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HUMANlTIFS 167 not explicitly admit the existence of one good or great poem; does he believe there are none? I admire Hardy's poetry and think Donald Davie badly misrepresents it, and I gave my reasons at length in the pages of this journal in 1974, but I do not think Hardy the poet is best served by citing so many of the 'idea' poems - a tactic dictated by the needs of a project set out in the opening pages, the reinstatement of 'ideas in verse' after their demotion by modernist theory. In the interests of the polemic against modernism, Hoffpauir concentrates on some of the theoretical statements of Pound and Eliot rather than on their poems, either giving them perfunctory attention or choosing an easy target like Pound's 'In the Station of the Metro.' The nondiscursive art of the Cathay poems would not be so susceptible to charges of vagueness and failure of communication . It suits Hoffpauir's case to explain Pound's and Eliot's suspicion of the discursive - the rationale of imagism - as an instance of a general anti-intellectualism in the modernist camp. He knows that this is, at best, a partial truth and says so - 'Not all modernist poets are imagists, and those who are are so only part of the time. Most poets find it difficult not to think. Eliot is an obvious example' - but he will not concede the corollary: that Eliot, whose watchword was intelligence, rejected 'ideas in verse' in the name of a more rigorous thinking. In praising James for having 'a mind so fine that no idea could violate it' Eliot was asserting the artist's 'escape' from petrified thought. 'In England ideas run wild and pasture on the emotions ... we produce the political idea, the emotional idea, evading sensation and thought.' George Meredith's 'ideas ... are a substitute for observation and inference.' (MICHAEL KIRKHAM) Elizabeth Thompson. The Pioneer Woman: A Canadian Chnracter Type McGill-Queen's University Press. viii, 199. $34.95 Those interested in a tradition of Canadian writing will want to read Elizabeth Thompson's study in which she argues for the existence in Canadian fiction from its beginnings to the present - from Catharine Parr Traill to Margaret Laurence - of a characteristic woman, whom she terms 'the pioneer woman.' Thompson develops her argument convincingly, as she demonstrates that, despite the shifting nature of the frontier, from the physical to the social to the spiritual to the internal and psychological, women display the same qualities in confronting their frontier. Thompson begins with the English gentlewomen who emigrated to Canada in the early nineteenth century - Susanna Moodie, Mary O' Brien, Anne Langton, and Catharine Parr Traill - articulate, intelligent women who proved capable and self-assured in facing the very different world of the Canadian backwoods. Their writings reveal the development from the stereotype of the English lady of that time - wealthy, idle, and 168 LETTERS IN CANADA 1991 pampered - to the woman who accepts that in the Canadian backwoods a new standard of conduct is appropriate to a new world and a new way of life. Traill, in particular, developed a backwoods heroine who demonstrates courage and initiative in adapting to the hardships of pioneer life. Traill's cultivated gentlewoman remains a lady, while shifting her skills from music and embroidery to household chores such as making soap and baking bread. Redefining her role, she retains the love of beauty, nature, and the spiritual, expected of the lady, while cultivating the skills essentfal to the pioneer woman. In the early twentieth century, writers such as Sara Jeannette Duncan, L.M. Montgomery, and Nellie McClung adapted their portrayal of the pioneer woman to the social conditions of the time. Their protagonists, as active, courageous, and pragmatic as earlier women, redefine woman's role in an evolving society. Their frontier is social rather than physical. Ralph Connor's idealized maternal woman, based on his mother, is a pioneer on another frontier, the spiritual, where she evinces the same qualities as did Traill's and then Duncan's women. Connor's pioneer woman exemplifies domestic power. While her main task is homemaking, she is a moral and spiritual leader, whose influence...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 167-168
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-25
Open Access
No
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