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Margaret Laurence

Critical Reflections

Edited and with an introduction by David Staines

Publication Year: 2001

This book highlights the accomplishments of one of Canada's most acclaimed and beloved fiction writers, Margaret Laurence. The essays in this collection explore her body of work as well as her influence on young Canadian writers today.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers


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pp. v

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pp. 1-5

Though referring to the Nigerian plays and novels of the 1950s and 1960s, Laurence's comments also explain the pattern and the significance of her own fiction. In her early fiction with its African settings and in her later fiction with its Canadian settings, she creates....

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The Spirit and the Letter: The Correspondence of Margaret Laurence

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pp. 7-21

Few pleasures involving writers and their words can match the excitement and energy of working with exchanges of letters between gifted correspondents. This is certainly true of the approximately 450 letters in the Laurence-Wiseman correspondence....

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Cavewomen Div(in)ing for Pearls: Margaret Laurence and Marian Engel

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pp. 23-37

With correspondence between Margaret Laurence and Marian Engel as its point of departure, this essay considers Laurence's 1974 novel The Diviners in conjunction with Engel's 1978 novel The Glassy Sea...

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Reading Margaret Laurence's Life Writing: Toward a Postcolonial Feminist Subjectivity for a White Female Critic

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pp. 39-58

I propose feminist, postcolonial readings of Margaret Laurence's two book-length autobiographical works: The Prophet's Camel Bell, memoirs of the year she spent in Somalia in 1951-1952, and Dance on the Earth: A Memoir, the book she completed shortly before...

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Margaret Laurence and the City

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pp. 59-78

Margaret Laurence uses the anecdote to comment both on "contemporary urban life" and on her own identification with the cabs and cabbies of the world, the degree to which she collects stories, as they have..

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The Figure of the Unknown Soldier: Home and War in The Fire-Dwellers

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pp. 79-100

In the fall of 1967, Margaret Laurence took time from the novel she was struggling with to write to Al Purdy. She describes her progress:...

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(W)Rites of Passage: The Typescript of The Diviners as Shadow Text

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pp. 101-120

Writes of Passage is the original title that Margaret Laurence gave to the penultimate section of The Diviners in her typescript of the novel. Ultimately, however, she eliminated the initial letter, transforming Writes to Rites. But writing casts a long shadow over..

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Listening: Laurence's Women

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pp. 121-127

During a conversation with Nick in A Jest of God, when Nick is talking about immigrants, Rachel thinks: "as though things had been easy for the people I came from, easy back into prehistory...

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Sitting Down to Write: A Discourse of Morning

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pp. 129-134

Margaret Laurence's THE DIVINERS continues to unfold itself as a major poetics of prose fiction. Certainly for her generation of Canadian writers (and I was a year her junior), possibly for generations to come,..

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Margaret Laurence: The Shape of the Writer's Shadow

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pp. 135-143

In Rembrandt Van Rijn's famous paintings in which he depicts the "anatomy lessons" of various doctors teaching their profession, the autopsies being performed are shown as starting with a dissection of the hand or arm. Although the paintings are masterful...

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To Find Refreshment in Writing Children's Books: A Note on Margaret Laurence's Writing for Children

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pp. 145-150

Margaret Laurence wrote four books for children. The only thing that is interesting about them is that she wrote them at all. They might be called a footnote to her adult fiction and criticism, but they are not really even that. They are irrelevant, not only to...

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Faith and the Vocation of the Author

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pp. 151-162

I was a stuudent with Peggy Wemyss in Second Year Arts at United College from 1944 until 1947, when our small class, holding high our brand-new B.A. degrees, graduated. Although we were not close bosom pals in those days, we shared the same context of experience...

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Margaret Laurence: A Reminiscence

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pp. 163-168

Margaret Laurence gave us our places. She made it seem not only possible but a fine and worthy thing for us to be what we were. I remember saying, I think it was to Robert Weaver of the CBC, some time during the 1950s: "What we need in this country is one great writer, recognized...


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pp. 169

E-ISBN-13: 9780776616582
E-ISBN-10: 0776616587
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776604466
Print-ISBN-10: 0776604465

Page Count: 179
Publication Year: 2001

Series Title: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers