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HUMANITIES 411 But this is a minor caveat to a thoroughly interesting and illuminating analysis of the structure of aesthetic theories. The author has performed a task of permanent service. He is especially to be commended for the acute and conscientious manner in which he has avoided what he explicitly identifies as the two gravest threats to a true understanding of art: "reduction of the aesthetic to the non-aesthetic, which trivializes art by trivializing its procedures, and compartmentalization, which trivializes art by isolating it from other concerns" (p. 433). He has sedulously eschewed these errors himself, exposed them wherever they occur, and charted the terrain through which we must thread our way if we ourselves are to escape them in our efforts to reach the truth. (IREDELL JENKINS) LIGHT PROSE It's no joke to have to review nine humorous books. Especially when one must begin with the depressing remark that Once again the columnists outnumber the academics, two to one. What's so funny about writing for a newspaper, anyway? So little, in fact, that the journalists stay away from the premises; if I remember correctly, which is most unlikely, only Hugh Garner discusses office life at all, and he's not laughing. The journalists save their business memories for tearful reminiscences in retirement: Fifty Years of Soft Heart, Lead and Soap or It Takes a Heap of Lovin' to Make a Beat a Home. The academics, who haven't yet caught up on their drinking, pursue and are pursued by their way of livelihood, so that their pens, when released from perishing publishing, automatically turn back to the classroom and study- where we find our first author, Maurice Gibbons, considering The Predicaments of Eustace Prim (Mussons, pp. viii, 134, $3.75). Mr. Prim is a school teacher; Mr. Gibbons, formerly a teacher, is now a teacher of teachers at U.B.C. The predicaments of Prim are predictable, which might mean that they are true to life, or that they are borrowed. Or both. The Walter Mitty borrowings and the direct steal from Flaunders and Swann (p. 31) choked off my enthusiasm, which wasn't Howing freely anyway. Mervyn J. Huston, Pharmaceutical Dean at the University of Alberta, dispenses a higher-grade prescription in The Great Canadian Lover and Other Commentaries and Conceits (Mussons, pp. xii, 144, $3.50). His fantasies suggest Joyce Grenville as Peter Pan, but the prairies are the place for thundering hoofs. This book is an exception to the rule stated above, for it is designed as an escape from academic science, and 412 LEITERS IN CANADA: 1964 it is true to its purpose. The result is a series of Comments on the fringe of life, commonly intruded upon by scientific deans, who often pass over to the other side into the real life of rural communities and royal commissions . Clearly the best of the trio is Norman Ward's The FHUy Processed Cheese (Longmans Canada, pp. x, 192, $4.50), which exploits the situational humour used by Huston and abused by Gibbons, in combination with wide-ranging curiosity, indignation, and a flair for language. This is much more a book for academics, even the excursion into sporting life showing the healthy distaste for physical activity which Professor Ward has converted into advice in a later article in Maclean's, written for those who want to prevent their sons from becoming professional athletes. Discoursing of what he knows, he creates his Coyote College out of whole truth, and makes some points sharply that have been a trifle blurred in more serious COmments on the current academic revolution. Throughout the book the processed spirit is refreshed by ripe and aged comment. The journalists have an advantage over the academics in the pressure of daily (or weakly if you like) turning oddities into columns. The immediate response results in quick exposition of incongruities, as in Gary Lautens' column-ending gags, or Maggie Grant's openings into the semi-sacrosanct area of female personal jokes. A greater advantage is the accumulation of material from which to choose pieces for a book. The weeding-out could be more efficient, of course, although this year only Lautens and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 411-417
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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