Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Both Hands: A Life of Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Both Hands: A Life of Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press

Article excerpt

Sandra Campbell, Both Hands: A Life of Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013), 672 pp. 30 b&w photos. Cased. $49.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4116-0.

A wealth of detail can be found in Sandra Campbell's biography of Lorne Pierce. A series of overlapping chronological chapters guides the reader through Pierce's life, detailing his early spiritual and academic pursuits through to his unique position at the Ryerson Press. As Campbell colourfully notes, Pierce was unique in Canadian publishing in that he 'aspired to the triple crown of editor, critic and nationalist sage' (p. 146). The joy of the biography is that the detail exceeds these lofty career goals, devoting profitable space to Pierce's early training as a Methodist minister. Here, Pierce undertakes strenuous physical, spiritual, and social work, balancing his academic studies with time in the community in rural Plunkett, Saskatchewan. In turn, Pierce's stay at the Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1915-16 adds to the reader's sense of a developing nationalism, not least when Pierce is seemingly 'pained by American ignorance of Canada' (p. 98). Meanwhile, the First World War challenges Pierce's sense of national and religious callings. All of this adds to the biography's compelling attempts to account for Pierce's own moral development alongside his literary values.

Both Hands gives lively accounts of Pierce's relationships with authors and an ever-widening cultural circle. Multiple literary projects are examined alongside Pierce's complex health problems, throughout his life contending with deafness, TB and lupus. The breadth of research brings voice to Pierce's wife Edith as a strong character in her own right. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.