Canadian Poetry Online | University of Toronto Libraries | F. R. Scott
The verse form entitled “The Canadian Authors Meet” is about the occurrences Work Cited. Scott. F. R. The Canadian Authors Meet. p. Brandon Johnson. Jan 31, Expansive puppets percolate self-unction Beneath a portrait of the Prince of Wales. Miss Crotchet's muse has somehow failed to function, Yet. This is biography by retroactive analysis: the adult satirist with a tendency to shield . And when the last two stanzas of Scott's "The Canadian Authors Meet" are.
The poem itself is satirical in its very structure; Scott uses the simple AB rhyme scheme throughout the poem to mock the simplicity of the poetry to which Canadian poets were bound. The opening lines of the poem set up the setting: The term puppet starts off the poem with a strong image, as puppets are controlled objects, usually by a puppet master.
As a result, puppets cannot think, move, or speak for themselves. Additionally, the act of percolating is to spread an idea through a group of people, while self-unction refers to religious anointment.
In the opening line alone, Scott suggests that the CAA are a group who cannot think for themselves and cannot come up with their own original ideas, which is why they strongly reject modernism. However, they all collectively believe that they are all-knowing and that their opinions are the right ones. The Prince of Wales stands out because the position is one of an heir to the reigning monarch; they do not have power until they take the throne.
Scott has the group meeting underneath a portrait of the Prince of Wales to symbolize that the group may think they are powerful, but they are really only second to actual poets who can create modern art. Scott believed in poetry that was accessible to the masses and that addressed social issues. During his years at Oxford Scott began a journal, source of most of Djwa's accounts of the period; it shows a rather torn young man whose tendency was not to synthesize but to vacillate between the disparate facets of his nature: The second and smaller voice is a private one: His "calendar of events" was similarly doubled: He also enjoyed physical activity" Djwa would want us I think to take this as evidence of Scott's harmonizing and synthetic personality, but her later opinion that such variety of interest reflected "the division between what he saw as the 'aesthete' and the 'philistine' in his own character," a duality that "made him feel guilty" 58suggests not harmony but ambivalence and unease.
Indeed, one of the satiric poems he wrote at Oxford, "The Problem," "makes the same distinction between the active and the contemplative life" But the laughter-inspiring nature of "The Problem" does not so much reconcile as deflect and release the tension, in a pattern of emotional avoidance which Djwa frequently remarks to have been typical of Scott. By the time Scott emerges in adulthood, the "warring opposites of his personality" are clearly etched.
When in he travels to Russia, he feels "divided in his reaction. The poet in him loved the 'vision' of Russia while the intellectual balked at the reality of Russian totalitarianism" During the bombing of London inhe found "The head was in conflict with the heart. Intellectually he had been fighting British imperialism throughout the thirties. Yet despite all Scott's objections to Britam's international policies there persisted his strong love of the country forged in the twenties" The biography's initial vision of a personality in which "concepts often considered opposite.
I highlight this rhetoric not because in any one instance I find it leads to a complete distortion of the apparent facts, but rather because it smacks of Scott's own self-assessments, and those self-assessments smack of rationalization and are unconvincing.
In short, the psychological model glimmering in Djwa's portrait of Scott is a superficial one that will bear little scrutiny. I offer no alternative psychology, but neither my own experience nor that of the people I know with reasonable intimacy could be fairly summarized according to a pair of "warring opposites.
The Canadian Authors Meet Essay Sample - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
Scott was actually a more simply constructed individual than most, or he was an individual who consistently viewed his past experiences in a fairly simplistic framework involving apparent oppositions between the public-political and the private-imaginative man. I doubt the former alternative entirely, and the latter enjoins the Scott biographer to look beyond the apparent structure of the subject-personality to some deeper, perhaps unconscious, psychological phenomena that were consistently triggering the rationalization-into-dichotomy.
This is first to demand, of course, that the dualistic interpretation be seen as a rationalization. Failing this, one must pursue explanations not of the rationalization process but of the two poles of the dichotomy, that is, of the more superficial aspects of the personality.
Thus Djwa has sought, in the early chapters, to illuminate Scott's later personae of artist and politician by locating specific incidents or situations in his past which "caused" their emergence.
The Canadian Authors Meet - Boddunan
The story of his father's poem and the processional cross is one such incident: Cynics may well wonder if Scott was that exemplary choirboy whose thoughts were always centred on his ritual tasks on a Sunday morning, and skeptics may feel uncomfortable with this explication of psycho-spiritual phenomena by causal relation to material phenomena. Significantly, the interpretation of his choir service is documented only by Scott himself, in interviews with his biographer; the biographer has in this instance provided no mediating point of view, whether as cynic, skeptic or researcher.
Other childhood anecdotes are couched in a similar causal rhetoric. On those occasions when Canon Scott would gather his children round to hear his latest poem, "Frank would stand there listening, not knowing quite what to do or how to express his feelings. He learned not to say anything at all, to shy away from demands on his emotional responses, or to deflect them by turning the highly serious into the humorous or satiric" This is biography by retroactive analysis: Again, his father's early morning departures to preach "in all weather" helped "a small boy.
When young Frank played an angel in a nativity play his father had written for Christmas"The tableau gave [him] a poetic sense of the starry heavens and their great distance from earth. He, the younger child, the smallest angel, was absorbing a tangible sense of a relation between the religious infinite and human beings" In these accounts the boy sounds more like a finely tuned receptor of moral exempla than a healthy child.
Not to say that the adult Scott's emotional reticence, spirit of duty and sense of the infinite bear no relation whatsoever to these incidents, but rather that these incidents should not be taken up only insofar as they are explicative of the adult Scott. The child is too obviously and too easily father of the man in The Politics of the Imagination, largely because of a psychological causality that has determined his portrait.
But this is in keeping with the larger purpose of the biography: As a result, by the time we come to the chapters dealing with the mature Scott, he is already too familiar to us: They offer an increasing number of interesting and useful facts, but they do not broaden and deepen our sense of the man.
Should any dichotomy be allowed to stand for the whole of a life in this way? What room is there between politics and imagination for the sexual Scott, for the religious Scott, for Scott the father and husband? These aspects of Scott's life, all alluded to by Djwa, are given markedly short shrift in a biographical structure which alternates regularly between chapters dealing with the poet and chapters dealing with the lawyer-politician.
They also appear to be areas upon which Scott himself was unwilling to touch, and one fears that some of his prudishness and emotional reticence has spilled over into the biographical sensibility of his interlocutor. As a result the biography raises more questions than it answers in these areas: Granted, these are personal questions, some of them pertaining to people still living who have a right to their continuing privacy.
The affairs, for instance, each of which receives a few cryptic lines in Djwa's account, may have been hushed up out of respect to someone's wishes, but we are left with so little information regarding them that we don't even know whether they were platonic or sexual, prolonged or brief, terminated abruptly or continued into later friendship.
The same primness unfortunately shrouds Scott's sexual responses as material for the biogra phy, much as they would have enriched and perhaps worked against the fairly straight-laced implications of Djwa's title. Licentious detail can be avoided without suppressing the implications of Scott's extramarital relationships; they seem a fairly vital part of his personal history and so are necessary to a rounded biography.
Whatever the reasons for their suppression, it is in keeping with the general division of the book into political Scott and imaginative Scott, which tends to peripheralize all personal detail not immediately related to his public works or his literary creativity. As there is a remarkable consonance between Scott's versions of himself and Djwa's, it is not surprising that the vast majority of her documentation is in the form of interviews with Scott and the principal actors in his life.
This essential source-material is supplemented with reference to let ters and diaries and fleshed out with frequent quotation of Scott's publications and of historical documents which illuminate a given period of his life. The painstaking work involved in collecting this material deserves com mendation, but one has the profound impression that the supplementary material was garnered after Djwa's longstanding relationship with Scott had been established.
The impression ought to be the reverse: Only a few contributors actually focus on previously neglected figures or bodies of work: This is particularly true of the essays by D. Klein, by Brian Trehearne on A. Smith, and by Glenn Willmott on Sheila Watson. The Architexts of A.
F. R. Scott : Poems
In particular, while there are dark undertones to the urban landscapes portrayed by Klein and Scott there is a sense of optimism and delight, which is alien to the jaded portrayal by most European modernists of the unreal city as a symbol of spiritual alienation.
It is only in the context of this vision of hope and possibility, rooted in a particular moment of Canadian history, that Scott's architexts can be understood. Smith, but as far removed from his detached eclecticism as it is possible to imagine. Essays by Candida Rifkind on leftist theatre in the s and by Tony Tremblay on the influence of Ezra Pound on Marshall McLuhan and Louis Dudek provide nuanced accounts of how Canadian artists at opposite ends of the political and esthetic spectrum, responded creatively to instances of primarily American modernism.
Her discussion focusses on these forces as she traces the shift from the agitprop theatre of the early thirties influenced by European models to the predominantly naturalist social dramas of the anti-fascist Popular Front which drew heavily on the example of the American Federal Theatre Project.
From this perspective, the experimental theatre of the thirties which draws so heavily on foreign models, both European and American, is not Canadian at all.