CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Peter Shostak.

Markham (ON), Penguin Books, c1979, 1982.
314pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN 0-14-00-64575.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Dale Simmons.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

Maria Tippett is to be commended for her treatment of the biography of Emily Carr. Tippett's writing demonstrates both understanding and extensive research of her subject. She provides comprehensive coverage of Emily Carr's life, moving from Carr's complicated and somewhat mysterious youth to her death in 1945.

Emily's family play a key-role throughout her life, providing both negative and positive forces. Numerous photographs enrich our acquaintance with them as well as her pets and friends.

Carr's complex nature emerges through the use of letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, interviews, and Emily's own writings, journals, and unpublished autobiography. The reader is taken to San Francisco, where at the age of twenty, Emily studied at the California School of Design. Eight years later, she arrived in London to attend the Westminster School of Art and in 1910 went to Paris to study first at the Academic Julien and then under John Duncan Fergusson and finally Harry Gibb.

Emily's devotion to the West Coast's landscape and native people is revealed and examined. This theme was one that she devoted herself to, incorporating in her forest paintings her personal religion, expressing her deeply felt relationship with nature and God.

This biography not only supplies an in-depth treatment of its subject, but manages at the same time to be thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable to read. Reproductions of her works (some in colour) appear throughout. A lengthy index and bibliographical notes are included at the back. An essential addition to any Canadian library, I recommend this book for school and public libraries.

Dale Simmons, National Library, Ottawa, ON.
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