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HUMANITIES 155 admires his unflinching willingness to state his opinions, even when his ideas may be in the minority. His defence of Pfitzner's Palestrina, for example , a work many scholars finds problematic politically if not musically, is grounded in an interesting analysis of the relationship between art and faith. He even offers a valiant attempt to defend the libretto of II Trovatore, a work that musicologists love to hate. Perhaps what stands out most for this reader is how Lee's personal faith informs his analyses and interpretations of many of the works. Besides the more obvious ones such as Carmelites and Palestrina, Fidelio and Tristan und Isolde, even an essentially secular opera such as La Forza del Destino, with its jumbled, much-maligned libretto, reveals new meaning in the hands of Father Lee. If one were to quibble, the omission of Slavic and Russian operas is regrettable - indeed there were only fleeting mentions ofJanacek and Mussorgsky; and the rather abbreviated list of recordings and videos at the end of the volume appears to be almost an afterthought. One could argue thatsuch practicalities are irrelevantsince this is a collection ofessays about the ideas behind the music. Nothing illustrates this better than the last chapter, the heart of the book, amusingly titled 'Hurry Up Please It's Time.' In the space of nineteen pages, Lee gives us his grand synthesis of the history of Western art, from Virgil to Philip Glass, and his musings on the future ofopera in the twenty-first century. Full of complex and provocative ideas, it is an ambitious essay, and by no means an easy read, but ultimately rewarding for those who bother to ask fundamental questions about relationships of art, culture, and society. An indispensable volume for the thinking opera lover. (JOSEPH SO) J.L. Granatstein. Who Killed Canadian History? HarperCollins. xviii, 156. $22.00 Who Killed Canadian HistonJ? is a curiously ahistoricallament for the I good old days' - when men ruled history, students learned their dates, battles, prime ministers, and kings in school, and multiculturalism was not yet dreamed of. According to this often contradictory rant, things went terribly wrong beginning in the 19605 and 19705 under the evil influences of childcentred learning, the move to Canadian studies (and away from history), the ascendancy of social history, and the triumph of multiculturalism. Thus, curriculum specialists, educational consultants, Marxist and feminist professors, politicians, and bureaucrats all share the blame for what Granatstein views as a national disaster - 'an unthinking conspiracy to eliminate Canada's past.' Given the recent debates about the lack of history in the curriculum and the widely shared concern that young people do not understand or value the past, this book discusses a contemporary hot topic. As other writers 156 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 have pointed out, however, the 19905 are not unique, since there have been other points in time when similar questions have been raised - in the early 19505, for example. What can be done about this? Granatstein wants 'national standards' that are based on chronology, that teach about commonalities as well as diversity, that stress the global context and yet balance nationat regional, and local history. Would educators be able to agree on national standards? If the experience of the United States is any indicator, such attempts are extremely difficult to manage as well as politically divisive. A strictly prescribed curriculum, presumably developed from a 'central Canadian' perspective, would no doubt find few supporters in Atlantic Canada, the West, or the North, let alone Quebec. But here, Granatstein avoids sustained discussion on the American experience with nationaIstandards and does not seriously consider how to answer regional or other concerns. His second chapter, 'Professing Trivia/ contains an intemperate andonesided attack on most of the historians teaching in universities and colleges in Canada today. Without much indication that he understands the origins ofsocial history, Granatstein merely insists that the 'new' replaced the 'old' as graduate students attended universities overseas and in the UnitedStates; apparently all new ideas come from somewhere else. In language reminiscent of descriptions of military campaigns, he asserts without much evidence that the new social historians basically dictated the field, infiltrated the journals and associations, and drove...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 155-157
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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