A Place to Stand on: Essays by and about Margaret Laurence
Contains Bibliography, Index
Bruce Whiteman is Head of Rare Books at the McGill University Libraries
and author of The Invisible World Is in Decline, Books II to IV.
Margaret Laurence has undoubtedly attracted more attention from critics and scholars than any other Canadian modernist writer. This is natural, of course, as her fiction stands at the centre of one of the lines of development of Canadian writing since the war. No high school or university course in Canadian literature can afford to ignore her.
The criticism which her work has attracted has been of a variety of approaches, from the thematic to the post-modern, and from the feminist to the “fellow-worker” notes of the novelists themselves. Most of these essays have appeared in journals and magazines, not obscure for the most part but scattered and difficult to keep track of. George Woodcock’s A Place to Stand on, then, serves a useful function by bringing together in one place a representative selection of the Laurence scholarship published during the past 22 years. The earliest piece is Henry Kreisel’s “The African Stories of Margaret Laurence” (1961), but in fact the majority of the pieces date from the last ten years. The essays vary in quality, but none is undeserving of a place in this collection. Particularly helpful to have are the three interviews with the writer herself, by Robert Kroetsch, Rosemary Sullivan and Michel Fabre.