Canadian Literature Index 1985


406 pages
ISBN 1-55022-013-6
DDC 016





Edited by Janet Fraser, Richard Hanson, and Nancy Cox
Reviewed by Carl Spadoni

Carl Spadoni was Research Collections Librarian at the Mills Library, McMaster University, Hamilton.


This first volume of Canadian Literature Index (CLI) marks an impressive debut of an important reference work. Its closest national competitors are the Canadian Periodical Index, the Canadian Newspaper Index, and the Canadian Magazine Index. Although these other indexes contain information on Canadian literary publishing, CLI is the first guide ever to provide comprehensive access to Canadian literature and literary criticism in periodicals and newspapers.

Over one hundred sources have been selected for coverage in CLI. These sources include Canadian periodicals, international periodicals, and Canadian newspapers. According to the editor, the sources were selected on the criteria of quality, reliability, literary content, and circulation. One would hardly quarrel with the journals and newspapers that have been selected. My own preference would have been for a wider number of sources. The editor acknowledges that there are over 150 Canadian literary periodicals. I cannot understand, for example, why journals such as Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, Revue d’histoire littéraire du Québec et du Canada francais, and Scrivener have been excluded. With respect to newspapers, is the user to infer that the omission of major newspapers in cities such as Vancouver, Kingston, and Halifax signifies that these newspapers lack significant literary content? It would appear that the selection of sources has also been governed by practical considerations.

The arrangement of material falls into two main alphabetical sections, an author index and a subject index, supplemented by an appendix containing subscription and inter-library loan information. The author index is quite straightforward, giving access to the Canadian authors of published poems, short stories, reviews, articles, and other original material. The subject index includes author, title, and key word references. Annotations are an added feature, identifying the genre and content of each entry.

This reference work is handsomely produced. The typographical layout is visually pleasing. The tool itself is easy to use and Joan Weller fulfills the purpose for which it was designed.


“Canadian Literature Index 1985,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,