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278 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 watercolouc his experiments, how he would push a line of thought regarding themes, devices/ and even changes of season. At the end of the second volume are reproduced thirty-two of his pencil and pen-and-ink drawings from New York, 1915-16. Unlike his contemporaries, the Group of Seven, who studied in Europe, but like Tom Thomson, Milne went to the United States for his art education. From examining the drawings of the time, one realizes just how closely related they are to the paintings. One of the lessons he learned in New York was to work quickly in order to make an immediate impact on the viewer; in fact, he later defined painting as I a drawing made readable.' For Milne, drawing, the lines of shape, conveys the ideas of a painting, while colour conveys the emotional content. In comparison to realistworks, Milne's drawing and colours are both simplified, and the resulting paintings nearly always achieve a palpable 'rightness' in their impact. This characteristic sense of rightness about Millie's paintings is not itself necessarily simple, however. Milne's merest line-stroke and hint of colour trigger intellectual and emotional associations in the viewer, and one's attention inevitably returns to the painting with a renewed sense of the power of Milne's art. Milne's work as a war artist in 1918 is a particularly good place to begin to define his aesthetic, this catalogue raisonne taught me. Similar to the French battlefields which he visited, Milne's paintings show not what was there, but what was left, what survived the fighting. He creates out ot and with, the bare minimum, and reveals what is essential in order for human beings to appreciate, not merely look at, exactly what we are seeing. David B. Milne: Catalogue Raisonne ofthe Paintings will remind its readers of the great joy of experiencing Milne's paintings: their intriguing patterns of tactile vision which challenge ordinary ways of seeing. Through the catalogue raisonne'5 illustrations and notes, the profundity of Milne's artistry , his creative restlessness and uncompromising artistic spirit become apparent. This two-volume work is monumental both in its scope and as a documentary remembrance of its subject. David Milne's rightful place as one of Canada's finest artists is assured. (THOMAS M .F. GERRY) Eleanor Cook. Against Coercion: Games Poets Play Stanford University Press. xiv, 318. us $39.50 Eleanor Cook is the author of one of the better books on Wallace Stevens, Poetry, Word-Play, and Word-War in Wallace Stevens. She has also edited a festschrift for Northrop Frye, and her work is marked by warm and frequent expressions of gratitude to Frye, whose conception of literature she has appropriated and put to profitable use, as when she figures poetic world-play according to a lowly but persistent system of genres - the HUMANITIES 279 riddle, the etymology, and the pun, among other schemes and figures of rhetoric. Thepresentvolume assembles Cook's fugitive writings since 1979, the strongest of which continue the examination of riddles, figures, and puns as archetypal forms of poetic language. Cook's work is interesting because it shows how to fill a hole that appears not only in Frye's work but also in a good deal of literary criticism (including, surprisingly, much of what is written about Stevens) that takes little reflective interest in questions of language. Heidegger remarked that the Greeks had no word for language and the same could be said about Frye, who could speak of words only by analogy with pictures and music. Cook's method is to approach language rhetorically, that is, in terms of what gets done to the plain sense of words in our use of them. Rhetorical handbooks of schemes and tropes (still) offer a.rich repertoire for the analysis of kinds of usage that tend to thicken the natural materiality of language, and Cook is adept at applying this repertoire to the close reading of texts in which language contests its logical function of mediation. In her Stevens book Cook calls this contest 'the play of rhetoric against dialectic'; in the present book she calls it 'against...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 278-280
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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