CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by W.H. New. Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall, c1986. 516pp, paper, $19.95, ISBN 0-13-113820-0.CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Barbara J. Graham

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

All secondary school libraries will want a copy of this excellent anthology, which ranges chronologically from indigenous myths and tales to contemporary experimental fiction. The senior literature student and teacher will enjoy both the selection and introductory commentaries by this well-respected scholar and editor. The anthology may be read for pure pleasure or used as an introductory source for further study.

New's introduction is of great value to the beginning student of Canadian literature, as well as to those who need some refreshing. The reader learns of "thematic recurrences and preoccupations," "historical practice," as well as "different formal strategies of storytelling." The introduction concludes with a useful bibliography.

The first and smallest section, "Myths." includes a brief historical/critical introduction, again, with a bibliography. The selections establish themes that emerge later in Part 2, "Stories, Sketches and Tales,"

The format for Part 2 is consistent; a biographical/critical commentary and a bibliography followed by the story. The selections are not necessarily the traditional ones usually found in anthologies of Canadian literature. This makes the reading all the more pleasurable,although one is always disappointed when personal favourites are found to be missing. The selections, however, do match the themes suggested in the thematic table of contents and general introduction. The collection is basically English Canadian; however, authors such as Mavis Gallant, Roch Carrier, Michel Tremblay, and others are included in translation.

If one has the time and inclination, there are advantages to reading the anthology in chronological order. The reader is able to observe the literary form evolve and the themes rework themselves in contemporary context. The impact can be quite stunning.

This text is doubly valuable because it both entertains and motivates further study. It is unfortunate that the paper edition reviewed is poorly bound. One complete reading and pages were slipping out.

Barbara J. Graham, Board of Education for the City of London, London, Ont.
line indexes


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


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works