Woman as Artist: Papers in Honour of Marsha Hanen


238 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895176-37-9
DDC 305.437




Edited by Christine Sutherland and Beverly Rasporich
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emeritus of English and Canadian studies at
Concordia University and the author of Margaret Laurence: The Long
Journey Home and As Though Life Mattered: Leo Kennedy’s Story.


This lucid, intelligent collection of essays is introduced by co-editor
Christine Mason Sutherland as being “feminine in a number of ways: it
has been made to honour a woman for her achievements on behalf of women;
it is by women; it is about women; and it demonstrates, I believe,
methods that are typical of women.”

Pianist Marsha Hanen was a dean at the University of Calgary in the
1980s and is now president of the University of Winnipeg. One writer
calls her “Mentrix par excellence.” The contributors are all present
or former faculty members at the University of Calgary, and the volume
is part of the university’s 25th anniversary.

These writers believe in autobiography, because the personal is
political. They value the arts and seek to explore what distinguishes
women artists. They share a distrust of Western rationalism, which
assumes that the investigating mind is male, and yet they continue to
rely, as Pamela McCallum points out, on categories (such as truth,
value, and ethics) that postmodernist thinkers have rejected.

Woman as Artist ranges freely from literary archetypes to gender in
music, from Prairie pioneers of dance to Winnipeg’s North End. I like
its paradoxes (such as the powerlessness of femininity generating
strength), its intent to provoke, and its will to celebrate both the
empowerment of women and the joy of creativity.


“Woman as Artist: Papers in Honour of Marsha Hanen,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/13507.