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Reviews 389 your heart and extend your imagination. The editors present this collection “to celebrate the work of some talented writers whose contributions . . . are representative of . . . ‘The Idaho Renaissance’.” There is a recent burst of literary creativity in Idaho, and this collection gives an excellent sampling of it. BARBARA H. MELDRUM University ofIdaho CriticalApproaches to theFiction ofMargaret Laurence. Edited by Colin Nicholson. (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1990. 250 pages, $27.95.) Colin Nicholson’s collection of essays offers a variety of approaches to Margaret Laurence’s works, and places her firmly in the literary tradition of North American Culture, for her writing explores the development ofselfhood, an enduring theme in Canadian and American literature. But, at the same time, Laurence is shown to be thoroughly Canadian and thoroughly feminist. She can occupy all three traditions because they share a common theme: the struggle toward self-growth. Nicholson’s edition offers a thorough grounding in the fiction of Margaret Laurence; each of her Manawaka novels is explored around the theme ofidentity. The contributors, taken together, show Laurence’snovels progressing toward characters who more and more boldly create their own identities. David Richards provides a starting point in discussing how Laurence’s African novels fail, but ultimately lead to success in her Canadian novels. Simone Vauthier focuses on Laurence’s first Manawaka novel, The Stone Angel, describing the use of the stone angel as a metaphor for Hagar herselfas well as a reference point around which Hagar works toward a release. Michael Peterman, on the other hand, compares TheStoneAngelto Tillie Olsen’s TellMe a Riddle to demonstrate the character’s struggle to understand. And Shirley Chew focuses on the narration to explain Hagar’s discoveries about herself. Coral Ann Howells explores the sister novels, AJest ofGod and TheFire-Dwellers, while Elizabeth Waterston discusses the twin motif in AJest of God, and Nancy Bailey takes a close look at identity in The Fire-Dwellers. John Thieme, Lynette Hunter, Gayle Greene, and Barbara Godard explore The Diviners from various perspectives. Finally, several authors, Clara Thomas, Colin Nicholson, and Greta Coger explore Laurence’s place in Canadian fiction while Peter Easingwood discusses the autobiographical aspects of Laurence’swork. The collection may be read as a cohesive work outlining Laurence’s growth as a writer or as individual and unique approaches to a great author. Colin Nicholson’s book includes some 390 WesternAmerican Literature noted Laurence critics, and is a welcome addition to the growing number of works on Margaret Laurence. TERESA D. DANIELL San Antonio, Texas The San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, 1955-1960. By Warren French. (Boston: Twayne’s United States Authors Series, Twayne Publishers, 1991. 143 pages, $24.95.) Warren French, the author of The San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, 19551960 , has composed what he himselfcalls a “preliminary history”ofthe Beat era in the BayArea. We are told thatJack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg are not to be discussed at any length in this history; rather, his historical outline focuses principally on the efforts located and centralized in San Francisco. The problem is the aforementioned Beat forerunners do a poor job of remaining in the background. French’s camera eye continually shifts and pans, often forgetting his own protestations that the miseen scèneof his “San Francisco story”remain in San Francisco. However, this does not prevent The SanFrancisco PoetryRenaissance,1955-1960from achieving the status ofan extremely necessary book among Beat scholarship. Warren French’s thorough knowledge of little known publications, publication histories and the socio-political climate makes the work a historically invaluable reference towards the investigation of an era. French demonstrates familiarity with both poet and publisher, critic and cynic, reviewer and reviewed, no matter how remote, including the neglected mem­ bers of the eclectic Beat underground whose accomplishments were frequently ill-noticed and who strived to avoid the notoriety strained and stained by the label of “beatnik.” Although San Francisco and its environs sets the scope ofhis work, French’s history claims to limit itself to highlighting the “beat frequency” when that broadcast issues forth from the Bay Area. Although Ginsberg’s reading of the first section of Howl at the Six Gallery on October 7, 1955, undisputedly marks the beginning...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 389-390
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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