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400 LE'liERS IN CANADA has as much a historic as a purely artistic interest. His discussion of the artistic qualities of the water-colours and prints is informative without being unduly technical, and his demonstration of Bartlett's tendency to repeat various basic formulae relating to perspective and composition, though hardly adding to Bartlett's stature as important artist, is well illustrated by the shrewd juxtaposition of reproductions. An identical tree performing the same framing function in engravings of Hallowell ( Picton ), Ontario, and of Manningtree, Essex, is one of the more engaging examples. The text of the book is divided between Ross's own 'twentieth-century view' and a Victorian equivalent, William Beattie's Brief Memoir (1855), the main source for Bartlett's biography and here reprinted in full. Beattie's contribution has the additional interest of being a period piece - a short but otherwise representative example of the pious-toned, leisurely-paced, moralistically impeccable Victorian eulogy - while Bartlett's death and burial at sea affords Beattie scope for a suitably dramatic and elevated fi nale. The book contains a portrait of Bartlett, one colour reproduction, and thirty-five black and white illustrations from his paintings and engravings. Admirably designed by Allan Fleming, it is a pleasure to read with its attractive proportions and pleasant combinations of type. My sole criticism lies in the regret that for some reason it was not possible to make specific reference at appropriate points in the text to the illustrations, which are not presented in chronological order and are therefore difficult to locate when needed. But this is a minor qualification. Modestly priced by presentday standards, it should appeal to a variety of tastes and is deserving of a good sale. 'Letters in Canada' is hardly the place to be recommending books as Christmas Or birthday gifts, but William Henry Bartlett: Artist, Author and Traveller would make many a discriminating friend or relative happy. (W.J. KEITH ) ].W. Dyck, Boris Pasternak. New York: Twayne Publishers 1972,206, $6.50 The author has set himself the task of presenting 'an overall account of Pasternak's life and work.' The biographical data tend to be 'aesthetic' rather than historical, surveying the formative encounters with the principal influences in Pasternak's artistic and metaphysical apprenticeship. A separate section is dedicated to the writer's concept of art which will be reiterated and broadened throughout the succeeding pages. Turning his attention first to the author's poetic corpus, Professor Dyck analyses, in chronological order, the nine verse cycles, as well as HUMANITTBS 401 the major epic poems, concentrating on the poet's view of life and art and their tangled interrelationships. The poetry from Doctor Zhivago is dealt with both independently and in connection with the novel. The larger part of this study, however, focusses attention on the novel itself. The genesis of the work is documented, whereupon attention focusses once again on the various metaphysical problems encountered elsewhere: man, nature, history, art and its relationship to life. Not least of the important aspects reviewed in this chapter is Pasternak's attraction to, in Professor Dyck's Own expressive title, 'Dualism, Duplicity and Paradox.' A similar program of investigation is subsequently applied to Pasternak's shorter prose pieces. A final brief chapter takes a glimpse at Pasternak as a tranSlator of Shakespeare, Schiller, and Goethe. This work's major shortcoming is the author's seeming inability to provide clear theses with convincing documentation and straightforward conclusions. Frequently he attempts to grasp too many ideas simultaneously . Very little attention is paid to the formalistic aspects of Pasternak 's work. After all, for a poet, surely the mode of expression must be as important as the philosophical content expressed. Otherwise we have 'mere philosophy.' Finally, one could have wished for more biographical detail, particularly in a book professing to deal with the 'life' of a writer. Despite all, Professor Dyck has made a brave attempt at a subject already . encrusted with a great deal of contemporary interpretation. (S. CIORAN) R. Cummings, M. Doherty ct aI., compilers, The Brock Bibliography of Published Canadian Stage Plays in English 1900-1972. St Catharines 1972, 47; B.J.O. Brien, D.R. Clark...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 400-401
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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