Harold Innis writes about the economic and social forces that structured Canada. Laurence writes about how we understand these forces, how we perceive our past. The Diviners provides a connection link between Innis' well-known writings on Canadian economic history, and his almost forgotten work on communications. Innis analysed the dominating forces in Canada's past; Laurence discloses not only that domination, but also resistance against it.
Although A.J.M. Smith was the most accomplished poet publishing in Canada from 1924 to the mid-forties, the extraordinary versatility of Smith the metaphysical, the lyricist, the tender ironist, the social satirist, and the translator has not been generally recognized. Smith himself has been characterized as being apart from mainstream Canadian poetry, a "cosmopolitan" rather than "native" poet; and academic, intellectual poet out of touch with contemporary social reality. As a critic of his own poetry, Smith has always discouraged the identification of poet and persona.
Polar oppositions govern Anne Wilkinson's poetry and poetic. By interpreting the themes, images, and symbols aligned with these extremes, we can understand this: Wilkinson's passion is for the quick, the actual lived moment of sensual, phenomenal experience; but that very passion arises from and is sustained by her anxious recognition of the dead, the forces of time and tradition which limit experience and threaten the ecstasy of life-flux. However, her ultra-conscious attempt to seize the instant forces Wilkinson into an awareness of that same instant's passing, and of her inevitable movement toward death.
Robertson Davies frequently stresses the act of evaluation, both for its external and internal ramifications. He emphasises "every man's judgement upon himself," and with the trilogy of Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders, he gives this idea its fullest articulation, while simultaneously developing a conception of truth which makes any kind of judgement uncertain - a conception far removed from that supported by the ironic certainties of his earliest works.
The number of allusions that have been identified in Under the Volcano has reached a total at once impressive and discouraging. It is difficult to discover the central vision that keeps these fragments from flying off in all directions; to what degree is a whollistic approach to the text feasible? By analysing the function of the Platonic heritage in Under the Volcano, it appears that allusion is not a mere technique but an essential part of Lowry's vision.
White Narcissus contains undeniably realistic elements in its description of farm life, but realism is not an adequate category to describe Raymond Knister's novel. The gothic and the grotesque have long traditions in Canadian fiction; White Narcissus contains gothic elements as well as realistic ones. The novel derives much of its power as a picture of life in southwestern Ontario from the tension it sets up between the two ways of seeing the world which these two traditions represent.
John Bently Mays, Frank Davey, and George Amabile participate in what can be called ideological criticism of Canadian poetry: a body of criticism which often not only interprets but also ignores, rejects, and misreads poems and judges poets on philosophical or quasi-philosophical grounds. This kind of criticism undermines the possibility of a sympathetic understanding of the variety of contemporary Canadian poetry. Poets discussed include Margaret Avison, Margaret Atwood, P.K. Page, Phillis Webb, and Gwendolyn MacEwen.
Despite Raymond Souster's acknowledged stature as on e of Canada's leading poets, ever little critical analysis of his poetry has been made. Consequently, basic misconceptions exist, primarily the tendency to consider Souster's poetry as lacking development. Careful reading of the corpus of Souster's work, however, reveals a steadily evolving style determined by historical events at large and movements within the smaller world of poetry.
Close reading of Raymond Knister's White Narcissus reveals a randomness of the narrative's point of view; the reader experiences a sense of dissatisfaction with the novel, mainly due to Knister's lack of adequate control of point of view.
A comparison between Major John Richardson's Wacousta (1832) and Mary Shelley's English Gothic novel Frankenstein (1818) proves fruitful: there are several similarities between Wacousta and the unnamed creature created by Dr. Frankenstein.
In Margaret Atwood's Surfacing, it is the protagonist's goal to come to terms, as best one can, with being human. Atwood attempts to create a bridge between the nonverbal insights gained in a mystical state and the world of logically-orientated consciousness - a merger leading to a radical revision of social relationships.
Previously discussed in P. Monk's article "Psychology and Myth in The Manticore," the discipline of Jungian psychoanalysis is of extreme importance; however, Davies' text is first and foremost a novel and thus requires an examination in literary-critical terms.
Robin Mathew's article on "Malcom's Katie" incorrectly interprets a scene between Katie and Alfred as a sexual assault; however the scene is one of rape only in the etymological sense of "being carried away by force" into the underworld, not rape as a sexual assault.