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374 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 Two other themes are much explored: aboriginal culture, by itself, and the nature of its complex clash (and no little intermixing) with European ideas and values. The implications of past policies are evident in the challenges of today, as Friesen shows with good analysis of the prairie reception of Meech Lake and other constitutional matters. There are also a couple of what might be called conventional biographical accounts: one of J.H. Riddell, principal of Wesley College, and another of Bob Russell, Manitoba labour icon. Both these essays are mini-biography at its best and well portray the links between the local and a larger world. The last essay should be read by anyone engaged in university affairs. It's entitled, based on the conunon query heard when encountering one's graduates, 'Still Teaching the Same Stuff?' The correct answer is always ambiguous- yes and no, or, as Friesen puts it, 'History- stories about our common past- the same old stuff expressed in new ways- is an essential part of our being.' Right, but, sadly, there aren't many storytellers as able and thoughtful as Friesen. (ROGER HALL) Patrick Grant. Personalism and the Politics ofC11Iture Macmillan and StMartin's Press rgg6. x, 2.12. us$59ยท95 In an epilogue, Patrick Grant contextualizes Personalism and the Politics of Culture with his Literature and Personal Values (1992) and his Spiritual Discourse and Meaning of Persons (1994) as the last of a trilogy intended to 'provide an outline' of what he terms 'contemporary personalism.' I cite these companion studies here because their titles are more transparently evocative than either 'personalism' or 'the politics of culture' of Grant's theoretical ground and rhetorical stance in the present work. Although its discourse resonates with and tangentially engages issues currently in territorial negotiation between'cultural studies' and other of our theoretical schools, Grant's book owes its primary critical allegiance to Northrop Frye and its rhetorical form to the sermon. Indeed, this is a jazz-sermon-witty, learned, and syncopated- working improvisational riffs on scriptural proof-texts (the synoptic gospels and Pauline letters) and a rich contrapuntal set of secular exempla juxtaposed in destabilizing pairs: Aeneid and Revelation; Donne and Beckett; Dostoyevsky and Berdyaev; Neil Jordan's The Crying Game and Bobby Sands's One Day in My Life. Ir1 play is the Christian doctrinal problematic of resurrection with its alogical fusion of life-in-death and the contingent assertion it implicates of individual identity as mystery, a psychobiological entity immune to bioflux- atemporal, irreducible, perpetually inchoate. Human dignity as a sociopolitical presence, Grant argues, requires such a model of the individual as sacralized body to counter mechanistic models derived from Cartesian dualism, and he appropriates 'person' to focus a HUMANITIES 375 revisioning of Christian mystery through the lens of secular literature. fOppression thrives at last only on the denial of personhood'; 1 [i]f a dominant theory of personality is likely to be reflected in dominant ideas about society, as Frye says, then the reform of political culture will also entail a reform of our thinking about persons.~ 'Person,' of course, contains synecdochally in its mere lexical provenance the very topoi of his sermon. It is one of those linguistic oddities that undergoes categorical transfiguration into its logical opposite: mask has become the masquer; 'persona' is reborn as /psyche'; accident has evolved to essence; matter is made spirit. It is the transfiguring power of language in literature that fascinates Grant as an allegory of the scriptural narrative trope whereby transfiguration prefigures through symbol the resurrection, and he retells many secular stories in order to reconfigure and thereby revitalize this sacred one. One need not be persuaded by the homily in order to enjoy the preacher. (MICHAEL F.N. DIXON) P.W. Sniderman, J.F. Fletcher, P.H. Russell, and P.E. Tetlock. The Clash of Rights: Liberty, Equality and Legitimaetj in Pluralist Democracy Yale University Press 1996. xi, 292. $Js.oo cloth, $18.oo paper This volume reports the results of survey research on how Canadians view their rights and freedoms. The research focuses on the extent to which elites are a bulwark for democratic rights. The authors claim...


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