The Annotated Bibliography of Canada's Major Authors, Vol. 8

Description

576 pages
Contains Index
$28.00
ISBN 1-55022-043-8
DDC 016.81

Publisher

Year

1994

Contributor

Edited by Robert Lecker and Jack David
Reviewed by Boyd Holmes

Boyd Holmes is a librarian in Toronto.

Review

This is the eighth and last volume in a series of enumerative
bibliographies of writings by and about important Canadian writers—in
this case, Irving Layton, Dennis Lee, and Duncan Campbell Scott. Each
bibliography is in two parts: “Works by the Author” and “Works on
the Author.” The citations are thorough and the accompanying
annotations concise. The bibliographies themselves are inconsistent,
including materials to the end of 1990 for Layton, 1991 for Lee, and
1988 for Scott. The serviceable introductions to the authors, and the
indexes to the critics, are helpful. However, the book would have
benefited from title indexes, chronologies of the three subjects, and a
list of the subjects of the seven other volumes.

With their thoroughness, accuracy, and appropriate use of
cross-references, all three bibliographies are models of first-rate
scholarship. Still, there are serious omissions. Mansbridge missed Keith
Garebian’s valid dismissal of Elspeth Cameron’s Layton in John
Metcalf’s Carry on Bumping (1988), as well as Michael Darling’s
terse review of Layton’s Wild Gooseberries in The Third Macmillan
Anthology (1990). MacPherson forgot the 19 December 1983 issue of
Maclean’s, with its cover photograph of Lee. And Groening omitted
reference to Metcalf’s What Is a Canadian Literature? (1988), the
fifth chapter of which is crucial to any accurate appraisal of Scott’s
fiction and criticism of his work.

This volume has other problems. Due to his extensive work for the
federal Department of Indian Affairs (1879–1932), and his significant
limitations as a writer, Scott is of greater historical than literary
interest. I do not question the need for a Scott bibliography, only that
such a work was included in a series devoted to “major authors.” I
note, too, that the Lee bibliography contains an entry for an article by
Layton, yet no reference to this article appears in the Layton
bibliography.

Because of its virtues, I recommend this book despite its flaws to
students and scholars of literature, bibliography, and Canadian and
intellectual history, and to libraries with large holdings in any of
those fields.

Citation

“The Annotated Bibliography of Canada's Major Authors, Vol. 8,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31282.