Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Ethel Wilson: A Critical Biography

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Ethel Wilson: A Critical Biography

Article excerpt

David Stouck, Ethel Wilson: A Critical Biography (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), 353 pp. £32. ISBN 0-8020-8741-8

Despite the fact that Ethel Wilson (1888-1980) is commonly regarded as one of the founding mothers of contemporary Canadian literature, she never received much critical attention. Lovers of Ethel Wilson's fiction will thus be gratified to learn that a superbly written biography, finally doing justice to this fine Canadian writer and her work, has now appeared.

In Ethel Wilson: A Critical Biography, David Stouck, professor of English at Simon Fraser University, elegantly combines interviews and archival material on Ethel Wilson in a thorough analysis of her fiction. Through his minute research David Stouck successfully provides his readership with a highly insightful portrait of the famous Vancouver novelist and her long writer's apprenticeship, which at times differs considerably from the public picture Wilson fabricated of herself, the picture of an unambitious, happily married doctor's wife who did not take her literary career seriously.

With a critical yet sympathetic eye David Stouck unveils the central drama in Ethel Wilson's life, the death of her mother and father in South Africa and England when the writer was still a little girl. …

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