Archibald Lampman's literary executor and friend, Duncan Campbell Scott, spent nearly half a century promoting Lampman's literary reputation. Scott's literary and personal friendship with Lampman involved, during Lampman's lifetime, finding patrons, and, after his death, both publishing and editing his poems and undertaking biographical work. In carrying out these tasks, Scott honoured his deep friendship with Lampman, and acknowledged the enduring appeal of his poetry.
Mazo de la Roche's writing is consistently concerned with the relationship between nature and culture. This dialectic is often embodied in the conflict between individualistic characters who express feeling and intuition, and repressed and repressive figures who fear disorder, defend tradition, and cling to barren respectability. The tensions created by these contradictory values are dramatized in two of her earliest and lesser known novels, Explorers of the Dawn and The Thunder of New Wings. These works foreshadow the more sophisticated patterns of de la Roche's later work and illustrate her faith in the human capacity for love as a source of reconciliation between the contradictory needs associated with nature and culture.
In this look at place, referring back to Northrop Frye's famous question "Where is here?" several Canadian writers – Paul-Marie Lapointe, Anne Hebert, Louis Hemon, Dennis Lee, Saint-Denys-Garneau, and Gatien Lapointe – are considered in order to suggest the importance of carrying on an obscure, intimate, never-ending dialogue with oneself and one's world, of discovering oneself in the world and the world in oneself. This search for the universal through the particular and individual is seen in both English- and French-Canadian literature whose writers struggle to find a place within the human body and the Earth itself.
Sara Jeannette Duncan's Cousin Cinderella, published in 1908, is based on the theme of Canada and Empire as played out in the lives of individuals. Duncan deals with the ambivalent attitudes of Canadians towards Britain and the British, and the thin line that Canadians walk between colonialism and budding autonomy. James Morris's Pax Britannia and George Woodcock's Who Killed the British Empire? are useful complements to Duncan's novels, providing historical sources for Duncan's studies of society and social politics that she began in The Imperialist, studies that expose the games of Empire through comedy and farce.
While Douglas Barbour's recent article on Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley (SCL 1.1) stresses the isolation of an individual character, David Canaan, and Claude Bissell's introduction to the novel focuses on its study of human community, the novel can be seen to embody a combination of the two views, in that it expresses a personal and cosmic sense of isolation through the experiences of all the characters. While initially, the separation of the characters is a sign of strength and individuality, as the novel progresses, this separation takes on the qualities of being cut off and adrift, qualities that characterize the isolation typical of much Canadian writing. Characters' relationships to language, emotions and time are considered in order to expose Buckler's expression of a universal condition of isolation.
The typically Canadian tension between the garrison of borrowed culture and the wilderness of Canadian experience, as pointed out by D. G. Jones in Butterfly on Rock, can be seen in Alden Nowlan's early books – The Rose and the Puritan, A Darkness in the Earth, Wind in a Rocky Country, Under the Ice, The Things Which Are, and Bread, Wine, and Salt – as Nowlan breaks through the garrison and into the uncharted Maritime rural consciousness. In four of his early poems – "Warren Pryor," "The Daughter of Zion," "Cousins," and "The Wickedness of Peter Shannon" – archetypal levels of consciousness, from the social rationalism of the light to the passion and imagination of the dark, work together to create original mythical suggestions about not only the psyche and society of the Maritimes, but also the Canadian personality as a whole.
While critics of Duncan Campbell Scott have tended to focus on his poetry, his fiction reveals an overlooked side of Scott that focuses on humanity rather than nature. Five stories – "Vain Shadow," Labrie's Wife," "Vengeance is Mine," "Expiation," and "In the Year 1806," from the collection The Witching of Elspie – bring out, through their primarily male Scottish protagonists, the most subtle and self-torturing situations in which a northern form of Puritanism might embroil itself. These stories move closer towards the modern novel's sense of isolation and crisis of consciousness, with the characters' social and psychological and moral tensions, their struggles with time and memory, holding the reader's attention.
Duncan Campbell Scott's awareness of the imperfections of daily life is exposed in his apocalyptic poem, Powassan's Drum, whose flawed creator, the medicine man Powassan, drums into being a divided and doomed creation. Scott orchestrates a poem that shows humanity's hates and fears working through history, building up to an apocalyptic vision of a divided people unable to act in the face of destruction, and joining nature and humanity together in this cataclysm.
A brief study of formal aspects of Stephen Leacock's Arcadian Adventures – character development, tone, purpose, structure, and plot – reveals their contributions towards a unity of effect. The patterns of paradox and of illusion and reality build up to the final story in which all values are turned upside down, embodying an overall sombre and pessimistic theme.
E. J. Pratt's narrative poem Towards The Last Spike is modelled on the documentary. In this it is unlike either the dramatic Titanic, with its scenes of marine rhetoric and informal conversation interspersed with passages of objective description, or the Virgilian epic Brebeuf And His Brethren. Towards The Last Spike opens with a consideration of the human place in nature, a theme developed through images of transportation and communication, that cable together the general and the specific.
Douglas Barbour's argument in "David Canaan: The Failing Heart," his recent analysis of Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley (SCL 1.1), receives support from several remarks that Ernest Buckler once made about the novel in a letter to Dudley H. Cloud of the Atlantic Monthly Press in 1951. This letter provides an illuminating glimpse of a writer's intentions and adds to a critical argument that opens the way to a new understanding of what Barbour refers to as "one of the best novels of the post-war period."
Charles G. D. Roberts's sonnet sequence in Songs of the Common Day are the poems through which he most successfully explores his central concerns: mutability and his search for endurance and continuity within a world of flux. In this search, he combines concrete imagery descriptive of the New Brunswick landscape and the seasonal cycles with reflection, recollection, and emotional expression.
Stephen Leacock and his biographer, Peter McArthur, worked together at New York's Truth magazine, which McArthur edited between 1895 and 1897. During this time he opened the door to many excellent Canadian artists, including Leacock, Jay Hambidge, Charles G. D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, Duncan Campbell Scott, Archibald Lampman, and Edwyn Sandys. Leacock was to include eighteen of the twenty-six sketches that appeared in Truth in his first book of humour, Literary Lapses, supporting his claim that McArthur helped him bring out his first book. Leacock clearly considered McArthur's interest in his work of singular importance, despite the cursory attention given to McArthur's influence by later biographers.