Hugh Hood and His Works


59 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-920802-77-X





Reviewed by Neil Querengesser

Neil Querengesser taught in the Department of English, University of Calgary, Alberta.


In this short study, part of the Canadian Writers and Their Works series, Garebian explores chiefly the allegorical and anagogical dimensions of Hugh Hood’s fiction. Abruptly dismissing those critics who seem to have rendered incorrect or misinformed judgments of Hood’s work, Garebian then attempts to set the record straight. Hood, we are told, cannot be compared with any other Canadian writers, nor does he seem to fit into any special Canadian “tradition.” Instead, he must be seen in relation to the great documenters of the human experience and the Christian allegorists of the European and American traditions. Garebian compares and contrasts Hood both directly and indirectly with such writers as Balzac, Proust, Joyce, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Milton, Spenser, Blake, Cervantes, Johnson, Marlowe, Bunyan, Pope, Fielding, Austen, de Crèvecoeur, Emerson, Thoreau , Hawthorne, and — above all — Dante. Lest we miss the point that Hood is the Dante of the new millennium, we are shown explicitly that his writings are, in fact, allegorical, that the names of such characters as Fred Calvert and Arthur Merlin recall Calvary and the two leading men of the medieval English legend, and that he even has a Beatrice. What Garebian does in this study is to establish in no uncertain terms that Hood is first and foremost a Catholic allegorist, “a Canadian original — the first and only meditative writer in our nation’s fiction who, by his anagogical approach, conditions the novel towards the paramount significance of human experience as salvation-history.” Such arguments may silence or at least educate Hood’s detractors, but to place a contemporary writer in the company of such luminaries as Garebian does seems a bit premature. Nevertheless, this study is, whatever else, certainly one critic’s unqualified affirmation of Hugh Hood as the great Canadian writer.


Garebian, Keith, “Hugh Hood and His Works,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 22, 2024,