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Allen). Several work in local literary publishing (Robert Currie, Glen Sorestad, Brenda Riches), and give us a sense of the part that literary journals and small presses have played in developing writers. Doinga book ofinterviews isn'tas easy as it looks; one can'tjust plunka tape recorder down in front of a subject, ask some questions, and transcribe the results. The interviewer must do his research carefuUy, and be able to gain the subject's confidence. Hillis has obviously done her homework; she knows these writers' works, and her knowledge appears to be the key to the free flow of talk which she evokes from them about their notions of art, their working methods, their sources of encouragement , their sense of a physical, social, and cultural context. There are some wonderful moments - Anne Szumigalski explaining how she feels more at home on the prairies than she ever did in her English birthplace; Lorna Crozier envisioning the paring-down process of poetic creation as eventually arriving at a single word; Terrence Heath's comments on how regional writers are moving into non-regional subjects; Ken Mitchell on the imminent end of books. These and other moments of vision make the book a resource for understanding not only a region's culture but also the .process of writing itself. (PAUL DENHAM) Robert Kroetsch and Reingard M. Nischik, editors. Gaining Ground: European Critics on Canadian Literature Western Canadian Literary Documents Series 6. NeWest Press. 303. $18.95, $8.95 paper 'Canada is so far away it hardly exists.' Borges's comment, quoted by one of the critics in Gaining Ground, reminds us that national concerns about the distance between Canada's two solitudes soon give way to international views about the space between here and everywhere else. In the seventeen articles and two appendices of Gaining Ground, an equal number of European critics make the Atlantic crossing and attempt to establish or consolidate a critical foothold. Rather than ask Frye's 'Where is here?' most seem to know where they are as they set offacross the land, from Quebec to British Columbia, telling us what they know about Canadian literature. But these articles are also intended 'to make better known to an international audience how Canadian literature is treated in Europe today: This objective may explain why the articles are likely to be most informative to readers not yet familiar with current critical trends in Canada. Nevertheless, Canadian readers will find here much of interest and value concerning Canadian literature programs, publications, courses, and instructors abroad. Very few of the authors of these articles will be known to Canadians (the possible exceptions being Paul Goetsch, Cedric HUMANITIES 153 May, and Konrad Gross). It is interesting to learn that English-Canadian literature is the more popular in France (Michel Fabre of the University of Paris writes here on Gallant), whereas French-Canadian literature draws wider attention in England (Cedric May, known to readers of Ellipse, examines Grandbois). However, the symmetrical balance suggested by such research interests is not characteristic of Gaining Ground. The primary focus falls on fiction in English since 1960, with a stong emphasis on the last decade and on western Canada. Only two articles deal with poetry (Grandbois and found poetry), only two with French-Canadian literature (Grandbois and Aquin). There is no consideration of Canadian drama, and only one examination of nineteenth-century materials. The collection is highly eclectic in focus, for the editors have allowed their contributors complete freedom ofchoice. Nearly half the critics now teach in Germany, but there are also representations from France, Austria, England, Italy, and Switzerland; and two of the contributors now reside in Canada. In a brief preface, Kroetsch acknowledges the major efforts of Professor Nischik, and notes that all contributors agreed to write their articles in English (though Michel Fabre admits that his is a translation). In general, their writing is clear and direct, revealing an impressive familiarity with current scholarship, a modest gesture towards debate with other European critics, and an ability to place Canadian literature within a broader context, both European and American. In several articles, the collection reveals a recurrent interest in narrative form, post-modernist technique and metafictional concerns...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 152-154
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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