47 Glencairn Ave.
Toronto
Monday 13th [Aug. 1956]

My dear John:

Your book is a masterpiece of analysis, not so much on the ground of its personal subject-matter, but for its wonderful style. I never had anything written about my work equal to it in the probing of backgrounds. I had to read it twice to discover sources and influences which had hitherto escaped me or had been forgotten through the years. The way you brought in my early Newfoundland experiences was almost miraculous. And my University days became fresh again. James was at my side; and, though I could scarcely have recalled a sentence from Demonology, Eschatology, and all the other 'ologies, you made those investigations sweep over me – such was the strength you imparted to the subconscious process. But what amazed me most was your parallel classifications of terms and expressions! I was honoured no end by your attention to detail – significant detail. How often, indeed, does the word cross (higher and lower case c) appear! Even in the 'Cachalot' it stands side by side with royal, monarch, pain, etc. The apocalyptic vision holds the horizon in your treatment as it does now in mine.

Before I came to the Great Feud I wondered what would happen to the dinosaur. Yet he suffers not only pain and humiliation but the arduous passage up a steep hill before he commits himself to the sea. The parallel almost blinded me with its force.

But I must not fail to underline your mode of writing. That expression, 'conjuring a continent out of a couplet' was itself poetry at a very high level. Vi and I read it and conversed about it for many minutes. She was ecstatic, and it hit my ear like a Mozartian phrase.

We shall cherish the book. We are ordering many copies from Ryersons for Christmas presents.

Our love to you John and to dear Audrey.

Ned.


book
Sutherland had sent him an advance copy of The Poetry of E.J. Pratt: A New Interpretation, just off the press.

Demonology
'The Demonology of the New Testament in its Relation to Earlier Developments, and to the Mind of Christ,' Pratt's M.A. thesis (1912).

Eschatology
Studies in Pauline Eschatology and Its Background, Pratt's Ph.D. thesis (1917).

John
This was Pratt's last letter to Sutherland, who died on 1 September 1956.