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/. 202 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY moves with ease because he is at home in both major and minor literature; and the reader learns much without being "informed" of anything. One might describe his-urbanity and :flavour as mellow, if the word was not overworn and did not suggest some lack of edge, and Professor \~/il,son,s mind has an edge. Above all, perhaps, he has what has been characteri~tic of the best English scholarship, ·a wise sense of the past as part of a li~ing tradition, not as a section of a library. It will be a matter of general satisfaqion that he has lately been appointed to the Merton Professorship of English at Oxford, in succession to David Nichol Smith. . GROVE'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY* B. K. SANDWELL It may s-ometimes occur to even the most ardent admirers of A Search for America to wonder whether Frederick Philip Grove th·e man-that granite figure upon which the storms of implacable fate have beaten in vain for forty years-may not outlive Frederick Philip Grove the novelist. Posterity can hardJy fail to be interested in a life so continuously and profoundly at odds with the predominant forces of its era, especially if it turns out that t'he struggle was due to that_life being prophetic of new forces to come. But posterity might conceivably cease to be interested in more than a few of the-creations of.Grove's imagination, not because they are not greacly imagined, but because they are not bodied forth in a great literary style. Almost the whole of Grove's writing produces, to a singular degree, the impression of being a good translation of a -much better original in some other language. Nor is that surprising. Grove is by origin the absolute European-neither English nor Scottish nor Scandinavian nor· German nor French. The languages of half-a-dozen countries were his from earliest youth, with little preference between them. In a sense -he has no mother tongue. His style has ;the clarity of a man writing with great care in a slightly foreign language, but not the beauty or the grandeur of a man writing in his own language which he passionately loves. The overmastering drive of literary creation as he describes it, and he describes it in this book very fully, seems to relate entirely to the visualizing of the characters and situations, not to the getting of them down in -words, which in Grove's mind seems to be a journeyman's job not clearly distinguishable from the _labour of typing the script. . It is possible that in this matter of style, as well as in his views and attitudes concerning man and life, G~ove may be in advance of his time. We may be about to move, in literary style as well as in politics, into a *In Sear~h of Myself. By FREDERICK PEILIP GROVE. Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada. 1946. Pp.- xii, 458. ($4.00) REVIEWS · 203 much mqre cosmopolitan era, of which the American variant of English is -likely to be the communicating language. Since the decline of Latin as the common cultural language of Euro_ pe and the rise of the national tongues -that is to say throughout the "modern" era-the great classic works have been written in a style which was characteristic of the language to which they belonged, and which could seldom be perfe·ctly reproduced in any other. This was because they were written within the ·framework of a national culture whi'ch was closely bound up with the language. In North America great numbers of human beings from ~a~y different cultures of this kind have been fused by the melting-pot process into a single (and as· yet not very profound) culture, and a similar process seems about to begin· in a large part of Europe. ·whatever may be the new language of this melting-pot culture, it is not likely to be as vigorous as a purely national language. If the ideas to be expressed are great enough, and if the culture eventually becomes a really profound one, the language, whatever it is, will presumably...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 202-206
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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