SAVAGE FIELDS. An Essay in Literature and Cosmology…
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Dennis Beynon Lee, teacher, editor, critic, poet (b at Toronto 31 Aug 1939). A graduate in English from U of T (BA 1962, MA 1965), Lee has taught or served as writer-in-residence for various universities. A founder and highly praised editor (1967-72) of , he later worked as consulting editor for Macmillan (1974-79) and McClelland and Stewart (1981-84), and also wrote songs, with Phillip Balsam, for the TV program "Fraggle Rock" (1982-86). Lee's prose books include The University Game (ed with H. Adelman, 1968), in which he calls for freedom from inhibiting educational institutions, and Savage Fields: An Essay in Literature and Cosmology (1977). The latter explores the interrelationship between "earth" and "world" - ie, nature and civilization, or instinct and consciousness - all with particular application to a critical analysis of works by and .
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Born during the week between the first Russian and the first American in space, Westbury feels profoundly the influences of technology. The intense implications for the first astronauts in their initial view of terra firma from space, (a blue sphere amidst an unknown void) contains a possible analogy for his personal cosmology; that there is an initial nothingness which remains and everything we do to fill it is provisional and transient. Westbury also carries a hope that there is a basic human good that will triumph (Westbury, 1992). It is in that will which Westbury intends to raise questions, in this case through one of the obvious phenomenons of the age, the proliferation of science and technology. It is potentially one of the essences which form this era. Reflecting this, Westbury's Savage Fields offers, paradoxically, a very quiet "world" view of" earth". The 'savage" is perceived by this reader in the apparent absence of signs of" earth", as well as in the stillness of 'world's' view of "earth", a picture of a moving, living organism ... held.