Marian Engel: Life in Letters
Marian Engel was a writer's writer – an iconoclast, deeply admired and loved by a generation of Canadian authors and critics. Informal gatherings were often held at Engel's Toronto house, and it was there that Engel's many literary friendships were first nurtured, later to blossom through the exchange of numerous and extraordinary letters, which are variously funny, insightful, irreverent, and moving. Engel's lively epistolary practice offers a view of the literary landscape in Canada from 1965 to 1985 as seen through her correspondence with mentor Hugh MacLennan, and friends and colleagues Robertson Davies, Dennis Lee, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Alice Munro, Margaret Laurence, Matt Cohen, Robert Weaver, and Graeme Gibson, to name but a few.
In the spring of 2001, the Marian Engel Archive in Hamilton, Ontario received an exciting and unexpected new installment of Engel correspondence. Marian Engel: Life in Letters is born of that gift. In making their selection, Christl Verduyn and Kathleen Garay have chosen correspondence that specifically captures Engel's life as a writer, a narrative that spans her early youthful travels in Europe to her early death in 1985. In addition to the letters sent to her friends, this startling and important collection includes letters by Engel to critics, to editors, to granting officers, to publishers, and a brilliant letter to a chief librarian lambasting him for, among other pungent criticisms, the library's prejudice against 'Domesticity' amongst other categories. Thoughtfully presented and accompanied by insightful commentary, these letters are rich in their detail, filling in the fine points in the life of not only one Canadian writer, but of a nation of writers.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 350 pages
- Dimensions: 5.7in x 1.3in x 8.8in
'This book offers an entertaining as well as instructive entry into Canada's literary history. Engel had close connections to a generation of Canadian writers and publishers in the renaissance-like era of the 1960s to 1980s. The selection process Verduyn and Garay have used has yielded the broadest possible lens through which to view the era and makes for a fascinating, page-turning read.'
Helen M. Buss, Department of English, University of Calgary
Author InformationKathleen Garay is an adjunct profesor in the Department of History at McMaster University.
Christl Verduyn is a professor in the Department of English and Film Studies and director of the Canadian Studies Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Subjects and Courses