Adele Wiseman: Essays on Her Works


172 pages
ISBN 1-55071-135-0
DDC C813'.54





Edited by Ruth Panofsky
Reviewed by Carol A. Stos

Carol A. Stos is an assistant professor of Spanish Studies at Laurentian


This latest volume in Guernica’s useful Writers Series brings together
an interesting collection of selected articles about the work of an
eclectic writer and thinker.

Donna Palmateer Pennee rereads Wiseman’s The Sacrifice from the
perspective of gender differences in an effort to re-vision the novel
through the more recent theoretical and critical contexts of
deconstructionst, materialist, and feminist theory. Francis Zichy
explores the myths of fragmentation and wholeness in her novel Crackpot
based on his analysis of the concepts of Isaac Luria, a 16th-century
Jewish mystic and philosopher. Panofsky provides a feminist reading of
Crackpot as a response to The Sacrifice and the actual sacrifice of the
protagonist, Laiah. Jon Kertzer focuses on Wiseman’s memoir about her
mother, Old Woman at Play, analysing her exploration of esthetic theory
and esthetic cognition. Donna Bennett examines Wiseman’s search for
truth in abstraction and experience and sees it as “her method of
understanding and living in the world.” Elizabeth Greene traces the
themes of Wiseman’s earlier work and poetry in the short story “Goon
of the Moon and the Expendables,” adding a valuable bit to the pieces
of the Wiseman puzzle of creativity. The collection finishes with a
transcript of one of the last interviews Wiseman gave before her death
and a brief biography of the writer.

These essays offer new readings, from a number of critical approaches,
of Wiseman’s best-known works, and introduce the reader to the variety
of genres in which she worked. They also reveal the breadth and depth of
Wiseman’s creativity, confirm Panofsky’s belief that Wiseman’s
work continues to be enduringly relevant, and secure Wiseman’s place
among the most intriguing Canadian writers of the latter half of the
20th century.


“Adele Wiseman: Essays on Her Works,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,