Gibson's Perpetual Motion, the latest pieces by Abraham Rotstein all demonstrate Grant's power over them. That an equally important critical process is now under way is shown in the recent appearance of Arthur Kroker's Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis/ McLuhanlGrant, reviewed above. While it may be easy to account for the influence that Grant has exercised by citing the trendiness of his concerns (see the cynical review of this book by George Woodcock in the Globe and Mail of 16 February 1985), such a viewpoint ignores the dynamics of that contemporaneity. Any academic who reads this review will have attended a conference where the after-the-papers party buzzed with the talk of that paper. Everyone there, it seems, had been preoccupied with some angle of its subjectfor some time. Butitproved the fate ofsome Chapmanto speak out loud and bold about what everyone else had glimpsed vaguely. Itdoes no disservke to Grant to pointoutthathis writings on Canadiannationalism, Vietnam, technology, modernity, and abortion galvanized intellectuals already absorbed in such matters. Where he played his prophetic role was in linking these concerns to a grand inclusive placing of them within the course of Western history, and in articulating them in so oracular and energetic a style. An example of this last can be found in Grant's contribution to the recent anniversary issue of Queen's Quarterly (Autumn 1983). His article on Celine there contains three paragraphs on the roots of modern, secular anti-Semitism that one reads entire books in vain to have 452 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 explained so magisterially. The Condition of England question bothered more members of the Victorian clerisy than Thomas Carlyle, yetit was he who put the question in a manner making its discussion extended and inevitable. So with Grant. All the bureaucraticbabble aboutforeign policy and earnest liberal papers on I Canada's Role in ... ' assume their due proportionwhen faced with Grant'smeditative pessimism. After that, our national discourse could never remain as it had been. One could not concoct a more potent recipe for riling people. Philosophers are contemptuous of anyone applying their increasingly mandarin enterprise to real events, political science treats cultural disintegration with scholarly aplomb, while secularists bridle at the prospect of a Christian mode of discourse regaining respectability within our national culture. O'Donovan's book convincingly concludes the project of observing the origins of Grant's thought. Future discussions of his work must now be waged in the arena. (DENNIS DUFFY) Boursier, Nicole. Le Centre et la circonference Etudes litteraires fran~aises,23 Tiibingen: Gunter Narr Verlag; Paris: Editions Jean-Michel Place 1983. 174 n peut paraitre paradoxal d'etudier des Nouvelles galantes, presque toutes ignorees a present du public et consacrees a des histoires d'amour dans lesquelles l'intrigue romanesque I'emporte apparemment sur tout sans accorder la moindre attention au monde du reel, des objets et aux references spatiales et temporelles. Et cependant ... Ice qui est sous les yeux,' ici et maintenant, s'impose, par son anteriorite a tout recit et...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 451-452
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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