Daily Archives: August 23, 2010

“Liberalism — The ‘Canadian’ Temperament”


Glen Pearson at his blog The Parallel Parliament cites Frye on Canadian liberalism in a post here.

Money quote:

When Canadian Northrop Frye penned his seminal Divisions on a Ground, he used that very term to describe this very country he appreciated.  While acknowledging the various diverse components struggling to make their way in Canada, he also affirmed that they were in one place – “On A Ground” – and that accommodations were being made.  For that reason, his work was hopeful.

The liberal temperament looks at it the same way.  To live together, temperament matters just as much as policy.  To be decent, tolerant, smart, accommodating, principled and generous has mattered just as much in this country as wealth.  It is who we are and it’s best we get back to it.



An extended excerpt from Abel Gance‘s restored 1927 masterpiece, Napoleon

On this date in 1799 Napoleon left Egypt en route to seize power in France.

Frye in “The Drunken Boat”:

The self-identifying admiration that so many Romantics expressed for Napoleon has much to do with the expression of natural force, creative power, and revolutionary outbreak.  As Carlyle says, in an uncharacteristically cautious assessment of Napoleon: “What Napoleon did will in the long-run amount to what he did justly; what Nature with her laws will sanction.” (The Stubborn Structure, 209)

And here he is in one of the late notebooks on the same quote:

Carlyle said that what Napoleon did will ultimately become what he did justly: people like Napoleon never really do anything, certainly not justly.  They’re thunderstorms in the hell-world.  (CW 6, 672)