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544 LETrERS IN CANADA 1997 Anderson), Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papersfrom Prison (Jamie Scott), late medieval women's religious communities (Hermina Joldersma), Quebec narratives (Dominique Perron), and postmodem theologies (Terrence Tilley). Perhaps the basis of my objection to such papers is their implicit self-indulgence; ifwe ask for whom are these contributors writing, we must surmise that in most cases it is primarily for themselves. The papers by James Fodor ('The Tragic Face of Narrative Judgment'), Robert Sweeney ('Ric~ur on Ethics'), and Linda Fisher ('The Hermeneutic Circle'), although competent, treat issues that have been addressed fully by others on numerous occasions. Finally, I find two of the contestatory papers particularly unfulfilled. Helen Buss's paper 'Women's Memoirs and the Embodied Imagination: The Gendering of Genre that Makes History and Literature Nervous' has the longest title and least-developed argument. The paper has almost nothing to do with the philosophical issues. Buss extends two articles by RicCEur into the particularly contemporary rediscovery of embodiment in what she calls a 'revisionist' reading of RicC£ur's articles and I call careless. However, the greatest sense of disappointment is Bryn Pinchin's 'A Challenge to Ricreur's Construction of Historical and Fictional (and Metaphorical ) Truth.' It is not that her argument is not a good one, for it does have merit; the problem is that it lacks philosophical depth. Had she read Ricceur's chapters on Habermas in Ideology and Utopia and Oneself as Another, she would have discovered a far richer corpus with which to debate the issues ofmetaphorical truth. This author is nevertheless the most intellectually provocative contributor to the volume and I look forward to reading more of her work in the furore. On the whole the volume is a disappointment, with the exception of the contributions noted above. There is a good index, but the editor did not include.a cumulative bibliography. The endnotes are for the most part purely bibliographical citation that could have been eliminated through use of current editorial practices. (MARIO J. VALDES) Lynne Diamond-Nigh. Robertson Davies: Life, Work, and Criticism York Press. 6o. $9.95 This is the thirty-first title in a series called Authoritative Studies in World Literature. Each compact volume introduces a single author, with Davies being the first Canadian in a group of such distinguished figures as James Joyce, Herman Hesse, Jorge Luis Borges, Doris Lessing, Herman Melville, and Henry James. There have of course been earlier brief guidebooks to Robertson Davies: Elspeth Buitenhuis's in the Canadian Writers and Their Works series (1972) and Judith Skelton Grant's in the Canadian Writers series (1978); yet Davies' Cornish trilogy, for instance, was still unwritten then, and his international reputation as a first-rate novelist was still new. Similarly, Michael Peterman's Robertson Davies (1986), a much broader HUMANITIES 545 general study, cannot go beyond the first of the Cornish novels. DiamondNigh deals with all of Davies' published works, including the 1993 Tanner Lectures and the posthumous The Merry Heart; in addition, she draws on Grant's indispensable biography, Robertson Davies: Man ofMyth (1994), as well as the recent polyphony of critical attention to his fiction and plays. The result is a remarkably informative and engagingly written guide that sees Davies as not at all an old-fashioned writer out of touch with contemporary society but a many-sided, adept artist who is keenly responsive to the possibilities of postmodemism and metafiction. The guide's five chapters provide, respectively, an overview of Davies' life, a chronological listing of his many books, a survey of his novels, plays, Marchbanks papers, and collections of essays, a summary of his critical reception, and a selected annotatedbibliography of secondary sources. (The bibliography includes the sources actually cited; one citation, though, goes unlisted and two do not match up.) A short index completes the volume. The biographical chapter touches on essential historical facts, experiences and controversies, linking them to Davies' storytelling journey towards knowledge of self and, concomitantly, wisdom about the divine. In Jungian terms, this double quest is the process of individuation which Diamond-Nigh rightly singles out as shaping Davies' archetypal themes and explorations as a writer bent on probing the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 544-545
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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