New Facts and Old Fictions : Some Notes on Patrick Anderson, 1945 and En Masse

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New Facts and Old Fictions : Some Notes on Patrick Anderson, 1945 and En Masse
The British-born and Oxford-educated poet Patrick Anderson (1915-1979) taught at Montreal's Selwyn House School from 1940 to 1946 and at McGill University between 1948 and 1950. In 1942, Anderson and Frank Scott founded the Montreal-based literary magazine "Preview". According to the author, "Anderson returned to Canada in October of 1971, twenty-one years after a somewhat sudden departure which had caught unawares both the English Department at McGill University and the circle of friends in the literary community of Montreal in which he had established himself with ease and considerable assurance. He returned as a result of a privately-issued invitation to read and visit at several eastern universities, and this visit not only renewed Anderson's old friendships, but it provided him with an opportunity to re-engage, as it were, with the literary scene with which his name had become associated. He discovered, for example, that 'his' period in Montreal had become part of literary history, and since he disagreed with some of the constructions put upon the events of that time, Anderson proceeded to attempt a recasting of the record. This was carried out in various ways: in private conversations during the first and a subsequent visit to Canada in 1973; in an article of bemused reminiscence which he published in the Spring 1973 issue of Canadian Literature; and in a long and diffident interview which he gave to Seymour Mayne, and which appeared in the Fall 1974 issue of Inscape. In all of this Anderson seemed to be chiefly concerned with two points. The first of these had to do with the emphasis which had been placed upon the cultural, social and literary differences between the groups responsible for Preview and First Statement by Wynne Francis in her article in Canadian Literature, Autumn 1962, and by Dudek and Gnarowski in The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada (1967). The second point concerned the winding up of Preview and the eventual absorption of its editorial board into the group which went on to edit Northern Review. Here again, Anderson's sense of history was offended by the suggestion that a more dynamic — and ultimately, more influential — First Statement had absorbed a somewhat bag vigorous Preview. It might repay documenting, therefore, certain emerita of 1945 which were contributory to the decline of Preview, and which, eventually, carried Anderson onto the editorial board of Northern Review; events, it should be added, about which Anderson even in the full flow reminiscence showed himself to be curiously spotty."
Canadian Poetry : Studies, Documents, Review
No. 6
Gnarowski, Michael. “New Facts and Old Fictions : Some Notes on Patrick Anderson, 1945 and En Masse.” Canadian Poetry : Studies, Documents, Review No. 6 (1980): 61–68.
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