From Oxford to Montreal:

Patrick Anderson's
Political Development

by Patricia Whitney


"He was quite impressive, brilliant, a great talker, a real personality, and made much of by the people at Preview; within that limited circle, they were just as enthusiastic about him as later masses of kids were about Leonard Cohen. It's the same quality of undiluted admiration and praise."1 So has Louis Dudek described Patrick Anderson. Yet in spite of Anderson's undoubted effect on the development of poetry in the Montreal of the 1940s, little sustained critical attention has been paid him. In 1971, Michael Gnarowski, his interest piqued by this man who had become something of a poet of beloved memory, arranged for Anderson to visit Montreal and Ottawa. Seymour Mayne interviewed Anderson at that time and later published this document in Inscape. Here and there Anderson's name cropped up, but he was in fact almost forgotten as Canadian literature entered its period of renaissance.

To be sure, some Canadian friends maintained their ties: his patron Alison Palmer of Westmount; the Halifax writer and journalist, Marjory Whitelaw; fellow Preview-poet Neufville Shaw, now living in elegant retirement at Stanstead, P.Q. and in the south of France; the late F.R. Scott — all these remembered Patrick. For the majority of us, however, Anderson had become a name in anthologies, his early poetry long out of print. Yet for all that — the fading memories, the vague recollections of Anderson as writer, editor and committed Marxist, the anecdotes dredged up from forty-odd years ago — Anderson was a poet, specifically a Canadian poet. As Dudek has written: "Canada's air of beginning took Patrick by the heels and swept him off his feet" (unpublished poem). Is it this fact, that this Oxford-educated man who passed less than a decade in this country, yet claimed and valued not only his Canadian citizenship but also the very fact of Canada, that has bothered us? Does Anderson in his work perhaps remind us, only too plainly and painfully, of our so-recent colonial past? Of our own ambivalence toward this country? He is far enough away in time to forget, yet near enough to be something of an embarrassment, to remind us only too obviously of our susceptibility to foreign influence. Even so distinguished and beloved a figure as F.R. Scott was not exempt from the "fatal lure" of this product of the "home country". In any case, it is useful to remind ourselves, on the 40th anniversary of the end of Preview and of the short life of En Masse, the two significant periodicals edited by Anderson, of who this man was, from whence he came, and of what he accomplished during his years among us.

Patrick John McAlister Anderson arrived in Montreal in the autumn of 1940 to be interviewed by Selwyn House School, and in late September of the same year took up his duties as a schoolmaster, a post he held for six years. For the next decade he exerted an enormous influence on those he met in the many worlds he occupied: his students at Selwyn House and later at McGill; the poets and writers he drew together around Preview (1942-45) and En Masse (1945); the painters he met, through his own interests in the graphic arts and those of his American wife, Marguerite Doernbach ("Peggy") Anderson; and the politically-committed left-wing element in Montreal.

Photographs taken at the time show Anderson to have been a tall, rather wiry-looking man, energetic (fuelled by endless cups of tea and by his tremendous need to act: to write, to encourage ferment artistic, intellectual, political). As he wrote to F.R. Scott from England in 1953:


By being civilized, I mean being a full outward-looking artist in almost the Goethe sense a teacher, a bit of a politician, an owner of a piece of land, a conversationalist and social mover, above all a critic.2


One needs, however, to look back to Anderson's formative years to attempt to understand at least some of the influences that went into shaping Anderson's personality, and to grasp the sources of his public confidence, his effectiveness and his will to action.

Anderson, the only son of Kathleen Mary Jackson and Alexander Colin Anderson, ORE., was born in Ashstead, Surrey on August 4, 1915. Known as `Jock' as a boy, he spent his earliest life in the newly formed Soviet Union3 (his father was a civil engineer who frequently spent long periods abroad), but passed a conventional childhood in England, attending prep school at Tre-Arddur Bay, Holyhead, and public school at Sherborne. (Another old Shirburnian of note was Alec Waugh, who wrote The Loom of Youth [1917], notorious as a novel exposing the hypocrisy of denying the love affairs going on at Sherborne between young men of seventeen and eighteen years with the younger boys. For his pains Waugh's name, and that of his father, was struck from the roll of the Old Shirburnian Society. Cecil Day-Lewis, another old boy, preceded Anderson to Oxford, becoming a highly-committed political poet at University.) Anderson was a successful school-boy. He wrote his first poem at age ten, winning his place at Sherborne by composing a poem in Spenserian stanzas instead of sitting the Latin examination .4 He became the "school poet"5 and spent the years 1929-34 in Dorset taking prizes in verse, literature and modern history and winning a school-leaving exhibition in English and an open scholarship in History.

In the autumn of 1934, Anderson entered Worcester College, Oxford, and soon began to keep the journals that became a life-long habit. It was in this prose that Anderson sought the identity and self-knowledge he craved; his private papers show a paradoxical man, given to self-pity at times, but one vigorously self-critical, determined to behave well and to write to a very high standard indeed. In the summer of 1935, on the verge of leaving adolescence, he wrote of being "scarcely [able] to put a name to oneself":


Patrick Anderson yes. Nearly twenty years old . . . a fat baby, delivered into the world as the result of a legitimate copulation, and subsequently starved in Russia; a dirty complexion, a large elaborately coarse nose; physique, whose salient points remain unsatisfactory - only too true; a half-fledged politician, a writer of love poems without any but a hypothetical mistress, a bit of an actor, an adept in pornography.6


As with many undergraduates, Anderson's preoccupations were with anything but his studies. He wrote as a young man alive to his own sexuality. An admirer of male beauty, he remarks in his Journal "a beautifully strong young boy, nice to look at in the bathroom". (Journal, fol. 1-2). Reflecting on his days at Sherborne, he spoke of his "sentimental sexual inversion . . . . But then I long also, and have longed, and will go on longing for girls" (Journal, fol. 4). Politics were an equally keen interest: "Today I had coffee with a budding political person pleasant face, red tie, faint accent and all with the name of Smith. He's a Socialist, which is horrible, because I invariably get all aristocratic, Carlton [Club] and mystical when I advance the weary cause in answer to them. . ." (Journal, fol. 7). At this point Anderson was a progressive Conservative, but no stereotypical Tory. His discomfort with the young man Smith, .for example, was less a matter of politics than of social class. Anderson was, tentatively, joining the current of the'Thirties in Britain where "political and aesthetic dreams somehow blended together, so that the sectarian Communist was to lie down with unpolitical aesthete."7

In May of 1936, Anderson delivered an attack on the colour bar of the Carlton Club, of which he was a member: "I say" he confided to his Journal, "it was a high minded and courageous action ...."8 Shortly after congratulating himself on his broad-minded position on racial equality, Anderson recorded with glee that "I have been elected treasurer of the Union"; he looked forward to the next term with "lovely digs" and "a progressive Conservative group behind me."9 During a summer of idyllic travel following upon his triumphant election to his first post in the Oxford Union Society, Anderson wrote with equal passion about the state of society: "I have a horror, and more than that, a real, sincere ghastly fear of the complacency of my country, its stodginess, sublimations, constipations . . . Aristotle praised passions in a society; we have little of that." He also wrote about the handsome boys of the continent: "Capri grows more sacred every day: best memories of my town a boy's legs at Arles as he fished on the Rhine."10

For all the pleasures of his vacation, his time on the continent seemed to have provoked his fear of war, a fear that would grow even more pronounced and result in a position of pacificism and in what Anderson himself called his "war neurosis."11 Later that summer, at Tre-Arddur Bay he wrote: "Wouldn't the world be lovely . . . if not for the fear of war . . . war is so intensely personal, a nightmare only truly real to the child in the ruffled sheets. How can a Conservative be a pacifist? How can a coward and a lover of life be anything else?" He began to read more about Europe and to dwell on the darkening climate, observing what he called "the terrible and yet fascinating oddness of things; hero-worship, homosexuality, the exasperating retreat into violence Nazism on one side and Stalin on the other . . . . The international situation is as much psychological as economic. There is more than a hint of lunacy about something grey-green and weird on the horizon" (Journal, fol. 37). Once the Michaelmas Term was underway, Anderson spent less time brooding on the appalling world situation of 1936 (the Spanish Civil War underway, the Jarrow Crusade of the unemployed advancing toward London, the horrifying enthusiasm for Fascism embodied in the person of Sir Oswald Mosley in the United Kingdom and Hitler himself in Germany), and more time on realizing and savouring his political ambitions. He spoke at Oxford on aristocracy and at Cambridge on the Novel. He entertained Sir Winston Churchill (he was in the chair in his capacity as President of the Conservative Association) at the largest meeting "since Lloyd George in 1913." He revelled in a triumphant Conservative Dinner in November, with himself "in the centre": "with Duff-Cooper to my right and Birkenhead to my left . . . I was, thank heavens definitely a success" (Journal 4-9). If Anderson sounds pleased with himself, he surely had a right to be. Yet, the nagging worries remained: "It is difficult to find a SINGLE PACIFIST here. The Conservatives are probably the least belicose [sic]" (Journal, fol. 4).

At Christmas of 1936, Anderson confided that his religious feelings were yet still alive, as he attempted to integrate his Church of England Christianity and his growing pacifism in a young man's prayer for peace, comparing Christ's crucifixion to the sacrifice of the preceding generation who had died in the Great War, "1914-1918". He wrote that "He rose from the dead. He sat on the right hand of the Father. But we have not risen." (Journal, fol. 14).

In the new year (1937) Anderson's Journal became more and more concerned with peace. He wrote with seriousness and sincerity, but with a certain self-deflating wit that is most engaging:


My friends are always telling me that I am not a Conservative. `Look at your views on war' they say. `You are practically a pacifist. Look at your sympathy for the working people, your distrust of imperialism, your hatred of tyranny! . . . . But I tell them that they are wrong. Of course I am a Conservative. Do I not like good clothes, and good dinners, and country houses and Disraeli and the society of peers? And am I not a member of the Oxford Carlton Club?

(Journal, fol. 40-41).


Yet the next day, his good cheer evaporated, he added in despair "I believe that another war means very nearly the end of Western Civilisation. Is anything worth that?" (Journal, fol. 43). In expressing these views, Anderson revealed his pacificism, in Julian Symons' opinion one of two possible responses to the evil of Fascism. "To the question asked by Stephen Spender in one of his early poems [the intelligentsia] found two answers: the first, that of collective resistance to Fascism, the second, that of Pacificism" (The Thirties, p. 40). Symons has explained this choice by means of lines from Stephen Spender:


Who can live under the shadow of a war,  

What can I do that matters?

My pen stops, and my laughter, dancing, stop
Or ride to a gap.

(Poems, 1938).


In spite of the appeal of mass movements such as Canon Sheppard's Peace Pledge Union, Anderson was aware of the unpopularity of his position: "Pacificism is completely alien to rational sentiment today, when even the Socialists are aching for a fight" (Journal, fol. 44). He then took two actions: applying for and taking out an American visa; and travelling to Glasgow: "Tomorrow to Glasgow to be a blue-suited pucca [sic] Conserva­tive, perhaps for the last time" (Journal, fol. 44-45).

While The Times in reporting the Glasgow conference noted that "Mr. Patrick Anderson (Oxford) said that defacement [of rural Britain] might be expressed as of three general types ribbon development, housing estates, and the menace of over-exuberant advertising on hoardings",12 Anderson's Journal notes merely that he had sought out the opportunity to go about Glasgow's notorious slums and that he "saw there the hideous truth about bad housing conditions" (Journal, fol. 47). In a romantic reflection on his tangled thoughts about social justice and aesthetics, Anderson wrote:


By all means let us be snobs, provided we admire the right kind of Aristocracy ... . there is a kind of rightness which is the germ of aristocracy the rightness of some bohemians, of some workers, the dignity of a few artists, the passion of many young men, and the assurance and reserve of some, and some only, of the socially magnificent.

(Journal, fol. 49).


Here Anderson expresses a desire for a refined yet democratic spirit — a desire that would become steadily more important in his thinking. In this tendency he was one with many of his age: Virginia Woolf wrote along parallel lines in the Daily Worker (The Thirties, p. 52); while in Canada, A.J.M. Smith published poems in New Frontier, hardly his natural milieu one would think.13

Still, Anderson's immediate political fortunes continued to prosper. He was elected President of the Union for Trinity term (spring 1937), although his tenure in that position got rather short shrift in Christopher Hollis' history of the Union: "Christopher Mayhew, President in Hilary term, was succeeded by Mr. Anderson, who was at that time a Conservative, although he has since gone to Canada and is thought to have become a Communist."14 He got rather fuller treatment in the Oxford Isis Idol (No. 910) when his portrait accompanied by a quite lengthy article, appeared in 1937. In the article the author notes Anderson's various offices Vice-Chairman, National Federation of Conservative Associations, Ex­President of the Conservative Association, President of the [Oxford] Union and observes that "Patrick's greatest and most abiding interest is politics" and that the young man not only "has adventures in strange places abroad" but is "not ashamed to perform menial tasks on behalf of hunger-marchers, [and] . . . admires simultaneously Mr. Baldwin and Mr. de Valera." The writer describes Anderson's political evolution at Oxford:


Although Conservatism is now an essential part of Patrick's being, it did not always attract him. At the beginning of his first term he joined the Labour Club. This immediately disgusted him, and in despair he went very far to the left. In his second Union speech [the first speech dealt with the Irish Question] in December 1934, when he was supporting the Franco-Soviet pact, he actually said: `Communism is the international language of logic.'15


During the summer of 1937 Anderson again travelled to the continent, this time observing Fascism at first hand in a visit to Germany, as well as passing some time in France and in Yugoslavia.

Anderson continued his studies throughout the 1937-38 academic year, graduating with a second-class B.A. in 1938, and being awarded a scholarship to study in America. The Times announced his success on May 16, 1938:


Commonwealth Fund Scholarships

List of Awards

The Committee of Award of the Commonwealth Fund Fellowships have made the following appointments to Fellowships tenable by British graduates to American universities for two years beginning September 1938. These Fellowships are offered by the Commonwealth Fund of New York, of which Mr. Edward S. Harkness is president.


P.J.M. Anderson, Worcester Coll., Oxford, to Columbia Univ., in History.16


Anderson was admitted to the United States as a student on August 8, 1938. While hardly settled in America, he took his first trip north, entering Canada at a Quebec border crossing on August 26. While travelling in Canada he recorded his impressions in his Journal, a document dedicated, during the summer of 1938, to Wilfred Owen, "England's greatest Anti-War Poet". In Montreal, on August 27, he wrote: "What I am worried and scared about is war, war, war."17 He confided his views on "capitalistic enterprise or imperialistic history" and deplored the behaviour of his fellow English on the train between Quebec City and Montreal: "They pass from one place to another, submerged in an aquarium of class and conversation as cold as fish and as boring to watch" (Journal, 1939, p. 5). Leaving Quebec, Anderson spent some time in Northern New York and Vermont before term began. At Lake Champlain his Journal writing reveals his earlier religious training as he prayed and wrote that "there is something that drives one to believe that the small, self-conscious, personal act is necessary, and that huge balance of events may be shifted. God cannot, cannot, cannot let there be war" (Journal, 1939, p. 8).

Anderson began to write anti-war poetry as he prepared to take up his studies at Columbia. At this time he also met and fell in love with Peggy Doernbach, an art student from Beaver College, Jenkintown, Pennsyl­vania, and he enjoyed thoroughly the cultural delights of New York City. In the summer of 1939, deeply disturbed about the threat of war, he and another fellowship holder, a literature graduate named Noel Lees from the University of Manchester, set out on an odyssey across America, travelling from mid-June to early October, when they returned to New York City. Anderson then found it necessary to do at least some scholarly work, and during 1939-40 was successful in earning the M.A. degree from Columbia, his field being the historiography of the American revolution.

Meanwhile, Anderson became more determined in his pacifism. In the spring of 1939 he wrote: "If this war comes, we must hate it hate it with all our mind from beginning to end . . . . We must listen to no slogans, no atrocity propaganda .... We must view these things with intense loathing."18 He maintained this stance in spite of the fact that he was almost entirely cut-off from his old Oxford friends: "with the exception of a brilliant and charming letter from Philip [Toynbee] no one has written to me from Oxford."19 Anderson wrote a pacifist play in New York, CRISIS: A Half-Play, which was the forerunner of the political plays, chants and puppet works he was to write in Montreal during the 'forties. In his efforts to establish the authenticity of his pacificism, Anderson went so far as to secure a letter from Mr. Harkness (President of the Commonwealth Fund) to the effect that he was a sincere pacifist. Yet Anderson was troubled for many years over the position he had taken. Fascism was so utterly without merit that many men who were pacifist by inclination evolved toward militarist views when faced with Hitler. Even Stephen Spender, who knew and loved Germany (and who had relations and friends in that country) wrote in his September Journal for 1939 as follows:


Well then, if war is madness and Hitler's mad, why reply to madness with madness? Why fight? Why not be a pacifist? The answers are (1) That I am not sufficiently a mystic to believe that if Hitler won we would not lose the values which I care about the possibility of individual development, artistic creation and social change. (2) That in politics, the possibilities of acting effectively are always limited to certain very definite lines. They are not, as some people seem to imagine, extended to every possible idealistic and utopian attitude. Given a war like the present, a pacifist is simply a person who has put himself politically out of action, and who in doing so is probably helping the other side . . . . If I ran away it would be because I wanted to save my skin or get on with my work . . . .20


Such was the dilemma that haunted Patrick Anderson throughout the war years. It was a dilemma that he brought with him to Canada when he registered as a Landed Immigrant at Ottawa on September 11, 1940. Doubtless this moral problem had a great effect on his political development, particularly on his decision to support the Communist Party (known in Canada in the forties as the Labour Progressive Party). In this country, following the Hitler-Stalin pact of non-aggression, the position of the L.P.P. was that the War was merely an imperialistic adventure, deserving of no support from Canadians. This was not, needless to say, a popular stance.

During the summer of 1942, Anderson and his wife spent their summer vacation at the Hotel Morin at Baie St. Paul. Both were committed to Communism by this time, while Patrick himself remained war-phobic. In letters written to P.K. Page during that summer, Patrick expressed his anxiety about a possible "call-up" for war duty: "What age have they reached in Montreal? etc. any details . . . is it possible to join the Medical Corps, and what does it involve or the ordinance [sic] . . . etc." Anderson went on, rather apologetically, to ponder if being a schoolmaster might save him from the army: "Please forgive all the most un-H. James crudities of this letter. Just think of Cezanne hiding from the police."21 As usual, Anderson was relentless, even brutally honest about his "faults", as he described the summer of 1942 some twenty years later: "I myself, so secretly, guiltily afraid of war and the bigness, the vulgarity, that war took for its own . . . .22 He was very open with Page about his politics and about art: "Your job is," he wrote "like mine, to write." He reflected that for "most, probably nearly all, people the world has always been tragic war is only a great accentuation: communism will be a great alleviation, but no doubt some of the tragedy will go on" (Page Papers).

Peggy, an enthusiastic Communist and absolutely courageous about her beliefs (she gave her husband a good deal of worry about his position at Selwyn House when notice of her participation in a rally for opening of the Second Front appeared in the Montreal Star; luckily the Headmaster did not see the article),23 wrote candidly to P.K. Page:


I am to join the communist party whether they make it legal or not . . . shilly shallying is getting me ulcers. I can't stand it all those people dying for us and me doing nothing I feel that painting and writing count the same as making tanks as they are my work but they do not make up for no political work. I had better finish this as I have a feeling [that my] writing is being read perhaps.

(Page Papers)


All was not politics, however. Peggy reported that "Patrick has rewritten all his poems about 20 times," while Patrick himself explained that he had written "Man in a Train" and "Ode to the Soviet Dead" and that he and Peggy speak French, "walk, bathe, play ping-pong, argue politics, play the piano .... have done some exhibition dances & have also given `piano recitals' at other people's houses . . ." (Page Papers). Anderson loved the Quebec countryside of Baie St. Paul and of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts (where he and Peggy were later to summer and then to live year-round in 1946-47). But the winters of 1940 to 1946 were spent in Montreal while Patrick carried out his duties as teacher and head of the English Department at Selwyn House School, where he had joined the staff after the beginning of term in the autumn of 1940.24 Anderson was a keen teacher, well-liked by the boys, and encouraging of talented youngsters. (Denis Giblin, an Anderson protege related to Frank Connor on his mother's side, was published in Preview.) He delighted the boys with his narration of ghost stories and his production of an impressive booklet, decorated with cartoons, called "The Game of Words: An Introductory English Course", an item designed to hold the boys' interest in language and literature.25

Before the end of the spring term of 1941, when the Andersons left Montreal to tour the Gaspe, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, they produced their first Canadian "little magazine": The Andersons, No. I, April [1941]. Only five pages in length, the magazine was typewritten on fourteen-inch paper. "The Plotter," a short story by Patrick concerning the contrast between bourgeois intellectuals and the working class, occupies something over three pages. Page four is given over to a poem, also by Patrick, called "The Waves of the Sea", and a few "Postscripts" (bottom of pages four and five) noting interesting cultural events of the past weeks: "Sinfonia" by Britten performed at Carnegie Hall, a radio play of "The Rocking-Horse Winner" adapted by W.H. Auden, a showing of Eisenstein's Thunder Over Mexico at the Film Society in Montreal. Current events are listed, as is the Spring Show at the Art Gallery and the new documentary This Is England. "Postscripts" concludes with the observation that "Spring has not yet enlivened the battleship-grey minarets and curlicues of the houses on Shuter [the Andersons were living at 3574 Shuter in Montreal] and Dorchester Streets. These still look as though they really belonged to some very stale and formidable wedding cake." Peggy's drawing of a nude male figure walking into a body of water, the sun above his head to the right, hills in the background, occupies the fifth page of The Andersons.26

It is remarkable from such a tentative beginning in publishing that a year later Anderson founded Preview, one of the three important little magazines of its time. As extraordinary an accomplishment as Preview was, Anderson nevertheless often felt alienated from his Canadian friends; during the winter of 1944 he wrote in his Journal:


I have nobody with whom I can discuss my poetry, except Abe [Klein] who is serious and competent and friendly but scarcely up to my emotional assay. A lawyer and a rhetorician, he is not concerned with what lies behind the bells and felicities. As for the others, it's quite hopeless. They are tied up in themselves or their jobs: poetry is very much what they do not dare to say. `That's good, I like that' or silence.

I used, when Pat Page was still here, to remind myself of the time someone wrote a letter calling PREVIEW my group. During her years of apartments Pat never invited either of us once. I wanted her approval most. She liked a good deal of my stuff but that only made our personal malaise more irritating. As for the Surreys [Philip Surrey and Margaret Day Surrey] and Neufville Shaw and Bruce [Ruddick] I never felt natural and I am still disappointed. I realized that I was actually glad when Pat left a few months ago.

I used sometimes to drink a quarter of a bottle of whiskey before going to one of the local salons, getting so tight that I was hardly manageable on the streetcar, and yet I was sobered up immediately by the deadness and lack of attention. I left the Film Society for similar reasons.

Sometimes I think I'll have my own back on these people, sometimes I just feel that I'll get my values deadened. The war, anyway withers one. The inner springs of exuberance disappear.


In his loneliness Anderson turned to his wife and to his art for consolation: "I think I can confidently say that without Peggy and my writing I would be a pretty alarming sort of misfit." In spite of these gloomy feelings expressed during the winter of 1944, once his medical call to the armed services resulted in deferment (Spring 1943) Anderson felt more calm and productive. Indeed, he began to take up writing plays again in the 'forties, producing a number of politically-inspired works.

In Amazons, a play about "working girls" that mocks David "Louis" two characters discuss the C.C.F. Party:


`What does CCF mean?,

'I don't remember, kid. He did tell me. Canadians Cautiously Forward or something or Coddling Corporations First.'  

Bugs presents a conversation between a cockroach and a bedbug in a poor family's house. An engage Mouse declares:


`Why just today I took a trip to Ottawa and guess what I heard? Fred Rose of the Labour Progressive Party urging that Montreal should declare itself a congested area for the emergency shelter regulations . . . .'


Homage to the USSR is a "scenario for voices, chorus and piano", celebrating the death of a worker-hero. One scene praises Lenin:


6th voice:

vigorous: You can see his outthrust [sic] chin.
1st voice: His eyes are bright and kind [.]
2nd voice: See, he is climbing into the car; he raises his fist.
4th voice: It is Lenin.
5th voice: Lenin has come back.
Chorus: Lenin!
Piano: (breaks into the International[e], very loud)  
Narrator:  not firey and flashy like Trotsky,  
not raising his voice or making a big show  
or being a great man or anything like that
simply a brain and kindness  


1st voice: Peace in which a country may grow  
and mould itself together, workers and peasants
and be golden with wheat


Over the north, where lies a new tomorrow,
across the need that we must colonise,
the Soviet answer, and the fight for life
Closes the world and fiercely clenches it




Crashing finale.27


Anderson also wrote a radio play on the Quebec textile industry called The Loom of Dark Threads that was, he claimed, a "Political Sketch performed at various meetings." Among other works, he wrote a leaflet in support of the Labour Progressive candidate, Lieutenant McCutcheon, entitled "Gordon McCutcheon and the Postwar World" (August 31, 1944), and a sketch of four pages beginning "Last night I went to a meeting of the election workers for Fred Rose" and signed with his schoolboy name "Jock McAllister".

Among his most interesting political work during the forties, work taken on in addition to his involvement as Cultural Director of the St. Lawrence-St. George Club of the Labour Progressive Party, his duties as Director of the War Services Committee, his teaching, his work on Preview and his non-political writing, was his involvement with Peggy in preparing and presenting political puppet-shows. One puppet play Patrick wrote was A Modern Fairy Tale, which featured Mr. and Mrs. Canada and their quarrelling children, Ontario and Quebec. Peggy took a hand in some of the writing too, but her energies were directed towards the designing and making of the puppets themselves. An excellent photograph of the time shows the Andersons, puppets in hand, smiling out at the audience through the arch of the puppet stage. The photograph appeared in New World Illustrated (n.d.) and was accompanied by an article headed "Puppets on Parade":


In Montreal, Labour Progressive Puppeteers take their marionettes on house to house canvasses . . . . Mr. and Mrs. Canada with troublesome children, Quebec and Ontario. Spirit of L.P.P. comes to rescue.


In his Montreal Journal #2, Anderson describes the manufacture of the puppets and of the theatre itself:


The house is full of puppets. First, for a whole week, there were only plaster casts drying about the stove . . . . Then Sam and Tom [the old Wobblies] came to help break the casts and the pale papier mache masks appeared. The backs of the heads were moulded on and everything was painted. Girls came to sew, others to fit necks and inner sleeves to hold one's finger and inner thumb. Several of my old shirts discovered a new life as Churchill's blitz-suit or Stalin's uniform. A piece of chintz, matching our curtains in England, a precious wrapping to a gift from my mother, became the long gown of the mother puppet.


Sam arrives one day to talk about the puppet-box we are building. He had made iron fittings . . . [he wants Tom to see them before the project is completed] `Seeing as we are communists, we ought to have a bit of discussion. It's no good one person deciding he's right and being high and mighty about it, like a fascist!'

(Journal, fol. 104).


While Anderson admired the "old Wobblies, Sam and Tom" who helped to prepare and to transport the puppet theatre (he was touched by Sam's having carved a puppet's hand: "It is so delicate and innocent and so sharply its fine grimy self'), he was troubled by the fact that he romanticized Sam as a worker and treated him like a "character." Yet Anderson was moved by the "strength and education and intellectual power [Sam] has drawn from the party, or which the party has drawn from him."

Still, practical life intruded as Anderson tried to maintain the delicate balance of his life as a teacher at an exclusive school and as a Communist. An excerpt from the Montreal Journal describes his dilemma in the essay "Sam" (fol. 96-106):


One time Sam came up to me when I was lunching at Cordners with a very middleclass friend, a teacher at school. Sam has no knowledge of these social difficulties. He came right up with a'Hello, Pat' and probably would have sat down in a moment and started discussing the L.P.P. and the `goddam fascists'. I succeeded in heading him off but he looked uncomprehending and drew from his torn pocket a copy of the Labour newspaper whose explosive headline he waved at me. I tried to get in my friend's line of vision by standing up. This also gave me a chance of whispering an explanation. Sam drifted off with an `I'll be seeing you'


P.K. Page explained such social conflicts in similar terms:


Patrick never made a secret of his sympathies, but he was careful. I remember one night walking home late along Sherbrooke Street singing some of the songs from the Spanish Civil War and Patrick divorced himself from us. I would guess it had to do with his Selwyn House job.28


Anderson was vigorously honest with himself about the conflicts that he felt as a person of comfortable, even privileged, middle-class background who was primarily an artist, albeit one with a highly-developed social conscience, and about his feelings for the `authenticity' of the working­classes so easily patronized or romanticized. He wrote in his Montreal Journal #2 (fols. 16-18) about this problem:


Crowds often excite me, though that is a kind of separation. But standing about the railway with the awful mathematics of the city below me I try to think not of crowds but of mass. In its inertness and suffering, and in its potentiality. The Masses. Old red brick tenements with flat tarpaper rooves [sic] remind me of a grimly bound book by Marx or Engels. Only they with their earnestness and their statistics have been able to take all this in . . . . Neither Shakespeare with his universal vitality nor Zola with his anger of realism can quite reach to the insight one gets into the lumpen proletariat from sheer city monotonously extended. These people are not yet literature.

Attitudes towards the mass: to some they are more real, genuine, in the sense that sweat is considered more real than velvet: they haunt our minds and we have guilt feelings about them: they lay across the personal and intricate a monumental shadow: we are confused between sentimentalising their collective misery and fearing their potential strength . . . . Above all, the sense of this great collective is unfamiliar to us and makes us emotionally slapdash or uneasy. Glorifying or condemning, we forget that, quite apart from a healthy desire to take the part of the workers whose condition we pity, we are following our own self-interest. Capitalism unchecked becomes Fascism rampant. And under Fascism no Liberal or artist can survive.

Marxism is the common ground where Liberalism made scientific meets that section of the working class which is determined on self-improvement . . . . In some things the workers educate us, in others we educate them. They bring us action and anger, we bring them science and art. The last thing we would do is jettison our bourgeois culture . . . we transform it, we direct it.


It is important to remember that Anderson, while intensely political, was also a man who saw himself, above all else, as a poet, and a poet of purpose. As Julian Symons has written about the age in England when Anderson's ideas were developing:


at the heart of the Thirties dream there was a conception of social morality. A painting, a play, a novel, even a lyric is . . . first of all a social event. It does not exist as something pure and absolute, a thing in itself, and we cannot consider it apart from the society in which it was created.

(The Thirties p. 65)


The revolt against the aesthetes and dandies and the seriousness of the criticism of F.R. Leavis these were the common currency of the time in Britain and in North America. While the First Statement poets presented themselves as somehow more native, more serious, as closer to the reality of everyday life in Montreal than were the writers of Preview, and while the rivalry between First Statement and Preview is an old controversy in Canadian letters, this fact of Canada's literary history should be seen in light of Anderson's social outlook. Typing Anderson as "foreign", "elitist" or "too English" will not serve to dismiss him. As late as September 26, 1977, in writing to P.K. Page about Preview, he said:


What emerges, is our sustained social concern, our strong documentary interest and, for the most part, our editorial humility we were always trying to make contact with a wider audience (vide our questionnaire and the Victory Broadsheet). Preview was, quite simply, saturated with the War.

(Page Papers)


However it may have looked to those from Point Saint Charles or the East End of Montreal, Anderson did not see himself as a disengaged poet writing "pure poetry." Certainly he was a poet, but one always struggling to balance art and social obligation.

Perhaps no single publication reveals so clearly Anderson's passionate social concerns and political views as the 1945 publication En Masse. 29 He recorded in his Montreal Journals the events leading up to the magazine's founding, discussions about its contents, and his own personal manifesto of the role of a cultural magazine in the Communist class struggle. In the following quotation, describing a meeting of Party members, Anderson, relentlessly honest as usual, sees himself as temperamentally "basically un-Marxist" in his individualism, and regrets his emotional difficulty in accepting his intellectual understanding of collective decision-making:


`Every intellectual has the seeds of betrayal in him.'

It is Miriam [probably Mrs. Leo Kennedy, née Schlein, an untrained social worker known for her assertiveness] speaking. The others have gone but I am drinking tea, too tired to move. °I have, you have. There is something in us that finds it hard to adjust!'


.  .  .


There was a time this evening when there seemed almost too much to do. There was a liberating excitement in that. Peggy was typing an article of mine in the studio . . . three Jewish boys from Cartier were discussing with me and each other their plans for a musical review: I was writing some notes for the magazine and interviewing one of them about his theatre group, and I was trying to eat and drink tea, and it was late anyway.


.  .  .


And afterwards, late of course, the meeting here at Miriam's and the discussion about the magazine's name. The Club Executive objected to the one we chose and their interests are well represented for there is a member of the Provincial Committee present, as well as their own appointee. I have made a list of possible and impossible names, now that Voice is definitely out. Voice seemed so natural and we had used it so easilly [sic] and hapilly [sic] that one is sad to see it go . . .

Front, Progress, Unity, Dynamo, En Masse.

The stout forceful meaningful names. The executive wanted some­thing un‑static a kindling and kinetic word. `But maybe the name will get ahead of the contents' I told our president over the phone. `Why don't they edit the thing themselves then?' I made this concession to my usual bitterness, even though I was feeling unhappy rather than bitter at the time. She told me not to get on my high horse. And I didn't realize then just how troublesome the Executive had been.

Action, Forward, Advance, Partisan.

The executive appointee, a plaintively conscientious woman, is silent, biding her time. She has no need to declare herself yet. I see behind her the war-horses, the old-line toughs, the personality problem members, the sour and the intriguers. The people who want slogans and the people who do not want me. But the member of the Provincial Committee is bright, interested, enthusiastic . . . .

Surprisingly quickly they all devote themselves to EN MASSE, which has my support .... Fortunately this [name] has no Trotskyite significance.


.  .  .


So the name is decided. And the problems of production and committee approval. The article, story and poem are read. The story is genuinely liked but my article and poem are received with some uncertainty. The provincial does not understand the poem, the executive appointee is dangerously apathetic. [Exhausted, hands and nails dirty, hair long & face blotchy red, P.A. listens to Miriam. He reflects that] "when I first became interested in the party" [she told me] `Now you will find that your poems improve!'


Miriam says:

`Koestler knows absolutely nothing about psychiatry. We cannot hope to express things in the clear simple way Tim Buck does. We're always falling by the wayside.' . . . .

`It's no good setting out deliberately to be a Marxist writer . . . . As Marxism sort of seeps through one, one's attitude will gradually change. You can't force it!' This is true. And I know myself to be basically un-Marxist, so bitter at times against the leadership and the discipline, having in fact furious disputes with Peggy, and so generally uncom­prehending that I cannot expect the seeping to be very quick. I belong as a propogandist for culture. I have a tendency to use the party for my own ends. At my best I want to broaden it.


In spite of his temperamental resistance to collective decision-making Anderson persisted with the Party and with En Masse. The first of four issues was dated March 1945. It announces the publication's editorial direction: "We have long felt the need for a magazine as a meeting ground for creative artists, scientists and others in, or sympathetic to, the progressive movement" ([p. 11]). The second issue includes the editorial statement (very much in Anderson's style), a poem "St Henri", an essay "The Problem of the Middle-Class Intellectual", and an unsigned review of A.M. Klein's Poems. All these items were composed by Anderson, who recorded in his Journal that he was taken to task for his favourable comments about Klein's works, since Klein had stood as a C.C.F. candidate:30


The first meeting of our club executive since the appearance of EN MASSE . . . . I sit in a corner of the sofa and look at a verbatim report of the Moscow Trials.

We discuss shortcomings of the club with special reference to the General Election which is expected in June or July. Attendance has been poor . . . . Turn‑outs for leaflet distribution and so on are poor. And yet we have done everything to keep our meetings lively, what with plays, movies, lectures, shows and stunts . . . it isn't the liveliness of the meetings that is the crux of the matter . . . . It is giving them [the members] something to do, real political activity. And showing them by judicious leadership the seriousness of the times and the need for discipline in facing them . . . .

I call for remarks on En Masse.

["Grace Marsh" asks]: `Who wrote the book review on Klein's poetry?'

`I did.' Uncomfortable this [.]

Emotion overcomes her.

`In view of the fact that Klein is C.C.F. candidate against Fred Rose in

Cartier . . . terrible thing to do . . . publicity for an opponent . . . .'

The Chairman knowing Grace of old, rushes to my rescue. But the executive, one by one, careful, slow, considering, are against me. What annoys me is not so much their stand on this point but the nakedness of it. They do not relieve it with appreciation for other parts of the magazine . . .. I remember how, just the other night at our last meeting, one frozen-faced girl refused to buy a copy. `To bring out a thing like this in election time!' etc. As though our magazine wasn't helping precisely that.

(Journal #2, fol. 63-68)  

The third issue of En Masse (May, 1945), its red and white cover stamped "Election Issue," was obviously slanted to appeal particularly to social democrats and liberals as well as Communists in an attempt to achieve a coalition of "all progressive and constructive elements" (Allan Harrison, p. 4). In this issue Peggy Anderson published two drawings, "Soldiers at Rest" and "Pouring Moulds," and an article by Lieutenant Gordon McCutcheon, Labour-Progressive candidate in St. Lawrence-St. George. "The Electoral Position of the L.P.P." was featured.

Anderson found McCutcheon agreeable, in part at least because he appreciated the Andersons' efforts in producing the puppet plays. He discussed the contents of these plays carefully with Patrick: "A meeting with Gordon to discuss the puppet plays. Even these have to be Marxist and correct . . . . We run through the scripts, discussing lengthilly [sic] whether the C.C.F. character, a sad-faced lawyer [supposedly bearing some resemblance to Frank Scott] with large pink wings should say he is `palsy-walsy with Labour' and embrace the soldier who is listening to him" (Montreal Journal #3, fol. 40). Anderson was particularly grateful for McCutcheon's reception of the puppet performances themselves:


Finally we put on two plays for a try‑out at one of the Club's meetings . . . . The plays go off well and afterwards Lieutenant Gordon McCutcheon, the Candidate, makes such a speech as I have dreamed of for years. Instead of ignoring us, as most political speakers do, or passing us off as a novelty, an artistic irrelevance, which was the case when Fred Rose chaired the big meeting at the High School where we gave our mass chant, Gordon supports us to the hilt. Not only does he say that our party alone could have produced such an imaginative thing but he stresses the fact that these little plays really get across the basic political points . . . .

(Montreal Journal #3, fol. 39)


The fourth and final issue of En Masse was dated October 1945. By this time the magazine was no longer supported by the Labour Progressive Party. It :vas, however, graced by three little works by Goodridge Roberts. While unpolitical himself, Roberts could be persuaded by his politically­active wife, Marian, to help the cause from time to time by submitting a painting to a progressive auction or, in this case, contributing three drawings to En Masse. One (opposite page four) is a comical cartoon of the bereted artist painting the landscape before him; another (opposite page 8), also untitled, shows a profiled figure of Allan Harrison in conversation with an unidentified woman31; the third (opposite page 15) shows a relaxed Allan Harrison seated in an easy chair, petting a drowsy cat. Anderson contributed only one piece, a learned and forceful essay entitled "Notes on Poetry and the War" (pp. 10-14). His views were unequivocally Marxist­Leninist as a brief quotation will show:


The vast majority of poetry is still being written by the middle class. Since the middle class poet is a product of the contradictions of capitalist society, competition and selfish monopoly on the one hand, socialized production on the other, he inevitably shows an ambivalence between his indi­vidualist egocentric trends, his desire for a special economic and social status, and his sympathy with the working class, his desire to belong to the people and to take part in its struggles.


While Anderson was definite in his Communist principles, he was anything but mindless in his ideology. He was convinced that Communism was the correct response to the social problems of Canada, and, indeed, of the world, but he was far too clever a man and too good a writer to seek simple solutions or to debase the language by the use of slogans and jargon. He, in fact, took great care to set down the guidelines to be followed in the creation of an effective Communist cultural magazine. The principles appear at the back of Anderson's `Writing Book c. 1946', under the heading "Memo on Cultural Magazine":


En Masse is to be a left-wing cultural magazine appealing to middle class & professional groups, especially those interested in the arts and sciences. The largest, or at least the dominant section of the Editorial Board should be members of the L.P.P. They should be . . . people of proven interest and undertaking in the fields of art, science and writing. Though they need not all be creators, they should subscribe to the belief that left-wing and revolutionary politics cannot reasonably be allied with reactionary standards in art . . . .

En Masse should broadly consist of: a) Articles of general cultural interest

Articles of general cultural interest

(a wide range, from `The Negro in Canada' or `Socialized Medicine' to `The Novel of E.M. Forster' or `How to Look at Modern Painting').


Short stories and poetry, a good proportion of which should, without sacrificing standards, be reflections of the contemporary social scene in a progressive sense. No reactionary work whatever should be included . . . . Two considerations are vital here: 1) All good art is in the deepest sense progressive (or political). 2) No middle class writer will have respect for a magazine which has the look of being overly naive and propagandist. In fact a latitude, albeit scrupulously vigilant, will serve us better with P.K. Page, Wm. McConnell, Ray Souster, Hugh MacLennan etc.


A drawing, woodcut, silkscreen print or rarely, a good cartoon.


Department of criticism: say Chapin for books, Novek for movies and drama. Criticism should be one of our strong points. It is badly needed in Canada today. It should give Marxist strength to the magazine. It should be based on the following lines:


How far does the thing criticised show a correct appreciation of the social dynamic and depart from ham attitudes, sentimentalisations, subjective fantasies, false standards of Hollywood or the Book of the Month Club etc.?


How far is it, from the point of view of the creator's class background, a step in the right direction?


To what extent is it technically adventurous, new, interesting?


What is its special relation vis-à-vis the Canadian cultural scene . . . . We now come to politics. When I started En Masse I did so in the belief that it was to be a cultural magazine, not a predominantly political magazine as the Nation, Republic, Forum, New Masses. I see its formal counterparts in the English Horizon or Life and Letters Today, the American Saturday Review or Partisan Review. I am not against some political articles of a properly cultural nature, i.e. `Rehabilitation in Canada and the USSR' but I do not want to antagonize our readers by throwing open the pages of En Masse to the mercies of our sloganists, whose writing reaches unspeakable lows of bathos. Polemics about actual articles and Marxist correspondence will be fine.32


Anderson continued to attempt to integrate his compulsion to create with his convictions of political action. On July 23, 1945 he composed a "Mass of Remembrance," a quasi-religious Marxist ritual that celebrates the dignity of the class-struggle in the words of a cantor and a number of responders. The "Mass" begins with the Cantor chanting:



Comrades, we are gathered here to remember the dead.


Lest the spent mouth gape in the field and the friendless hand fail in the hill: lest the dry bones fall into dust and there be no word.


Who in their lives worked for the improvement of conditions and in their death became a deep foundation.


. . .



Generations of failures, fighters in a hopeless cause, workers in the dark: and some inched forward.


The cobbler in his den, the lone boy on the ridge.


Generations of the angry, who were beaten, and of the complacent who were also whipped: of the sour whose snarls were crushed into pulp and of the soft whose smiles bled in the rock.


. . .



Comrades, how will you remember?

1st. Responder:

I will remember because I am Man               Because I am bone of their bone . . . .

2nd Responder:

I will remember them because I am a worker and worn of toil ....

3rd Responder:

I will remember them because I opt to act and aim my anger: history is in my hands to mould and make . . . . Because I am bred of their blight and born of sorrow, I will remember.

(Anderson Papers, Vol. 6)


Anderson gave not only his time and talent, but also his money to the Communist Party, contributing generously from the legacy he received at his mother's death.33 This was the same inheritance that permitted Anderson to resign from his teaching post in the spring of 1946, and to retire with his wife to live and to write at Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, north of Montreal, during the year 1946-47. On his departure, Anderson wrote a kindly farewell to the boys of Selwyn House, and in turn was praised in the school magazine:


There will be widespread regret amongst all friends of the School to learn that Mr. Anderson has decided to leave Selwyn House to devote his energies exclusively to writing, where he has already shown such marked talent as a poet in "A Tent for April" and "The White Centre." The School's loss will be Canada's gain, but it will be hard for us to say more than "Au Revoir" to one who has contributed so much to the life of the School since his appointment in 1940 as head of the English Department. Boys and Staff will miss him greatly his keen, penetrating insight into things, his quiet humour and his kindly spirit of camaraderie, as well as his genius for clear-cut interpretation and definition in his class work, but above all his love of youth with all its questionings and enthusiasms these qualities have endeared him to us over the years, and we find it hard to let him go.34


Once settled at Saint-Sauveur, Peggy painted and sculpted, Patrick wrote, and both enjoyed the sophisticated company of the painter William Walton Armstrong. Patrick composed poetry; he heard from Poetry (Chicago) on November 8 that he had won the "Harriet Munro Lyric Prize" in recognition of the "Four Poems" published in the June, 1946 issue. Almost as much of a professor as he was a poet, Anderson was compelling in either role and remained a popular teacher, whether instructing small boys, interested amateurs, undergraduates, or as he was to do in England in later years, student teachers. Meanwhile, during the winter of 1946-47 he travelled down to Montreal to participate in a lecture series arranged by the Federation of Canadian Artists, and presented by McGill's extension department, called "Art in Society". Among others, Fritz Brandtner spoke on "Art and Your Children" and Robert Ayre on "The Runaway Husband." Anderson addressed the group on "The Artist at Work" on February 5, 1947.35 He was, as well, commuting to Montreal to deliver evening lectures on poetry to a group of enthusiastic students.

After a year (1947-48) spent in the United Kingdom with Peggy, a year when Anderson met the man with whom he would spend the rest of his life, Patrick returned to Montreal, bringing his companion, Orlando Gearing 36 Anderson's marriage to Peggy was at an end, but his career as a university lecturer was just beginning, thanks to A.M. Klein's having resigned his appointment with the English Department at McGill in the spring of 1948. "At Frank Scott's urging [Klein] advised [Professor Harold] Files to recommend Patrick Anderson as his successor to teach modern poetry at McGill."37 Anderson gladly took up the post at the University for the academic year 1948-49. By summer 1949 he was, however, back in England and submitting poems to fellow Old Shirburnian, Cecil Day­Lewis at Chatto and Windus,38 as well as looking for jobs at the B.B.C. and in the Foreign Office. Unsuccessful in his attempt to remain in England, Anderson was back in Montreal by mid-September, prepared to lecture at McGill during the 1949-50 academic year.39 In spite of H.G. Files, Chairman of the English department at McGill, having offered him an Assistant Professorship, in a letter dated 3 July 1950,40 Anderson was once again in England applying for posts. Offered lectureships in Egypt and Singapore, he chose the latter and went off with Orlando Gearing to spend two years living and teaching in the East. These experiences are the basis for Snake Wine, the first of Anderson's three semi-autobiographical works.

As Anderson found and maintained a satisfying and permanent personal relationship, his political opinions seemed to temper. In leaving Canada he left behind many conflicts that were plaguing him in the later 'forties, conflicts he expressed in a letter addressed to A.J.M. Smith:

.  . . after founding Preview and having Peggy do much of the running of it, leading the amalgamation movement, [between Preview and First Statement into Northern Review] and drafting the letter about it, I seem relegated to the shelf in its Editorial Board.

Is this because of the quality of my writing or the facts of my Communist sympathies, Englishness and unfortunate tactless but self­defensive tendency towards aggression? I feel quite bitter about Preview's attitude to Peggy. She spent hours and hours mimeographing the magazine, carrying paper etc. and actually called most of the meetings. She never got a word of thanks.

You can imagine what a lonely life I lead, lost as I am between the Party which looks on me as a crazy intellectual with too many non‑Party associates and leanings and the Others who regard me as a Red. Am I to become a Canadian citizen* as I'd hoped? Is there any purpose in my keeping up a Canadian affiliation?41


In a Diary entry for Spring, 1949, Anderson explained his need to escape the unhappiness he had expressed in the letter to Smith:


Voyage: left N.Y. at noon of the 14th of May, arrived Southampton about 4 p.m. May 21st . . . . I was getting nearer and nearer to the problem which has already preoccupied me for months . . . . Yet this time I wasn't much aware of the general alienation, plunging adrift upon Destiny, which a voyage always gives . . . . To some extent I know what I want: to live in profitable interesting work (such as I have now) with a beddable male, whom I like personally, who likes me personally, and who strikes some sort of balance between beauty, imagination, intellect . . . 42


Anderson seemed to leave his marriage and his political intensity behind at about the same time; Peggy and Patrick were divorced in 1950 and she returned to the United States, denied that she had ever been a Communist, married and had two children.

As for Patrick, the boy who had come up to Oxford in 1934, passionately eager for aesthetic and sensuous pleasure, very much a product of the public school, seemed to reassert himself. It was as if Peggy had recognized his essential nature in 1939, less than a year after they had met in New York; as Anderson recorded in his "Journal Spring 1939":


`The reason I think of you as English' she says `is that you're the type I've read about in school stories the sensitive little boy devoted to his mother and always reading poetry."Here' I reply `you know I'm not like that. You know I want to be on top, to lead, and that I'm ambitious.' `That's not incompatible with what I said' she replies 43


It is facile to suppose that Anderson's Communism was simply a result of his wife's commitment. Clearly, he became a highly political person at Oxford and was a man of personal conviction when he arrived in America. Nevertheless, his most ideologically-fixed period corresponds with the years with Peggy in Montreal. She was more outspoken in her beliefs than her husband, more willing "to stick her neck out" for her Communist principles 44 Patrick's behaviour was more moderate; he was both an English gentleman and a schoolmaster. He did, however, devote a great deal of his time, talent and money to the Party and to his attempts to achieve a happy alliance between his aesthetic and political principles. While Preview is by far the more important document in the history of Canadian poetry, En Masse is of consequence as a record of Anderson's attempt to realize that harmony of individual creation and social purpose.


Anderson became a citizen in 1945.1 am grateful to Mrs. Alison Palmer for confirming this date.






Personal interview with Louis Dudek, Sept. 19, 1984.[back]



Public Archives of Canada (hereafter PAC), Patrick Anderson Papers, MG, 30D, 177, vol. 1, file "Correspondence 1953". Letter P.A. to F.R. Scott, 16 March 1953.[back]



Seymour Mayne, "A Conversation With Patrick Anderson," Inscape, XI, 3 (Fall 1974), pp. 46-79.[back]



Public Archives of Canada, National Film, Television and Sound Archives (hereafter PAC/NFTSA), Marion McCormick Collection, interview with Patrick Anderson by Marion McCormick, October 1973 [?] [Records incomplete], 23:30 minutes, T 1978/152-20. Restricted. With the kind permission of Miss McCormick.[back]






PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 2, file "Summer 1935; May 1937 (holograph)" Journal Patrick Anderson: Summer 1935/Oxford, fol. 1. Hereafter cited in the text as Journal.[back]



Julian Symonds, The Thirties: A Dream Revolved (London: The Cresset Press, 1960), p. 52.[back] 


PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 2, file "Summer 1936", fols. 1-2.[back]



Ibid. Entry dated Friday, 5 June [1936], fol. 4. Anderson was Treasurer of the Oxford Union Society during Michaelmas Term, 1936-37, and was Librarian during the Hilary Term of the same academic year.[back]



Ibid. fols. 31-32.[back]



PAC/NFTSA, McCormick Interview.[back]



"British Policy in Spain/Views of University Conservatives." The Times, 9 Jan. 1937, p. 9, col. c.[back]



New Frontier: A Monthly Magazine of Literature and Social Criticism, Toronto, 1936-37. See "Son and Heir" (July 1936, vol. 1, no. 4), and "The Natural" and "Poem" (Sept. 1936, vol. 1, no. 5).[back]



Christopher Hollis, The Oxford Union (London: Evans Brothers, 1965) p. 197.[back]



This article is pasted in Anderson's scrapbook; see PAC, vol. 16.[back]



"Commonwealth Fund Scholars/List of Awards," The Times, 16 May 1938, p. 8, col. f.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 2, file "Summer 1938: Typescript Transcript," p. 3.[back]



PAC Anderson Papers, vol. 3, file "Spring 1939/Journal Spring 1939-Part 2." 6 April [ 1939], p. 8.[back]



Ibid. pp. 21-22. Philip Toynbee, a lifelong friend of Anderson's, was President of the Oxford Union during Trinity Term, 1937-38. The Times announced "Communist as President of Oxford Union" on 26 Feb. 1938 (p. 7, col. d). "Mr Philip Toynbee, of Christ Church who is a Communist, has been elected president of the Oxford Union Society for the next term." Toynbee was the first declared Communist to be elected to this position.[back]



Stephen Spender, The Thirties and After: Poetry, Politics, People (1933-75) (Glasgow: Fontana/Collins, 1978), p. 103.[back]



PAC P.K. Page Papers, MG 630, D 311, "Patrick Anderson Correspondence". Restricted. With the kind permission of P.K. Page. Hereafter cited in the text as Page Papers.[back]



Patrick Anderson, The Character Ball: Chapters of Autobiography (London: Chatto and Windus, 1963), pp. 119-120.[back]



Letter received from F.G.P. Phillips, Oct. 2, 1984. Mr. Phillips was a colleague of Anderson's at Selwyn House.[back]



Ibid. Another master had quit the post and Anderson was hired to replace him.[back]



I am grateful to Mrs. Alison Palmer for permitting me to examine her copy of this document of some 33 pages in length, produced in 1940. Mrs. Palmer was a patron of Preview, very active in the Federation of Canadian Artists, and a great friend to Patrick Anderson up to the time of his death in March 1979.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 24.[back]



Ibid. vol. 14, file "Political Plays n.d. [1940-1945]".[back]



Letter received from P.K. Page, July 12, 1984.[back]



For a description of En Masse see Michael Gnarowski's "New Facts and Old Fictions: Some notes on Patrick Anderson, and En Masse" in Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, No. 6 (Spring-Summer 1980), pp. 61-68.[back]



Klein's involvement with the Cartier riding is described in Usher Caplan's Like One That Dreamed (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1982) pp. 124-126. Caplan explains that Klein was nominated as CCF candidate on April 2, 1944: "Towards the end of the year, however, he withdrew from the race almost as suddenly as he had entered it . . . . Thus it was that the CCF did not field a candidate in Cartier in the election of 1945." It would seem that the attacks on Klein, (see the letter to the editor of En Masse written by a Jack Mitchell in Issue #2) were more attacks on a symbol of non-Communist socialism than on an actual political opponent.[back]



Personal interview with Mrs. Marian Roberts (former wife to the late Goodridge Roberts), Oct. 17, 1984.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 6, file "[1945-1949]", "Writing Book c. 1946" (unpaginated).[back]



Telephone interview with Mr. William Walton Armstrong, July 28, 1985.[back]



Selwyn House School Magazine. For the school year 1945-46, p. 17. Made available to me by Mr. F.G. Phillips.[back]



The programme pamphlet, cover designed by Fritz Brantner, was shown me by Mrs. Alison Palmer.[back]



The artist Mary Filer, who met Patrick and Peggy at Federation of Canadian Artists meetings held at Beaver Hall Square in Montreal, later met Patrick with Orlando Gearing at Mrs. Palmer's house on Redpath Row in Montreal. Miss Filer recalled Patrick then: "He seemed so much more composed, I think it meant everything to him to have this new companion." From the CBC Anthology programme, "A Portrait of Poet Patrick Anderson," by Marjory Whitelaw; produced in Halifax by Elizabeth Fox. Broadcast over the CBC radio network on May 16, 1981. With the kind permission of Miss Whitelaw.

Anderson and Gearing docked at Halifax on August 23, 1948, having sailed from England on the Aquitania. They travelled to Montreal at once. (I am grateful to Mr. M. Pageau of the Department of Employment and Immigration for the information about Anderson's return to Canada in 1948).[back]



Usher Caplan, p. 154.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 1.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 17.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 15.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 1. This holograph letter is written on Northern Reuiew stationery and is undated. There is a note added in Anderson's hand: "(I very much doubt that this letter was sent./P.A./Sept. 1973)". Anderson became a Canadian citizen in 1945. I am grateful to Mrs. Alison Palmer for confirming this date.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 7.[back]



PAC, Anderson Papers, vol. 3, pp. 50-51.[back]



Interview with Mrs. Marian Roberts, Oct. 17, 1984.[back]