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HUMANITIES 271 My Remarkable Uncle). Therewere also anthologies selected by other editors, three of humour pieces and one of Leacock's social criticism. Finally, as Spadoni's fascinating entries on individual books show, Sunshine Sketches far outshines the rest in volume of sales, number of editions, and consistent availability. One indication that Leacock has become, even for scholars, little more than a one-book wonder is that Gerald Lynch confined himself to commenting on only Sunshine Sketches and Arcadian Adventures in his study of the connections between Leacock's humour and his socia] theory. Where does this sublime indifference corne from? Most people would hazard that Leacock jars the sensibilities of a multicultural, egalitarian Canada. Is it surprising that when women students discover that Leacock wanted women out of the university, they return the compliment? But there's more than chauvinism at work here. Leacock1 s humour, for all his emphasis on kindliness as an essential ingredient, can be Jarring, especially if one is expecting sentiment. Consider, for example, the following from 'Caroline's Christmas; or, The Inexplicable Infant/ in which 'the old sad story' is told of a baby abandoned by a desperate single mother: 'Once or twice she took it to Brooklyn Bridge and threw it into the river, but perhaps something in the way it fell through the air touched the mother's heart and smote her, and she had descended to the river and fished it out.' Other possible barriers to canonization: Leacock wrote for a popular audience, which makes him suspect among scholars; for an international English-speaking audience, which makes him suspect among Canadian nationalists; and in a medium, the humorous essay, not held in the same high esteem as other prose forms. I hope I'm wrong, and that this bibliography triggers the vigorous reevaluation Leacock deserves despite current attitudes that block many from serious consideration of his work. I have just onesubstantial suggestion for improvement: expand the cross-referencing betweenentries on items which appeared both in periodicals and in books. (THERESA MORITZ) Alexander F. Zweers. The Narratologtj ofthe Autobiography: An Analysis of the Literary Devices Employed in Ivan Bunin's The Life ofArsen'ev Peter Lang 1997ยท x, 190. us $45.95 Alexander Zweers is a critic who knows what interests him. In 1971 he published a book devoted to thenarrative devices in Tolstoy's autoboigraphical trilogy, and now, almost three decades later, he returns to the theme of the narratology of the autobiography in this study of Ivan Bunin's emigre masterpiece The Life ofArsen'ev. I recall having found Professor Zweers's first book useful when I wrote my own book devoted to the subject of the Russian pseudo-autobiographical novel of childhood in the late 1980s. I am 272 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 afraid to say, however, that I did not find his recent effort nearly as enlightening. Zweers begins bravely- enough by proposing to examine the various ways in which authors can evoke a child's world in an autobiographical (by which he means simply first-person) text. In principle, this introduction is meant to provide a context into which the analysis of Bunin's Arsen'ev fits. But here, in what is meant as a quick survey, the book's basic problem surfaces. Zweers's preferred methodology is to quote a long piece of text and juxtapose this quotation to an equally long one. Then he makes a short summary comment on the differences between the two. Although this approach can be illuminating when used sparingly, it requires a judicious use of quotations and a recognition that each pair must tell the reader something crucial to justify inclusion. But Zweers doesn't seem to realize this. Instead, he simply drowns the reader in quotations, most of which make minor points. When Zweers turns to Bunin's novel itself, the technique of lengthy quotation with relatively modest commentary takes on such proportions as to bring the study to a virtual standstilL For instance, at least half of the first ten pages of chapter 2 are devoted to long quotations from the first pages of the novel. In fact, anyone or two of them would have been sufficient to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 271-273
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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