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

nation-state but 'the idea and ideal oi federal relationship.' This idea/ideal, he explains, would harness the 'tremendous energies of human imitation' so as to maintain in productive equilibrium the entangled desires for identity and for the Other rather than allowing them to tum into selfdestructive cycles of resentment and violence. An idea which seems to hark back to Kant's cosmopolitanism, it remains unfortunately undeveloped in either historical or philosophical terms, and the book ends rather abruptly. This is a minor flaw, however, in a volume that consistently provides bracing perspectives and new insights. Nationalism and Desire is a provocative contribution both to Romantic literary studies and, more generally, to the continuing theoretical debate about nations and nationalism. (INA FERRIS) Barry Gough. First acmss the Conti11e11t: Sir Alexander Mackenzie McClelland and Stewart/University of Oklahoma Press. xxii, 232. $29.99 Prepared for the Oklahoma Western Biographies Series, Barry Gough's study of Alexander Mackenzie draws on 'readily available' sources 'to recreate the past and make sense of it through the eyes of the subject.' Gough does not limit Mackenzie's achievements to his explorations of 1789 and 1793; the two great voyages are seen as an early phase of his long career as a fur-trade partner and investor. Given this 'grand purpose, the making of money,' Mackenzie's subsequent activities - his advocacy of intercontinental trade, his struggle with Lord Selkirk, and his dignified retreat to a family estate- can be seen not as an 'anticlimax' (the view of earlier historians) but as a logical furtherance of unwavering ambition. Mackenzie is presented as a businessman whose plays in company boardrooms and proposals to goverrunent officials have all the drama of canoe trips along rivers of the North and West. Gough begins his biography with the remark that Stomoway and Fort Chipewyan are in the same latitude. Mention of this obvious but overlooked fact exemplifies Gough's treatment of details: MackenzieJs life is touched successively by the destitution of the Highlands, the American Revolution, reconstruction in Quebec following the Conquest Native responses to European traders, exploration west and north to the edges of the continent commercial and political rivalry along the Pacific coast, and settlement beyond the Great Lakes. With considerable skill, Gough knits these events and movements, all too often considered in isolation, into a coherent pattern. The biographer's task is accomplished by seeing Mackenzie as an opportunist who worked these circumstances to his advantage. Gough redefines the nature of Mackenzie's contribution to eighteenthcentury exploration and subsequent structures of trade and settlement. But historiographically his study remains traditionaL Gough still claims that history can provide a 1 Window' on the past, understates the formal 470 LEITERS IN CANADA 1997 problems of balancing oral and written testimony, and dismisses in a sentence any discrepancies between the printed text and the surviving manuscript of Voyages from Montreal. The last problem is particularly important, given Gough's declaration that his biography 'rests heavily on Mackenzie's famous work.' The comments of editors T.H. McDonald and W. Kaye Lamb are overlooked in favour of less authoritative statements. Gough simply asserts that 'Mackenzie was an extraordinarily competent writer, perhaps the best of those in the fur trade.' Only a general note on sources makes mention of the 'literary assistant' who prepared the first edition of the Voyages. Gough recognizes that overlooking textual details can result from impatience: he counsels careful reading of 'paragraphs easily passed by in the reader's vicarious race to Pacific shores.' At the same time, emphasis on what can be imagined as the view through the textual'window1 instead of what is declared in the text itself leads Gough to pause over what has not been recorded: the English Chiefs memoirs, Mackenzie's emotions at various points of his journeys, recollections of the men who accompanied him. Gough confesses to 'a sense of regret that I am unable to interview Alexander Mackenzie in person. I have to be content with reading his narrative and all surviving textual records.' The imagined 'person' looms larger than the /textual records.' Since Gough's study of Mackenz]e is one of a series, its emphasis and omissions n1ay well reflect...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 469-470
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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.