University of Toronto Quarterly

Published by University of Toronto Press
Online ISSN: 1712-5278
Print ISSN: 0042-0247
The Wake of Wellington takes as its subject not Wellington the man, but the way in which the Iron Duke was used, represented, and mythologized after his death. Three meanings of wake are invoked – vigil and requiem, the track left by someone's passing, and the act of awakening – as Sinnema explores Wellington's treatment in genres spanning novels, biography, memoirs, and the newspaper press; the duke's participation in the Great Exhibition of 1851; the immediate reaction to his death in 1852; the public spectacle of his funeral; and his 'posthumous commodification.' He reflects on the Irish reaction (Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, was born in Dublin) and concludes with a chapter on the fate of Matthew CotesWyatt's equestrian statue of the hero of Waterloo. The question considered is thus not, who was Wellington? but, what purposes did Wellington serve? More specifically, how did his cultural afterlife contribute to the 'self-imagining' of mid-Victorian England? How were his life and death configured as part of a nation's attempt to define itself? In arguing for Wellington's 'posthumous symbolization as a rallying sign for the English nation' Sinnema's study falls within the broader literature devoted to English character and identity. As Paul Langford reminds us (in Englishness Identified: Manners and Character 1650–1850 [2000]), Englishness is a relatively modern concept. The word does not appear to have been used before 1805, and judging by Langford's sources, until the nineteenth century, attempts at defining English characteristics tended to be made by foreigners rather than the English themselves. Domestic reflection on national identity, according to Peter Mandler (in The English National Character: The History of an Idea from Edmund Burke to Tony Blair [2006]), dates from the early Victorian decades and is linked to the stirrings of democracy. Although Mandler himself scarcely mentions Wellington, his study establishes that by the time of the duke's death the English had spent roughly two decades reflecting on their character, and it is thus not surprising that the passing of a military hero would be drawn into that discourse. This case study of Wellington, seen through 'the lens of death,' reveals the way in which his story was moulded and cast in accordance with mid-Victorian conceptions of the English people and nation. Sinnema provides fascinating insight into the process by which an Anglo-Irishman assumed Englishness and was appropriated (with some whitewashing of his personal life, and despite his political reputation) as a quintessential Englishman, the embodiment of the English traits of 'simplicity of character, common sense, and the veneration of duty,' whose 'death celebrations staged Englishness, London, and the [English] nation.' The chapter devoted to Ireland's 'narrative binary,' in which Wellington was denounced and reviled as English by some and claimed as an Irish hero by others, is also compelling. Oddly absent from this study, however, is any overt discussion of the relationship between Englishness and Britishness. While English is by far the more frequently used term throughout the book, British is sometimes substituted, implying, even if inadvertently, that the two terms are interchangeable. They may indeed have been used as such at the time of Wellington's death: Mandler comments that by the mid-Victorian decades the English were prone to define Britain as England. The non-English components of Great Britain, however, were unlikely to have made the same equation, while Sinnema's own research indicates that the Scots distanced themselves from the English cult ofWellington. And even if the mid-Victorian English were inclined to conflate the two terms, this practice cannot today be reproduced or followed without comment. That English and British are once again being distinguished, however, only demonstrates that Englishness, as Sinnema notes, is not a fixed identity but 'a site of contestation,' and a 'historically contingent' site at that.
In a previous article, "Unjustifiable Expectations: Laying to Rest the Ghosts of Allotment-Era Settlers," I argued that a review of historical newspaper articles showed that the expectations of non-Indians who purchased lands on Sioux reservations in South Dakota during the allotment-era as to tribes’ disappearing were not justifiable because they were rooted in an expectation of continued injustice towards tribes. I thus concluded that the Supreme Court should not presume that these allotment-era settlers had justifiable expectations when it decides reservation diminishment and tribal jurisdiction cases. This article addresses whether allotment-era literature pertaining to Sioux peoples can similarly help inform such cases. Although the results were more mixed, particularly with non-Indian-authored fiction, the works of Native writers such as Luther Standing Bear, Charles Eastman, and Zitkala-Ša were helpful in explicating the injustices in the federal government’s land dealings with tribes, as was a work by non-Native historian Doane Robinson.
'Never again will a single story be told as though it were the only one.' John Berger's (1972) observation provides a fitting epigraph to Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion – one of the five exemplary texts discussed in Gordon Bölling's study – but it might as well set the tone for the overall approach of History in the Making. The gist of Bölling's analysis of 'Metafiktion im neueren anglokanadischen historischen Roman' ('Metafiction in the Contemporary Anglo-Canadian Historical Novel') can indeed be described as an argument for the plurality of history/histories, which goes hand in hand with the recovery and revaluation of formerly silenced or marginalized perspectives. Bölling's choice of novels, all of which were published in the 1980s or 1990s, aims at a representative variety: Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace (1996) reviews the dramatic case of historical figure Grace Marks, tried for double murder in the 1840s; a completely different kind of female perspective is offered in Carol Shields's The Stone Diaries (1993) on the seemingly unassuming life of a white middle-class wife and mother; Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion (1987) gives voice to the immigrant experience of his working-class heroes who built Toronto's monumental Bloor Street Viaduct in the 1910s; Timothy Findley's Famous Last Words (1981) and Anne Michaels's Fugitive Pieces (1996) transcend the Canadian setting for an international historical context, engaging, respectively, with literary modernism under the spell of European fascism and with the memory of the Holocaust in the lives of a survivor and a Canadian-born second-generation character. What ties these heterogeneous examples together in Bölling's line of argument is, first, their partaking in the longstanding genre of the historical novel, and second, their transformation of the genre through a pronounced staging of metafictionality, i.e., the use of literary techniques that underscore the fictional status of a given text. Bölling thus classifies the metafictional historical novel as a subgenre of the historical novel (in fact tracing metafictional aspects all the way to the genre's invention in the writings of Sir Walter Scott) and shows how metafiction works to problematize the representation of historical events, particularly if this representation lays claim to being authoritative. In the introductory chapters, which establish the study's theoretical, methodological, and terminological premises, Bölling – drawing on concepts developed by Werner Wolf (1993) and Ansgar Nünning (1995) – is quick to assert his deviation from the seminal work of Linda Hutcheon on 'historiographic metafiction.' He finds the term of little use for his purposes, as it is embedded in the specific discourse of Hutcheon's 'poetics of postmodernism' and inextricably linked to the flourishing of metafictional strategies during the heydays of postmodernism in the 1960s and 1970s. In view of the wide spectrum of contemporary novels – from experimental to more traditionally mimetic, (neo)realist texts – in which metafiction reveals the constructedness of historical narratives, the step beyond Hutcheon is only reasonable. It is interesting, and certainly also convenient, to argue, as Bölling does, for a return to the much more encompassing concept of the historical novel instead. However, the question remains whether this broad term and the concomitant expansion of subsumable literary texts can be sufficiently backed up by Bölling's recurring observation that there is a great variety in form, content, and function among contemporary Anglo-Canadian novels with a historical focus of varying degrees. Atwood, Ondaatje, Findley, and Michaels – with their fusion of historical and fictional characters and their focus on well-established historical events – seem to fulfill tacitly the genre's somewhat hazy requirements. But the inclusion of Shields's fictional autobiography – as engaging and innovative as this reading may be – warranted a more refined functional definition of the historical novel and also the elaboration of a firmer methodological stance in the introductory chapters, in order to make a fully convincing case for The Stone Diaries' selection (and not some other text from the repertoire of...
Cites examples from Austen, Melville, Bloy, Mallarme, and others to show how the animus against the stage and . . .against theatricality. . .reflects a continuing self-criticism of a permanent aspect of ourselves." (Author/SP)
Describes the influence of Blake on Unamuno and the aesthetic correspondences" between them. (Author/SP)
One can distinguish between two kinds of literary caricature: the first may be called the caricature of "likeness"; the second, that of "equivalence." It is the caricature of likeness that most critics have had in mind when they have used the term in, generally, a pejorative sense. Caricature then implies exaggeration, crudity, eccentric romantic inflation, a grotesque sketching of outer appearance that misses, by being superficial, the essential character. At best it is regarded as a technique related to Ruskin's notion of the grotesque with all of its suggestion of a weakness within the caricaturist.
Contemporary hopes for China’s peaceful rise, the continuing global reverberations of the end of the Cold War, and, most importantly for an opera crafted in a distinctly American musical idiom, profound questions concerning the systemic power and role of the United States – all help Nixon in China draw an expanding audience. That the opera has entered the canon is partly because the complexity of Nixon’s character suggests the insecurity of global political leadership in our own day. Understanding the context within which it was first created may be useful, but the opera’s broader themes resonate more deeply with the human experience in a rapidly changing world.
Since the death of Albert Bèguin and the retirement of Marcel Raymond, Georges Poulet has emerged as the leader of an important group of literary critics who are bound somewhat loosely together by common methodological presuppositions. The group is sometimes called 'The Geneva School,' since most of its members have been associated in one way or another with the University of Geneva. The group includes Jean Rousset, Jean Starobinski, and Jean-Pierre Richard as well as the three older critics already mentioned. This essay is an attempt to assess the significance of the many books and essays Poulet has published since 1963. I shall also set Poulet's criticism tentatively against the challenging new developments in literary criticism appearing now in Paris under the impact of structuralism and current reinterpretations of Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud.
James Aitken (1752–77), a Scot better known as 'John the Painter,' achieved a brief notoriety for his attempts to burn down Britain's six royal dockyards in 1776–77 in support of the American revolutionary war. An unlucky and not particularly competent arsonist, he managed to do no more than set fire to the ropehouse in Portsmouth, although he did put the commercial port of Bristol in fear by lighting fires along the waterfront that caused greater damage. Substantial rewards were offered for his capture and Aitken was soon tried and executed for his crimes. The progress of the war then diverted public attention from his exploits, and he was largely forgotten. In The Incendiary Jessica Warner has rescued him from the obscurity he so loathed. Warner's biography is in part a work of imaginative reconstruction: when Aitken 'vanishes from sight,' she draws on social history and accounts written by contemporaries to fill in the gaps. But The Incendiary is not merely biography. Aitken's story – the picaresque adventures of an anti-hero, a failure – is an interesting one, but in the course of telling it Warner also offers those unfamiliar with eighteenth-century life or criminal justice history a glimpse into a different world, introducing her readers to policing, trial, and punishment, as well as the life of the labouring classes, at the time of the American Revolution. Precisely why Aitken was drawn to the American cause is unknown. Warner casts him as a 'Romantic revolutionary,' a figure who united Enlightenment ideas with a Romantic determination to refashion them 'in his own image.' In the title of her book he is also identified as the 'first modern terrorist,' but this seems little more than a marketing ploy. There is no sustained engagement with the issue of terrorism in her text, nor does Warner attempt to substantiate the claim that Aitken was first in the field. If the terrorist link seems contrived, The Incendiary succeeds in revealing the frustrated ambitions of someone born into the ranks of the poor who glimpsed, through books, another, more desirable world to which he was denied entry. Aitken was educated at Heriot's Hospital in Edinburgh, where he acquired a love of books; but at age fourteen the school authorities decided that he had not distinguished himself sufficiently to be sent on to university. He was instead apprenticed to a house painter, an occupation that consigned him not merely to intellectual boredom but to continued poverty, ill health (most painters succumbed to lead poisoning), and an early death. Warner compares Aitken to Jude the Obscure; I was reminded of a nineteenth-century criminal, Hilda Blake. Gender and geography divide their experience: Blake, a Norfolk working-class orphan fostered in Manitoba, murdered her mistress in the hope of assuming her place as wife and mother rather than attempting to burn down towns; Blake's reading material consisted of nineteenth-century romantic novels rather than Enlightenment philosophers and political tracts. But like Aitken she was restless and dissatisfied with her lot; she too craved attention and resorted to force to achieve it, and like Aitken she was hanged. No one would help me, Blake raged in an autobiographical poem written while she was in prison. Nor had anyone helped Aitken. He was never able to earn a living as a painter and always had to supplement his income by theft. His consistent attempts to dress above his station earned only mockery. He longed to become a commissioned officer, but a commission was out of the question for someone of his social status. Aitken was 'an ordinary man, and a poorly behaved one at that.' Yet in Warner's version of his life he also epitomizes the wasted potential and blighted hopes of so many of his class. The Incendiary was written for the general public rather than an academic or specialist audience, and it suffers from minor but unnecessary repetition of information (often in almost identical wording) which should have been caught and corrected at the editing stage. But it is a good story, one...
As early as 1928, Virginia Woolf began to formulate in several essays her conception of a new kind of fiction which would combine elements of drama, poetry, and the novel.' Although she had no name for this new form, she saw clearly and stated repeatedly that it could not be called a novel. While she was writing Orlando, she twice recorded her certainty that she would never write a novel again; and in the manuscript of The Waves she scribbled at one point the following request: "The author would be glad if the following pages were not read as a novel." After The Waves had been published, she looked ahead and recorded her intention to "write another four novels: Waves, I mean" (p. 178, 13 Jan. 1932); as if to say that, since this new form of fiction had no proper name of its own, she would call it, for her own purposes, by the name of the work which was her first attempt to create it on a large scale. All this evidence only verifies what the text of The Waves makes manifest on every page — that it is a radically a-novelistic work of fiction and that attempts to regard it as a novel will yield very little. For this reason such critical terms as "plot," "character," and "setting" are the wrong instruments for exploring its nature as fiction.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1956.
Reviews of scholarship in the social sciences in Canada in 1949.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1958.
Reviews of books on nature published in Canada in 1974.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1966.
Assistant Professor of English, McMaster University Wounded Fiction: Modern Poetry and Deconstructon (1988)
“Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men, they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers or physicians.” This statement of John Stuart Mill, which might have ended with a reference to manufacturers or businessmen, ought to be carefully considered by university administrators and by business leaders. In these days of pressure for education in business administration, it is well to consider whether the university in performing its ancient function of liberal education may not in fact provide a better education for business than can be provided by some of the newfangled courses in Business Administration. I shall argue that modern business needs to recruit educated men and should not worry about what they are educated in. But while business needs educated men it also needs trained men: some of this training is properly the function of the technical institutes (e.g., Ryerson), or of the business itself; but some of it is properly undertaken in the university. This I shall argue should be more “education” than “training” if it is to justify a place in the university alongside the other and older professional faculties. I believe such education should be undertaken with mature students in the Graduate School, or in special “development” courses for experienced executives on the model of the “staff colleges” of the armed services.
Reviews of social studies published in Canada in 1951.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1964.
Reviews of scholarship in the social sciences published in Canada in 1950.
Reviews of books on nature published in Canada in 1975.
Books in this section commonly fall into two categories: those dealing with one or other aspect of Canada and its development, and those dealing with themes unrelated to Canada. The former are inevitably the more numerous, and for this reason alone command more of the limited space available in this survey. We are also perhaps justified in giving somewhat more attention to the studies concerned with Canada, for only in the journals of this country are they likely to receive appropriate consideration. Learned books by Canadians on other lands and other themes will usually receive due assessment abroad, but here we are not ignoring their appearance, for the scholarly pursuit of subjects beyond the national boundaries is evidence of a growing maturity and vitality in Canadian social study.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1962.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1959.
Reviews of books on nature published in Canada in 1972.
Reviews of books about social studies published in Canada in 1959.
Reviews of books on nature published in Canada in 1968.
Department of Modern Languges, King's College, University of Western Ontario
Henry of Ghent (d. 1293) was the most significant and influential thinker in the period of extraordinary philosophical and theological activity in the two or so decades between the death of Thomas Aquinas the earliest teaching of Duns Scotus. Henry's influence on this latter thinker is well known, and the current study locates another such area of influence: the meta-metaphysical question of the proper subject of metaphysics. Medieval debates on the question of the subject of metaphysics prior to Duns Scotus are usually presented as an attempt to decide between two interpretations of Aristotle's claim that the subject of metaphysics is being (interpretations that both find plausible support in Aristotle): that metaphysics is the study of material substance, or that it is the study of God. Scotus, it is alleged, explicitly challenged both claims: metaphysics is the study of being as being, but the concept of being is univocal and thus includes both God and material substance under its extension. Pickavé shows that Scotus's main insight - that the subject of metaphysics is being as being, and that being as being can include both God and creatures under its extension - is clearly defended in Scotus's most important source, Henry of Ghent, albeit in the absence of Scotus's later claim that the concept of being needs to be univocal in order for such an account to be cogent. On this latter question, Henry holds that a univocal concept of being in this context would require something really in common between God and creatures - a commonality that Henry understandably wants to deny. But the truly innovative aspect of Pickavé's study is his grasp of the ways in which two seemingly conflicting claims in Henry can be appropriately reconciled, without doing violence to the text. The issue has long been known, and it bears directly on the meta-metaphysical question highlighted above. Henry claims that being as such is the subject of metaphysics, and he claims that the subject of metaphysics is the first thing humans conceptualize. Now, Henry sometimes apparently claims that the first thing that humans conceptualize is God - and the conjunction of these claims suggests that being as such should be identified as God, in conflict with the claim that being as such should be identified as the analogical concept including both God and creatures in its extension. Pickavé's detailed reading of the text solves the problem: being is the first thing we conceptualize distinctly, but any conception of being involves a prior indistinct conception of God. The idea is that we can conceptualize being determinately (as realized in this or that creature); or with privative indetermination (abstracting from its realization in this or that creature); or with negative indetermination (being as realized in God). And indeterminate conceptualization precedes determinate conceptualization, and negative-indeterminate conceptualization precedes privative-indeterminate conceptualization (for reasons that Henry does not go far towards specifying). And this - whatever its philosophical merits - shows at the very least that Henry's account of the first thing conceptualized is not evidently inconsistent. This is all of more than mere academic interest. Identifying being as such, somehow realized in both creature and God, as the subject of metaphysics, underlies the development of Continental Rationalism after Leibniz, and its distinction of general metaphysics, or ontology (being as such), from special metaphysics (the study of ways in which different sorts of things are). Henry, then, was the pioneer on a path that led to considerable philosophical benefits - even if one that was later problematized by Kant. Of all significant medieval philosophers, Henry remains perhaps the least studied relative to his historical significance and philosophical importance. The reason is not hard to see: his corpus is massive, even by medieval standards, and philosophically and stylistically dense. Pickavé is pre-eminent among those who have in-depth knowledge of this important thinker, and this book will secure his reputation. Richard Cross, Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
Top-cited authors
Yasmin Jiwani
  • Concordia University Montreal
Allison Crawford
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Ruth Leys
  • Johns Hopkins University
Jill Matus
  • University of Toronto
Harold Schweizer
  • Bucknell University