Monday, July 11, 2011

In the Journals

The state of book reviewing is not entirely dire, despite what you no longer see in the papers.

The Literary Review of Canada has been keeping on with long-form reviews of scholarship and journalism on public policy, literature and the arts for twenty years now, in print and lately online.  It now has a new imitator or rival, The Dorchester Review that launched in the spring of 2011.  

The DR is named, not for the New Brunswick penitentiary or the Montreal street that now honours René Lévesque, but for the man himself, Thomas Carleton, Lord Dorchester:
In our choice of a moniker and historical patron we take the name of a bewigged British soldier, an astute and unapologetic colonial governor from the pre-democratic era, in order to underline that history consists of more than a parade of secular modern progressives building a distinctively Canadian utopia. 
Just how the DR and the LRC may differ on questions of secular modern progress may be suggested by the way the current issues of each have covered a recent historical work, John Ralston Saul's biography LaFontaine and Baldwin.  The Dorchester Review review is by Chris Champion. The DR is not making it available online, but it was recently summed up in an enthusiastic plug for the magazine entitled "New Journal Sets Canadian History Right," by a former Canadian, the prominent American conservative strategist and blogger David Frum:
One of the most exciting articles in the journal is Chris Champion’s hanging, drawing, and quartering of John Ralston Saul’s book on the attainment of responsible government by the province of Canada in 1848. (Actually, Champion does not stop at the quartering: He incinerates the remains and then stamps on the dust.)
 The Literary Review review of Saul on LaFontaine and Baldwin is by, well, me, Christopher Moore.  It is not included in the online edition of the latest LRC, but it is in the print one, and  it's available online here.

Opportunities to compare and contrast would seem to abound.
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