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Edited by Robert Lecker, Jack David and Ellen Quigley
Toronto, ECW Press, 1990.286pp, cloth, $45.00
ISBN 1-55022-021-7. CIP


Reviewed by Don Precosky.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

This is the latest in ECW Press's "Canadian Writers and Their Works" series of books, which will eventually publish studies of 100 Canadian writers. Each study will also be released in paperback form.

This volume, as George Woodcock points out, contains essays on five of the six poets who appeared in New Provinces (University of Toronto Press, 1976), an important early anthology of Canadian modernism. All follow a standard organizational format - "Biography," "Critical Overview and Context," "Examination of the Writer's Work," "Notes" and "Selected Biography" - and all are thoroughly researched, well presented, and strongly supported by quotations and examples. In short, they are everything that scholarship should be.

Woodcock, as author of the introduc­tions to all of the volumes in the series, is providing his own history of Cana­dian literature (major authors version) in installments. The specific poets (and the critics who wrote on them) in this volume are Robert Finch (Susan Gingell), Leo Kennedy (Francis Zichy), A.M. Klein (Noreen Golfman), F.R. Scott (Sandra Djwa), and A.J.M. Smith (Michael Darling).

Most of the writers follow a con­servative line with respect to the history of Canadian modernism, adopting A.J.M. Smith's division of Canadian writers into "cosmopolitan" and "nationalist" schools, with the cosmopolites viewed as the better writers. Only Sandra Djwa breaks with the party line, arguing, correctly in my opinion, that Canadian modernists were not "so dependent on international sources, as much current criticism has maintained. Rather [they]... were influenced by the prevailing nationalism of the 1920s and by the northern landscapes of the Group of Seven."

Don Precosky, College of New Caledonia, Prince George, B.C.
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