Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Writing Life: Journals 1975-2005

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Writing Life: Journals 1975-2005

Article excerpt

George Fetherling, The Writing Life: Journals 1975-2005, ed. Brian Busby (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013), 360 pp. Cased. $34.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4114-6.

Reading this presentation of George Fetherling's journals is a curious experience. It immerses the reader in a detailed social network of Canadian literary authors through the recent past, offers reflections on literary value and is an agonisingly personal experience of the anxieties of a 'writing life'. Engaged in writing poetry, fiction, autobiography, and literary journalism, Fetherling's Canadian literary career comfortably describes a man of letters. Reading the journals is a prompt to seek out more of Fetherling's work, mostly found under his previous publication name Douglas Fetherling. In doing so, this book serves as a behind-the-scenes tour of literary production. Beyond the evolution of personal thought and focus, it is also a window onto the shiftin Toronto's literary scene over three decades. A cast of familiar names appear throughout as Fetherling provides an idiosyncratic commentary on literary stardom. In such anecdotes, his long-time friend 'Peggy A' (Margaret Atwood) largely comes offunscathed, evoked as a human, caring and entertaining presence. Other literary tales, both first and second-hand, involve key Canadian writers, such as Marian Engel, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Dennis Lee and Leonard Cohen. A reader would be hard pressed to find a Canadian writer who is not mentioned during the book's thirty-year span.

Among the everyday gossip, the readings, and the parties, is a personal record of the circulation of literary capital. These events are all the more compelling given that Fetherling's diary entries consistently position himself as the outsider, self-deprecating in their tone. …

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.