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2 0 6 WAL 3 3 ( 2 ) SUMMER 1 9 9 8 amount to a distilled, high-level course in Cather. They tell us about the real people and circumstances that caught in Cather’s mind and served as inspiration, and they tell us where Cather was in her career and her life when she did the writing. They take us back in time to when an honorable banker, when his institution failed, covered for the depositors; to when the landscape was still alive enough in the imagination that crossroads were felt to be sinister; to when playing marbles was thought to be a form of gam­ bling; to when, before and underneath everything, the big bluestem and the little bluestem turned the prairie a “red bronze color in the fall after frost.” But with all their wealth of knowledge and insight, and it is considerable, the essays and notes don’t seem to reduce the magic. These scholars are strongly moved by the “gift of sympathy” to their material, to borrow Cather’s own phrase, and this fine thing shows up as an ethically regardful touch in biography; a deference to the free, transpersonal consciousness of a great storyteller; and withal an understated homage to the mysterious process of creativity, to the source itself. New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism. Edited by Greta M. K. M cCormick Coger. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. 232 pages, $59.95. Reviewed by Lisa Spaulding University of Nebraska at Lincoln For New Perspectives’ intended audience of U.S. scholars, this collec­ tion of essays serves as a solid introduction to Margaret Laurence studies. While book-length scholarship addressing Laurence and her works abounds in Canada, few such texts are easily available to those south of the fortyninth parallel. Laurence’s work, however, is readily available to U .S. read­ ers and is taught in U .S. institutions. Filling this void of critical information is Coger’s stated purpose, one that she forcefully discharges. Coger has included essays that approach Laurence from a variety of scholarly perspec­ tives, including feminist studies, folklore studies, and narrative theory. Each is readable, well researched, and representative of a given methodology. Four of the eighteen essays address multicultural issues, that is, multi­ culturalism as defined by Canadians who recognize and discuss the cultural and ethnic differences between white Canadians— specifically English and Scottish Canadians— and those of color. While this discussion is a useful perspective to add to scholarly dialogue, it unfortunately limits the investi­ gation of Laurence’s other multicultural issues. While one essay does address Tree for Poverty— Laurence’s collection and translation of Somali literature and literary criticism— no sustained analysis of The Tomorrow-Tamer and Other Stories or The Prophet’s Camel Bell is included in Coger’s collection. This is an unfortunate, albeit understandable, omission for Canada’s first B o o k r e v i e w s 2 0 7 postcolonial author. Also, the collection does not address more contempo­ rary theoretical issues, such as radical feminism, ecocriticism, ecofeminism or post-Marxist perspectives on Laurence’s work, as these are outside the collection’s scope and intent. For a baseline of scholarly understanding of Margaret Laurence’s work, New Perspectives is indeed a cornerstone addition for U .S. scholars. Its most practical use is for scholar-teachers who are considering integrating Laurence into their classrooms and are looking for a variety of perspectives on Laurence’s work to introduce to their students. For those interested in further study, Coger includes an extremely helpful selected bibliography. A M ary A ustin Reader. Edited by Esther F. Lanigan. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1996. 271 pages, $40.00/$ 16.95. Reviewed by Chad Rohman Bowling Green State University In her recent anthology, A Mary Austin Reader, Esther F. Lanigan’s edi­ torial approach is to give readers “the original Mary Austin as faithfully as possible” and to “better acquaint the ‘common reader’ with this extraordi­ nary American writer’s work.” Certainly, Lanigan’s collection achieves both of these goals, providing both scholars and general readers with an ample and useful selection of Austin’s “prodigious,” diverse, and in...


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