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Edited by Robert Lecker, Jack David and Ellen Quigley. Introduced by George Woodcock

Toronto, ECW Press, 1989. 279pp, 292pp, and 304pp respectively, cloth, $40.00 each volume, ISBN 1-55022-046-2, 1-55022-032-2, 0-92073-85-5 respectively.
These books are part of a ten-volume set. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Louise Reimer.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

In 1983, with the launching of the series "Canadian Writers and Their Works," ECW Press further consolidated its reputation as one of the foremost publishers of Canadian literary criticism. The undertaking was an ambitious one - twenty volumes, each including four or five essays, covering major Canadian writers of fiction and poetry from the last two centuries.

Volume 2 covers a quintet of popular early authors: Thomas Chandler Haliburton, William Kirby, Gilbert Parker, Charles G.D. Roberts, and Ernest Thompson Seton. The other two volumes feature contemporary writers - Mavis Gallant, Norman Levine, Leon Rooke, and Audrey Thomas in volume 8, and Leonard Cohen, Dave Godfrey, Robert Harlow, Jack Hodgins, and Robert Kroetsch in volume 10. While all of the essays are welcome additions to the growing Canadian critical canon, students of literature will be particularly pleased with the inclusion of authors such as Godfrey and Harlow, who have not previously been discussed at length in books of criticism.

Each volume opens with an erudite and readable introductory essay by eminent Canadian critic George Woodcock. The sections on individual authors follow a standard format: a sketched portrait, a brief biography, an overview of the tradition and milieu in which the author wrote, a survey of the author's critical reception, a critical discussion of the author's works, and a selected bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Each volume is fully indexed. The contributors are all well-respected scholars of Canadian literature and their essays are, without exception, eloquent, thorough and honest appraisals.

The sophisticated rhetoric and argument in parts of the critical analyses may daunt some readers, but post-secondary and more advanced secondary students will find this series an indispensable introduction to important Canadian poets, novelists and short story writers. School, public and academic libraries will want to give serious consideration to adding this series to their shelves of Canadian literary criticism.

Louise Reimer, Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton, Alta.
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