Leo Simpson consistently builds upon what has traditionally been one of the enduring strengths of the short story as a form: its capacity to capture and bring into sharp focus crucial junctures that radically alter the course of life. Whatever their scope or tone, all such moments are "comic" in that they reflect the human imperative to adapt to the environment. Simpson's stories, particularly "The Ferris Wheel," "Where Does a Giant Gorilla Sleep," "The Ivy Covered Manner," "The Lady and the Travelling Salesman," and "The Savages," in his collection The Lady and the Travelling Salesman, demonstrate these junctures through collisions between fantasy and reality and through dramatic rhetoric which develops the synechdochal potential of these moments. His use of satire, hyperbole and oxymoron allows the reader to witness characters pushed to surreal extremes and violently juxtaposes a hilarious medium with profoundly ethical messages.
For John Metcalf, the short story is an approximation of poetry, offering, through the subtlety and complexity of its linguistic and imagistic patterns, a brief but intense insight into life at its most fundamental psychological and emotional level. Five stories forming a self-contained sequence in John Metcalf's collection The Teeth of My Father – "The Strange Aberration of Mr. Ken Smythe," "The Practice of the Craft," "Gentle as Flowers Make the Stones," "The Years in Exile," and "The Teeth of My Father" – develop the dilemma of the plight of the artist in terms of either the relationship between the artist and society or between the artist's execution of his craft and his own personal life. Through a consideration of language, image, and point of view, these stories allow us to see a progressive internalization and particularization of the artist's predicament.
The central formal and thematic concern in Michael Ondaatje's work has been the description of internal and external reality as dynamic, chaotic and ambiguous. Michael Ondaatje's collections, The Dainty Monsters and Rat Jelly, and his longer poems, the man with seven toes and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, serve to redefine the reader's sense of reality and create an awareness of this ambiguity and absurdity. In order to confront a reality that at first seems resistant to verbal representation, Ondaatje is compelled towards a dialectic of language and silence that provokes him into an even more ambitious poetry that re-enacts the confrontations between life and art.
Isabella Valancy Crawford's major poem Malcolm's Katie, a central work in the English Canadian literary tradition, is remarkably modern in its concepts of wealth, power, capital, exploitation, and environment, yet the values expressed are clearly those of the majority of the people in Crawford's nineteenth-century Canada. As a poem about nation-building, it is connected to Susanna Moodie's Roughing It in the Bush and to Hugh MacLennan's Barometer Rising through its linking of nation, the individual, love, and community fulfilment. This link is developed through a portrayal of the self-respect and freedom realized through land ownership, a portrayal it shares in common with poems such as Oliver Goldsmith's The Rising Village, Alexander McLachlan's "Acres of His Own," and Moodie's "Canada, The Blest – The Free."
Malcolm Lowry's six published novels, Under the Volcano, Ultramarine, Lunar Caustic, Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid, October Ferry to Gabriola, and Hear us O Lord from heaven thy dwelling place, along with his two unfinished works, The Ordeal of Sigbjorn Wilderness, and La Mordida, were to comprise Lowry's projected masterwork entitled The Voyage that Never Ends. His metaphysic describing reality as a perpetual flow and motion working in accordance with an unchanging law of change is not only embodied in the structure of the Voyage cycle and within individual novels, but in his style through sentence structure, syntax, verb tense, and punctuation. Thus, Lowry can be seen to develop his belief that the voyage is a quest without a final goal, and one which exposes a search for reality and for methods of knowing that reality within life and art.
Robertson Davies's The Manticore, the second novel in his Deptford trilogy, both sets up a Jungian frame of reference and undercuts it. Davies, far from committing himself to Jungian theory, reveals a profound ambivalence about its value, an ambivalence explored primarily through his main character, David Staunton. While David initially involves himself with Jungian analysis, his later relationship with Liesl provides a counter-theory to Jung's, as she questions the analytic process and provides an alternative means through which David can experience a sense of the numinous. While Davies's use of Jungian psychology ironically undercuts its worth as a formula for meeting life, the final irony is that the ambivalence about the Jungian formula is, at its roots, Jungian itself.
Through multiple narrators and interrelated, cyclical stories, Dave Godfrey's The New Ancestors introduces the reader to nonlinear processes of perception, to the idea that all telling modifies what is being told, and to the fact that what is told is always the telling. The juxtapositional quality of Godfrey's work has its roots in Henry James and Virginia Woolf, but is more closely aligned with the French nouveau roman as exemplified by Robbe-Grillet and a form of mythopoeia explicated by the structuralism of Roland Barthes and anthropological writings of Claude Levi-Strauss and Mircea Eliade. Godfrey suggests that by bringing the past to life through memory, archetype, and myth, humanity can find the stable patterns that will guide it in the present and provide a basic framework through which it can approach an uncertain future.
Nineteenth-century subscription publishing, an overlooked aspect of Canadian publishing history, led to the establishment of a once-vigorous Canadian publishing industry which might be said to constitute in many respects the germ of Canada's twentieth-century publishing structure. An investigation reveals post-Confederation marketing by US publishers who avoided tax duties under the disguise of Canadian imprints based in smaller population centres such as Paris, Ontario or London, Ontario. The 1897 Duties of Customs Act ended the import of these reading materials and led to the increased licensing of US publishers, integrating them into the Canadian publishing scene and its normal trade channels.
Leonard Cohen's transformation of poem into song has interesting aesthetic implications. Line elision, addition and subtraction of words, and the introduction of repetition, all of which allows for standardization of metre and a shift to the more casual conversation of the song, makes the pieces tighter and more aesthetically rewarding, while demonstrating Cohen's capacity for revision.
Charles Sangster's unpublished work, Norland Echoes and Other Strains and Lyrics and The Angel Guest and Other Poems and Lyrics, reveals the development of his creative power in the second part of his life. Before the discovery of these manuscripts, all scholars have worked with texts that Sangster later revised or discarded, and thus their presence begs for a new and comprehensive appraisal of his complete work.
An astrological analysis of events in Robertson Davies's Deptford trilogy, inspired by Jungian studies on synchronicity, discovers the "meaningful coincidence" in the trilogy and links the stone hidden in Boy Staunton's youthful snowball to his death nearly sixty years later. This analysis suggests the range of coincidence that can be discovered by the discriminating reader.
Clues to the identity of Audrey Thomas's Miss Miller of Blown Figures can be found in Jung's account of his analytical work with a young American woman, known by the pseudonym of Frank Miller, who formed the basis for Thomas's character. In a 1975 interview, Thomas herself acknowledges the importance of Jung. The two Miller women meet similar ends not only as victims of the real world, but also as prey to the demons of their own inner worlds.
A brief response to Bruce MacDonald's article (SCL 1.2) points out the necessity for a range of critical response and discovers similarities within differing views of Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and The Valley, contributing to a movement towards a consensus concerning the novel.
A reply to Stan Dragland's article (SCL 1.2) offers a brief explication of some of the meanings and functions of Archibald Lampman's frogs and toads. The value of Lampman's poetry does not lie in a "realistic" but metaphorical presentation of natural scenery. Frogs serve as representations of the poet and his sought ideal.