Editorial: Reviewing Reviewing (or, Reviewing, Reviewing!) (Comparative Canadian and American Studies of Canadian Literature and History)

Article excerpt

Margaret Atwood. In Search of "Alias Grace." Charles R. Bronfman Lecture in Canadian Studies. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1997. 39 pp.

Eugene Benson and William Toye, eds. The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature. 2nd ed. Don Mills: Oxford University Press Canada, 1997. xv + 1199 pp.

Nathalie Cooke. Margaret Atwood: A Biography. Montreal: ECW Press, 1998. 378 pp. $24.95 cloth.

Michael Dawson. The Mountie from Dime Novel to Disney. Toronto: Between the Lines Press, 1998. xii + 215 pp. $21.95 paper.

William Dean et al., eds. Concise Historical Atlas of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998. 180 pp.

Charlene Diehl-Jones, ed. The New Quarterly. "New Directions in Canadian Writing." Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring 1998). 322 pp. $10.000 paper.

Coral Ann Howells. Alice Munro. Contemporary World Writers Series. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998. xv + 184 pp. $59.95 cloth, $19.95 paper.

Robert Lecker. English-Canadian Literary Anthologies: An Enumerative Bibliography. Teeswater, ON: Reference Press, 1997. x + 209 pp. $35.00 paper.

Desmond Morton and Morton Weinfeld, eds. Who Speaks for Canada? Words That Shape a Country. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1998. xx + 332 pp. $40.00 cloth.

W. H. New. Borderlands: How We Talk About Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1998. viii + 119 pp.

Francis Parkman. The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century. Intro. Conrad E. Heidenreich and Jose Brandao. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. xxxi + 586 pp. $25.00 paper.

Christian Riegel and Herb Wyile, eds. A Sense of Place: Re-Evaluating Regionalism in Canadian and American Writing. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1998. xiv + 131 pp. $24.95 paper.

Marie Vautier. New World Myth: Postmodernism and Postcolonialism in Canadian Fiction. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1998. xxiv + 339 pp. $55.00 cloth.

By any standard, this is an idiosyncratic list, made up mainly of volumes that for one reason or another caught my eye when they arrived here as review copies over the last several months. I say "mainly" because I have augmented the listing by adding one or two volumes I noticed elsewhere--review copies have not yet arrived at our editorial office and, given the process of such distribution, may not ever. What this assembling has made is, among other things, a fairly good-sized pile of recent books that interest me: biography, cultural and literary criticism, reference works, authorial statements, historical texts, and volumes that, variously, define the present cultural moment of Canada. More than that, and for me, at least, they represent "Canadian Studies."

One of the volumes I added here is a slim one by W. H. New, Borderlands: How We Talk About Canada, the published versions of the McLean Canadian Studies lectures that New delivered at the University of British Columbia. The opening essay, "Giddy Limits: Canadian Studies and Other Metaphors," offers a compelling reading of borders, boundaries, and other binaries in Canada generally and within this field called Canadian Studies in particular. A couple of quotations, to start: "Canada," New argues, is a place constructed by "paradigms of boundary rhetoric" "as a place that includes, a place that excludes, as a place that distributes resources and power, and as a place that embraces some ongoing principle of boundary negotiation" (5). A bit later in the essay New, after offering a succinct and precise reading of one/two of Alice Munro's stories, "Chaddeleys and Flemings: 1. Connection" and "Chaddeleys and Flemings: 2. The Stone in the Field," meditates on the story's/ies' ambivalent ending/s and asserts that "border lines are giddy, not fixed--because they are sites of translation and transformation, where accommodation and resistance, cohesiveness and fragmentation, and a host of other forces interplay" (25). …