Excerpts from Commentator.
Canadian Commentator, later simply Commentator, was founded by the Baxter Publishing Company in Toronto in 1955, and continued until about 1971. Its first editor was Marcus Long, professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, his successor was Paul Fox, professor of political science at the same university, and after him the late John Gellner, well-known for his op-ed articles in the Toronto Globe and Mail, edited it. I was literature editor for a number of years in the late 1960s, while I was professor of ancient history at McMaster University, and I wrote a column for Commentator under the rubric, “Critic’s Notebook”, which consisted of book reviews and short essays. It provided some extra income at a time when my little family had to subsist on a young academic’s salary. Yet ancient history in Canada generally falls under the intellectual umbrella of classical studies, and its practitioners take a dim view of scholars who write for general opinion journals; at the University of British Columbia where I joined the classics department in 1972, then under the regime of the great epigraphist, Malcolm McGregor, I had a colleague refer to my bibliography as full of junk from “that magazine back east”. Consequently I removed these pieces from the bibliography, to make it presentable to the university powers-that-be. Respectable bibliographies are important weapons in the academic jungle. However a few articles from “that magazine back east” may be worth saving as a comment on their times, and now that I am thoroughly retired, and beyond the reach of academic bad-mouthing, I am posting them on my URL.