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The Metamorphosis

Goose Lane Editions


Winner, Best Atlantic Published Book Award

Shortlisted, Canadian Regional Design Award

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"[A] magical history tour of the highest order ... Nova Scotia writer Bruce MacNab, according to experts cited all over, has simply nailed the untold apprenticeship of Harry Houdini as the magician performed throughtout Maritime communities more than a century ago. ... you cannot escape the fact that this is an absolutely exceptional book."

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"Bruce MacNab's absolutely fascinating reconstruction of Harry Houdini's summer-long 1896 tour of Eastern Canada was Atlantic Canada's 'sleeper' book of the past year. ... It's a fabulous book to read and savour, with an engaging narrative, detailed research and striking visuals, including rare news clippings, vintage posters, illustrative maps and newly unearthed photographs. ... In his first book, the author has produced a gem that won the 2012 APMA Best Atlantic Published Book Award. ... It has great appeal to those with a passion for Victorian Canadian life, travelling circuses, magic tricks, fortune tellers and freak shows. Fans of the master magician as well as curious people of all ages will also marvel at Houdini's sleights of hand and the secrets of his illusions. ... Shedding new light on Houdini's career is quite an accomplishment, but it's the author's polished writing style and the richness of the illustration that makes The Metamorphosis a very entertaining summer read."

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"It's a fascinating read."

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Bruce MacNab grew up in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and attended the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology. Since then, he has worked as an author, carpenter, craftsman, tutor, and teacher. He has long been fascinated with the story of Harry Houdini. His articles have appeared in the Beaver, the Chronicle Herald, History Today, and other magazines and newspapers. Bruce MacNab now lives in New Ross, Nova Scotia, a region steeped in the mythology of Oak Island and Prince Henry Sinclair. The Metamorphosis is his first book.

 
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Almost a Great Escape

Goose Lane Editions


Winner of the W.O. Mitchell Award, the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction, and the Alberta Readers' Choice Award

Following his mothers death in 2004, Tyler Trafford discovers an album of old letters and creased photographs that reveal a mother he never knew, a man hes never heard of, and a love affair doomed by class and circumstance. The letters are from Jens Müller, a Norwegian pilot who trained in Canada during the early days of World War II, one of only three prisoners who would make it home after The Great Escape.

In Almost a Great Escape, Trafford takes us on a journey of emotional discovery and dramatic disclosure as he reconstructs his mothers life, from her youth as a wealthy Montreal debutante to her final days as a broken but unbent casualty of a loveless marriage. His search for answers takes him across Canada and then across the ocean to Norway, hoping to learn more about the mystery of this secret relationship.

Written with a fluidity fueled by heart-wrenching honesty, Traffords unconventional memoir confirms that while you can survive your past, you can never escape from it. Almost a Great Escape includes photographs as well as excerpts and reproductions of telegrams and letters Jens sent from England and Stalag Luft III.

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"Tyler Trafford exposes an elaborately intertwined story of family, romance, war, and love's aftermath. His multi-genre approach is both lyrical and admirably adapted to the challenge of the story he both unearths and illuminates."

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"As his own reflections intermingle with Alice's letters, the book becomes a moving story of love between a mother who dreamed of being a writer and a son who became one."

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"Tyler Trafford uses his creative ingenuity to bring the story of his late mother's secret love to life. Told with great flair and extraordinary skill, this captivating tale is an engrossing voyage of discovery and revelation."

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"Trafford is a mesmerizing writer with a style all his own.... The story of a secret love affair, it is a wonderfully twisted story of a Westmount upper class family, romance in war, and the scars that come from not taking a chance on love."

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"This is not a sentimental love story. It belongs in another, higher category. It's one that people of both sexes and any age past puberty will appreciate. And incidentally, it's a fine piece of writing and composing."

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"Letters in love and war reveal the most about the human condition. Tyler Trafford takes us inside a wartime romance, situates it at the heart of the most celebrated escape of the Second World War, and delivers a moving account of his own search to understand a parent and his own condition."

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"There are a handful of characters in a reader's life that are real, their wakes resonating like ghosts. Such is Alice Tyler, conjured by her son, writer Tyler Trafford, in his epistolary biography, Almost a Great Escape. She is so evoked you will taste her in a glass of vodka.... Trafford's writing swims with the heady heat of a slow, balmy, never-ending childhood summer. He builds towers with his words, stacking adjectives to describe the slow-motion escape of a lovesick war hero and building to a satisfying, thought-provoking conclusion."

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Tyler Trafford worked for many years as a reporter and editor first with the Calgary Herald, then in Australia with the Australian and later with the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. When he returned to Canada, he began writing biographies, histories, and works of fiction, including The Story of Blue Eye, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Grant McEwan Author's Award. He now divides his time between Calgary and his studio on the Oldman River near Pincher Creek, Alberta.

 
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Crying is for Babies

BWL Publishing Inc.


In the 1930s medicine was still very much a hit and miss affair. The surgeons were still experimenting and learning about the human body. This at a period when there was little in the way of pain relief. This is one woman’s story about a childhood ruined by such surgeons, whose bad judgement confined an eight-year-old subsequently to bed for three years and left her with a disability to last a lifetime. Nowadays she would have been given bed rest and pain relief, and in no time would have been up and running again. Her strong will, and the love of a close family, saw her through the bad times, enabling her to go on and become the talented, remarkable person she was. I know because this woman was my sister.

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Inspiring story of overcoming adversity.

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Award winning author Tricia McGill was born in London, England, and moved to Australia many years ago, settling near Melbourne. The youngest in a large, loving family she was never lonely or alone. Surrounded by avid readers, who encouraged her to read from an early age, is it any wonder she became a writer? The local library was a treasure trove and magical world of discovery through her childhood and growing years. Tricia is a dreamer who still dreams every night; snippets from those dreams have translated into ideas for her books. Although her published works cross sub-genres, romance is always at their heart. Tricia loves reading and writing historicals and her other great passion, time-travels.

 
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Master and Madman

Goose Lane Editions


Shortlisted, Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Despite the coming social reforms undertaken at home, the world of the Georgian British Empire was nothing if not class-conscious and leery of outsiders. But Anthony Lockwood, with no known certain record of his parentage and whose first appearance in history is his signing onto the USS Iphigenia in Jamaica in 1795, certainly broke through this mould. His naval record almost exactly spanned the French wars and the War of 1812, and he was commended for bravery in action against the French, was present at the Spithead Mutiny, shipwrecked and imprisoned in France, appointed master attendant of the naval yard in Bridgetown Barbados, and served as an hydrographer in the English Channel and the West Indies before beginning a three-year marine survey of Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy. All of this certainly seems eventful enough, but he was just getting started. Despite being an "outsider", Lockwood was able, due to his experience in the Navy, to acquire an appointment as the Surveyor General of New Brunswick and become the right-hand man to Governor George Stracey Smyth. Also appointed as Receiver General, his rise to the top of society seemed all but assured — despite the "handicap" of his low birth. But was he accepted or only tolerated by the aristocratic high New Brunswick society? On June 1, 1823, after several days of confronting authorities, picking fist fights, and riding from one side of the province to another, Lockwood took to his horse, brandished two pistols, and declared that he was taking over the government. This one-man coup d'etat failed, and he was declared mad. Jailed and later placed under house arrest, it would be November 1825 before he was officially removed from office and went home to England, where he spent much of the rest of his life in and out of asylums. With his own destruction of many of his records as well as the loss of more to a shipwreck and a fire, the story of Anthony Lockwood was a difficult one to research. With an exhaustive bibliography and notes, here, for the first time, is the bizarre, true story of Lockwood's almost unprecedented rise and disastrous fall.

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"Master and Madman, nominated for the 2013 Atlantic Book Awards for historical writing, is not a novel, but it contains some of the essential elements of an engrossing fiction: social ambition, suspense, disappointment, and the perverse workings of fate."

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"The authors... convincingly argue, in this intriguing look at a little-known corner of Canadian history, that Lockwood's grand gesture on that spring day in 1823 was ‘both mad and meaningful.’"

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Peter Thomas, a devoted fly fisherman, was also the author of three books of poetry. Among his prose works are The Welsher, a novel, and Strangers from a Secret Land, about Welsh settlement in Canada, which won the Welsh Arts Council's annual award for a work of non-fiction.

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A naval historian and experienced yachtsman, Nicholas Tracy holds a PhD from the University of Southampton and is the author of several books including Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail. Although he was born on the Canadian prairies, Tracy has been an active yachtsman on two continents for many years.

 
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Jacob Isaac Segal

University of Ottawa Press | Canadian Studies


Translated by Vivian Felsen

Finalist, 2018 Governor General’s Literary

Awards (GGBooks), Translation category

Born in the Ukraine in 1896, and settling in Montreal in 1910, Segal became one of the first Yiddish writers in Canada. His poetry, infused with lyricism and mysticism, along with the numerous essays and articles he penned, embodied both a rich literary tradition and the modernism of his day.

Pierre Anctil has written so much more than a biography. For the first time, Segal’s poetic production is referenced, translated and rigorously analyzed, and includes over 100 pages of appendices, shedding light on the artistic, spiritual, cultural and historical importance of his oeuvre. By introducing the reader to the poet’s work through previously unpublished translations, Anctil demonstrates that in many respects it reflects the history of the Jewish immigrants who arrived in North America from Russia, the Ukraine and Poland at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as the tragic experiences of Jewish intellectual refugees of the interwar period.

This admirably written, sweeping yet subtle, work will appeal both to scholars and to a broader audience. 

The original French version was awarded the prestigious 2014 Canada Prize in the Humanities by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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A beautifully written and researched book abounding in grace, nuance and depth.

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"According to

Anctil Segal was the

first poet in Quebec to embrace

modern urbanity in his work. Consequently, he choses

to

focus on Segal’s Montréalité, both the lens through which the poet’s modernity is reflected and

the repository of longing for

the idealized

innocence of the shietl. However, Segal also ‘appropriates’ Montreal by Yiddishizing it…This book is sure

to resonate deeply with readers partly because the

fragile memory of Segal, the

reverred forgotten poet, is reminiscent of

the fate of Yiddish culture itself….This intimate, compelling and scholarly collective portrait is

essential for anyone interested in

the inner life

of the Jewish community, and

in the immigrant experience in Montreal."

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As

Canada’s most renowned

Yiddish poet and

a celebrated

figure in Jewish letters, a

full-length study of

J.I. Segal is long

overdue….

This is the

first monograph to appear that focuses specifically on Segal. … A

significant

contribution to our knowledge of Segal’s life

and writing… the

extensive primary

source material offered by this encyclopedic work will be of great

value to those who seek to undertake a scholarly analysis that situates Segal within the wider context of

Yiddish letters in

Canada as well as internationally.

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Published by the University of Ottawa Press last

year, Felsen's translation has been hailed as a 'brilliant' and 'sensitive'

rendering of Anctil's original work (...).

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"première étude systématique de ce poète célébré partout dans le monde yiddish au cours des années 1930 (Vienne, Varsovie, New York, Buenos Aires), mais qui est demeuré peu connu au Canada français (et anglais). (…) le livre d’Anctil représente beaucoup plus qu’un ouvrage sur Segal puisque les lecteurs y puisent de l’information sur l’histoire et le milieu de provenance des Juifs, y compris la situation sociopolitique en Russie et dans les pays avoisinants. … quelque cent pages d’annexes viennent compléter l’imposant ouvrage, accompagné d’une bibliographie contenant, entre autres, les poèmes de Segal cités dans les chapitres, des articles par et sur l’auteur ainsi que quelques correspondances."

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L'essai de

Pierre Anctil est davantage qu'une biographie passionnée et passionnante. … À

travers Segal, c'est toute la communauté juive est-européenne qui arrive

massivement à Montréal qui est dépeinte, avec ses circulations mondiales, tant

les liens sont nombreux avec les conjonctures européenne, nord-américaine et

québécoise. La grande force de cet essai est de renouveler l'histoire du

pluralisme québécois. 

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Full professor in the Department of History at the University of Ottawa where he teaches contemporary Canadian history.

 
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Saisir sa chance

Les Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa | Biographies et mémoires


David Culver, figure clé tant du milieu des affaires que du milieu culturel canadien, raconte son enfance à Montréal, ses études aux universités McGill et Harvard et son service militaire pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Il décrit surtout sa spectaculaire ascension au sein d’Alcan, jusqu’à accéder au poste de président-directeur général, devenant du coup le chef d’une des plus grandes sociétés multinationales du Canada, dont le siège social était à Montréal. 

Ces mémoires lèvent le voile sur la gestion d’une multinationale bien enracinée en sol québécois. Il propose des conseils pragmatiques sur la manière de cultiver le talent, développer la technologie et surmonter les défis au sein d’une entreprise qui opère aux quatre coins de la planète. 

Au fil de délicieuses anecdotes et d’inoubliables rencontres avec des grands du XXe siècle – dont Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger et Jawaharlal Nehru – David Culver se révèle un imposant leader aux intérêts et aux talents multiples. 

Dans ses mémoires, David Culver médite sur sa passion pour l’architecture – et ses initiatives de protection du patrimoine montréalais par l’entremise de la Maison Alcan – et l’importance de la musique et du sport dans sa vie. Saisir sa chance témoigne de l’optimisme de Culver, qui a de tout temps cru que les choses les plus extraordinaires peuvent arriver lorsqu’on s’y attend le

moins.

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[La biographie] de David Culver décédé l’an dernier à l’âge de 92 ans et qui fut président de la société Alcan de 1979 à 1989 après une longue carrière où il entra dans l’entreprise en 1947 vaut le détour. (...) On a donc demandé la collaboration d’Alan Freeman un homme à la longue feuille de route journalistique et ancien sous-ministre adjoint aux consultations et communications au ministère des Finances du Canada. Ce dernier a hésité au début craignant des frictions sur le ton à donner à ce récit. Mais les deux hommes se sont entendus à merveille. Au final, une saga captivante au possible.

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Né en 1924, a joint les rangs de la société Alcan en 1947, après des études à McGill et à Harvard, et en fut le président-directeur général de 1979 à 1989. M. Culver a été reçu officier de l’Ordre du Canada en 1983, Compagnon de l’Ordre du Canada en 1988, et Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec en 1990. Il a été intronisé au Temple de la renommée des hommes d’affaires canadiens et s’est vu décerner des doctorats honoris causa des universités McGill, de York et de Sherbrook

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Professionnel en résidence à l’École supérieure d’affaires publiques et internationales de l’Université d’Ottawa depuis 2014, au terme d’une période en tant que fonctionnaire en résidence. Il était auparavant sous-ministre adjoint aux consultations et communications au Ministère des finances du Canada. Alan est diplômé de l’Université McGill et a reçu une maîtrise en journalisme de l’Université Columbia.

 
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Journey of a Thousand Miles

University of Ottawa Press | Biographies et mémoires


Born into poverty in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, Ruey Yu overcame near-starvation during the Second World War. Destiny, however, had other plans for him: he was to become an award-winning biochemist, then the co-founder of what would soon become the multi-million-dollar skin care company NeoStrata.

After living through the Second World War and the post-war military dictatorship of General Chiang Kai-Shek, Dr. Yu won a coveted post-graduate scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Ottawa. He subsequently took up a research position at the renowned Skin and Cancer Hospital (Temple University) in Philadelphia, where he collaborated with pre-eminent dermatologist Dr. Eugene Van Scott to develop treatments for serious skin diseases.

In 1972, Dr. Yu and Dr. Van Scott discovered that fruit acids, known as AHAs, could effectively treat the disfiguring skin disease ichthyosis, changing the lives of thousands of people who suffered from this debilitating illness. Their further research into the biochemical properties of AHAs led to the discovery of the anti-wrinkle and anti-aging effects of these natural substances—a discovery that was licensed by skin care companies around the world, sparking the multibillion-dollar cosmeceutical industry.

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Every tube of skin cream with AHA, the wildly popular anti-wrinkle ingredient, exists because of a half-starved boy in wartime Taiwan who travelled to university in Ottawa and went on to fortune. […] Yu’s life “is the classic story of constant optimism, moving forward in the face of adversity, overcoming all odds.”

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Now in his 80s, Dr. Ruey J. Yu continues to work in the lab every day, hunting for biomarkers that

could be used for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other diseases. In 2016, Dr. Yu and Dr. Van Scott sold NeoStrata to Johnson & Johnson, which is expanding the company’s research labs into a centre of excellence for dermatological research.

 
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Thomas Chapais, historien

Les Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa | Amérique française


Thomas Chapais est une des grandes figures politiques

et intellectuelles canadiennes-françaises du début du

XXe siècle. Nommé au Conseil législatif de

Québec en 1892, puis au Sénat du Canada en 1919, il a

joué un rôle de premier plan dans les débats entourant

la réforme du système d’éducation du Québec et dans

les crises scolaires du Manitoba et de l’Ontario. 

Pourtant, c’est surtout de l’historien et non de l’homme

politique dont on se souvient aujourd’hui. Biographe

de Jean Talon et du marquis de Montcalm et auteur

d’une importante synthèse d’histoire du Canada,

Thomas Chapais formule un récit d’histoire cohérent

qui contribue à l’avancement des connaissances et qui

alimente d’importants débats historiographiques. Ses

travaux forment un jalon essentiel dans l’histoire de la

culture intellectuelle du Canada français. L’historien est

en effet le dernier grand représentant du loyalisme

canadien-français, doctrine qui repose notamment sur

une interprétation particulière de la Conquête de 1760. 

Dans cette première étude d’envergure consacrée à

Chapais, Damien-Claude Bélanger se penche sur son oeuvre

d’historien pour comprendre son émergence, son

contexte socioculturel, ses idées fortes, son influence et

son destin critique.

Ce livre est publié en français.

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Thomas Chapais is one of the great French-Canadian political and intellectual figures of the beginning of the 20th century. Appointed to the Legislative Council of Quebec in 1892, then to the Senate of Canada in 1919, he played a leading role in the debates on educational reform in Quebec as well as in the Manitoba and Ontario school crises. 

Notwithstanding, he is mainly remembered today as a historian and not as a politician. Biographer of Jean Talon and of the Marquis de Montcalm, and author of a remarkable overview of the history of Canada, Thomas Chapais weaved a coherent historical narrative, contributing to the advancement of knowledge and to important historiographical debates. Chapais occupies a leading place within the history of intellectual culture in French-Canada. Chapais the historian was indeed the last great representative of French-Canadian loyalism, a doctrine notably based on a particular interpretation of the 1760 Conquest. 

In this seminal work on Chapais, D.C. Bélanger probes the historian’s writings to better understand its emergence, its socio-cultural context, the main tenets of this thought, its influence and its critical legacy.

This book is published in French.

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Soulignons d’emblée le caractère bienvenu de cette étude consacrée à celui qui, avec Lionel Groulx, a été l’un des deux principaux historiens du premier XXe siècle québécois. (…) Serait-il temps de changer le rapport avec les devanciers de l’historiographie du Québec ? Espérons que l’ouvrage de Damien-Claude Bélanger y contribuera. À tout le moins, il sera utile aux chercheurs comme aux étudiants en aidant à aborder un historien qui joua un rôle charnière dans le développement de l’historiographie de langue française au Québec, entre le XIXe et le XXe siècle

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(...) solide essai. (...) Damien-Claude Bélanger, spécialiste de l’histoire intellectuelle du Canada français, rend justice à l’oeuvre monumentale de celui qui fut aussi conseiller législatif dans les gouvernements Taillon et Flynn, ministre non élu sous Maurice Duplessis et sénateur. Bélanger ne donne pas raison à Chapais sur le plan idéologique, mais il reconnaît la richesse de ses travaux, qu’il présente et commente avec précision et respect. Il rend, d’une certaine manière, Chapais admirable.

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C’est au professeur agrégé d’histoire du Canada à l’Université d’Ottawa, Damien-Claude Bélanger, que revient le mérite de revisiter la vie et l’œuvre de celui qui fut l’auteur d’une renommée histoire du Canada, mais qui, on l’oublie, joua un rôle sur la scène politique provinciale et fédérale. Après la Seconde guerre mondiale, il tomba dans l’oubli après avoir fait l’objet de critiques dont un d’esprit partisan. Le biographe remet les pendules à l’heure dans Thomas Chapais, historien en attribuant les mérites réels à ce grand intellectuel du pays.

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Professeur agrégé d’histoire du Canada à l’Université d’Ottawa et cofondateur de Mens : revue d’histoire intellectuelle et culturelle. Diplômé de l’Université de Montréal et de McGill, ses recherches portent sur la vie intellectuelle du Canada français et sur les relations canado-américaines. Récipiendaire d’un Prix d’excellence en éducation de l’Université d’Ottawa.

 
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Tolstoy and Tolstaya

Donskov, Andrew (Hrsg.) | University of Ottawa Press


Both Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828–1910) and his wife Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya (1844–1919) were prolific letterwriters.

Lev Nikolaevich wrote approximately 10,000 letters over his lifetime — 840 of these addressed to his wife. Letters written by (or to) Sofia Andreevna over her lifetime also numbered in the thousands. When Tolstaya published Lev Nikolaevich’s letters to her, she declined to include any of her 644 letters to her husband. The absence of half their correspondence obscured the underlying significance of many of his comments to her and occasionally led the reader to wrong conclusions.

The current volume, in presenting a constantly unfolding dialogue between the Tolstoy-Tolstaya couple — mostly for the first time in English translation — offers unique insights into the minds of two fascinating individuals over the 48-year period of their conjugal life. Not only do we ’peer into the souls’ of these deep-thinking correspondents by penetrating their immediate and extended family life — full of joy and sadness, bliss and tragedy but we also observe, as in a generation-spanning chronicle, a variety of scenes of Russian society, from rural peasants to lords and ladies. 

This hard-cover, illustrated critical edition includes a foreword by Vladimir Il’ich Tolstoy (Lev Tolstoy’s great-great-grandson), introduction, maps, genealogy, as well as eleven additional letters by Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya published here for the very first time in either Russian or English translation. It is a beautiful complement to My Life, a collection of Sofia Tolstaya’s memoirs published in English in 2010 at the University of Ottawa Press.

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This is truly a magisterial book: a welcome and valuable addition to the library of any Tol­stoy scholar and to those interested in the life and works of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya. 

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"Andrew Donskov and his team based at the University of Ottawa have just produced a new gem: a collection of the correspondence between the Tolstoys from their courtship in the early 1860s through to Tolstaya's last unsent letter on the eve of her husband's death. (...) Tolstoy and Tolstaya: A Portrait of a Life in Letters is the epistolary novel of one of the world's greatest literary couples. And for the first time, both have an equal voice."

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There are elements in their relationship that

are so very universal, particularly the weighing and measuring and comparing of the contributions of each of the spouses to the union and to the household.  It is refreshing to have this unvarnished, un-romanticized window on the relationship of such a famous and fascinating couple. It is almost literary voyeurism.  Imagine having one's own relationship laid bare for public consumption in this way.  

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"Tolstoy and Tolstoya includes the letters Sofia and Lev wrote to each other (...) not without occasional arguments and indeed fierce fights, deaths of children, and problems with peasants."

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The Tolstoys had things to say — to each other and to the world. And because that communication was written down in the form of letters to each other, it is possible to compile their thoughts into a book. (...) It is a companion book to [Andrew Donskov] earlier, highly regarded collection of Sofia Tolstoy’s memoirs called My Life, published in 2010. Donskov is a distinguished professor of languages at the University of Ottawa and a respected expert on Tolstoy and his wife.

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It is a treasure! (...) such a fine volume. It will stand for ages as

the book in its field.

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Andrew Donskov and his team based at the University of Ottawa have just produced a new gem (...) The volume also includes a wealth of contextualizing information—from detailed family trees and a list of Russian geographical names to a lengthy introduction by the editor, photographs of the Tolstoy family, a chronology and detailed index. The editors have done everything they can to make the book both broadly accessible and also of interest to experts. It succeeds in both of these tasks. As a Tolstoy scholar well versed in the vicissitudes of his life and thought, and as a human being who cares about questions of love and intimacy, I found it illuminating and at times heart-wrenching to immerse myself in this correspondence. It brings to life both the writers and their intense relationship. Even the many letters I had read before took on a new meaning when placed in the context of this greater dialogue.

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So how did the written memoirs of Tolstoy's indomitable wife, Sofia Tolstaya (the Russian feminine version of Tolstoy), one of the most important and anticipated works in modern Tolstoy scholarship, land at a university press in Canada's capital city? As with most things in academia, it involves an almost obsessive love of the subject, and lots of time. (...) To publish on Tolstoy you need permission from one of the two directors. Or, as [Andrew] Donskov jokingly puts it: "The only way to get something from Russians is to know them." (...) When Tolstaya's memoirs were scheduled to be printed in Russia as a coffee-table book, Donskov was entrusted with creating the full scholarly edition, as well as the obligation to treat the material as seriously as it deserved.

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Tolstoy and Tolstaya: A Portrait of a Life in Letters offers 239 of more than 1500 letters the couple wrote to each other in the decades ahead, as Tolstoy became a celebrated author and Sonya his respected wife. It's a weigthy, fluently translated book of 400 large-format pages, a solemn product of serious scholarship, announcing itself, a little self-righteously, as an important tool for future Tolstoy studies.

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Andrew Donskov, member of the Royal Society of Canada, is Distinguished Professor at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures of the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on Russian theatre and drama during the nineteenth century, Russian peasant literature, the Doukhobors, and the literary career of Leo Tolstoy. He received the Tolstoy Medal for Distinguished Contributions to Tolstoy Studies, awarded by the L.N. Tolstoy Museum in Moscow, in 2015.

 
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At some stage, Wilson Lowery's life took a wrong turn. When he finds himself in the hospital after an alcohol and drug-fueled binge, the doctor gives him an ultimatum to either turn his life around, or die.

Depressed and without a safety net, he signs up to become a Green Beret in the U.S. Army. Soon after he enters basic training, he realizes that he isn't cut out for the army and tries to quit, but he isn't allowed to leave. The especially demanding first weeks of training put him over the edge. Constant ridicule, lack of sleep, and excruciating group exercises at any hour of the day become his dark reality. Wilson's outlook worsens when his basic marksmanship training begins. When he shoots at targets, he knows that in his heart he could never kill someone. Wilson refuses to train again, but is still kept on base without an end in sight. His punishment for trying to quit is so intense that he attempts suicide. However, even that doesn't allow him to be immediately discharged from the army and the road is long and full of obstacles until he finally finds his freedom.

About the author

Wilson F. Lowery is a freelance writer and a first-time novelist specializing in creative nonfiction. Wilson's work has appeared on blogs and in independent online magazines. His creativity and passion for writing comes from his personal observations, successes, and failures that he experienced while growing up in Jacksonville, IL, through his formative years after graduating from college. Wilson obtained a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he currently resides.

 
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