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Series editor, Jeffrey M.
Heath Toronto, Dundurn Press, 1991. 167pp, paper, $19.95, ISBN 1-55002-145-1. (Profiles in Canadian Literature series). CIP


Series editor Jeffrey M.
Heath Toronto, Dundurn Press, 1991. 155pp, paper, $19.95, ISBN 1-55002-146-1. (Profiles in Canadian Literature series). CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up

Reviewed by Alan Thomas

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

The Dundurn Profiles present a personal, and casual, face to the reader with photographs on the front cover and a magazine-like layout and approach within, offering plenty of variety for everybody.

Lucy Maud Montgomery and Farley Mowat, Pierre Berton and Jane Rule are found between the same covers in volume seven. Volume eight has a more contemporary range, again diverse, and offering, among others, prominent figures in fiction Janette Turner Hospital and Michael Ondaatje, the playwrights Ken Gass and Rick Salutin, and three writers in French, the best known being Yves Beachemin. Each volume is a browser's terrain. The "profiles" offer a range of approaches: some give plot summary, others analyze poems, but the biography naturally dominates, and many students will find these life stories fascinating.

The attraction of writer profiles surely is a function of the high status of the figure of the artist in our society. These biographies provide so many differing models of the writer's life that any dreaming young writer, male or female, can imagine a personal connection and find inspiration. As for utility, teachers will find the volumes valuable for projects.

On a more pedantic note, they will encounter some loose editing, peculiarly so when the authors go to war: Frank Prewett went as "a private soldier gunner," while "Lieutenant Layton" (yes, that's Irving) appears already to have been commissioned as he arrives to enlist. And Lucy Maud Montgomery has a "grandmother" but, evidently more importantly, and in the same paragraph, a "Grandfather." Perhaps only editors will care.

Alan Thomas teaches literature at Scarborough College, University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario

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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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