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Letters in Canada 1984 As usual at this time, we bid farewell to some regular contributors and welcome others. Both ourFiction reviewers, Douglas Hill and Helen Hoy, withdrew last year, and their places are taken by Michael F. Dixon and Mark Levene, both of the University of Toronto. We also say farewell to Sandra Djwa, who has written the Poetry round-up for several years, first alone, then in collaboration with Ronald B. Hatch. This year Professor Hatch has gallantly agreed to continue single-handed. There are also changes in the Quebecois contributors. Jacques Michon has given up the Romans section, and his place is taken by Pierre Hebert of the University of Toronto, and in Poesie Caroline Bayard has taken her bow and is succeeded by Robert Yergeau of the College universitaire de Hearst. Regrettably, Gilles Girard did not send us his essay on Theatre this year or advise us in advance that he could not. We are sincerely grateful to all those who have assisted so expertly in the past, and look forward with confidence to our association with the newcomers. Changes are also taking place in UTQ at the editorial level. B.-Z. Shek has been associate editor since 1976, and stepped down a few months ago. His contribution to the journal has been invaluable, and he has been especially active in the organization of 'Letters in Canada.' His place is taken by L.E. Doucette, whose name appears on the masthead of this issue for the first time; he has already established himself as a tower of strength. Finally, this will be the last issue of UTQ to appear under my editorship . My successor will be T.H. Adamowski, and I cannot imagine the journal in more capable hands. (WJK) Fiction 1/ MICHAEL F. DIXON This year's harvest of first fruits provides, as always, a mixed vintage: some raw, decanted well before its time, some quite stale despite new bottling, but some heady and sweet enough to warrant optimism for the future of at least this Canadian vineyard. Of the vintners, Oberon Press seems blessed with the most discerning and industrious harvesters. Oberon provides fully half of the better entries by new authors, all impecUNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY, VOLUME 54, NUMBER 4, AUGUST 1985 316 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 cably edited and invitingly produced, and it is clear that without Oberon much of quality and potential would wither on the vine unharvested. Hardly a case of withered potential, but certainly of long-delayed harvesting, Phil Murphy's Summer Island (Oberon, 147) begins with a story originally published in Saturday Night and winner of the Belmont Prize for 1967. In its principal characters, narrator, mood, setting, and vision, 'Prophet Still, if Bird or Devil' establishes the major features of the entire collection, and one wonders why it took nearly twenty years for the work to mature. All fundamentals were in place, but perhaps what Murphy lacked in 1967 were editors like the current group at Oberon to spot his potential and encourage his development. Whatever the reason for delay, Summer Island is Murphy's first and last book; he died before seeing it in print, and the voice of a wise, accomplished storyteller was silenced too soon. Despite its long gestation period and the maturity ofits author, Summer Island shares with many first fictions by much younger writers a strong aura of autobiography and a thematic focus on the mythos of lost innocence, casting a boyhood version of Phil Murphy as the narrator and sometime protagonist in each ofseven stories, all but one setin the Edenic world of summertime and holiday on the simple, pastoral, motorcar-free Toronto islands during the 1930s. 'The innocence of it!' recalls Murphy in a rare authorial intrusion. 'The sheer innocence of that nineteen-thirties world ... a world where sneaking a puff on a stolen cigarette was the equivalent of a whole course of cocaine, where a glimpse of a girl's stocking-top was as arousing as full-frontal nudity would be today. Yes, we were innocent then, innocent about a lot of things- not just about sex, but about money and class and violence.' Yet Murphy denies us any...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 315-322
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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