Marian Engel emerged as a writer during that period in Canada when nationalism increased and “new feminism” dawned. Although she is recognized as a distinguished woman of letters, she has not been widely studied; consequently we know relatively little about her and her craft. The material collected in Marian Engel’s Notebooks: “Ah, mon cahier, écoute...” is a major step in redressing that neglect.
Extracts carefully chosen by Christl Verduyn from Marian Engel’s forty-nine notebooks — notebooks Engel began in the late 1940s and which she maintained until her death in 1985 — track Engel’s creative development, illustrate her commitment to the craft of writing and document her growth as a major Canadian writer. The notebooks also portray Engel’s surprising leaps of logic, her fascination with the bizarre, the eclecticism of her reading and the depth and variety of her thinking. Finally, they present moving documentation of a woman facing cancer and early death.
Christl Verduyn’s illuminating introductory discussions to each of the notebooks unobtrusively guide us in the reading of these sometimes difficult writings. Marian Engel’s Notebooks: “Ah, mon cahier, écoute...” leaves readers with a vivid sense of Canadian culture during the 1960s and 1970s. It provides insight into the literary life of one of Canada’s significant woman writers, including her connections with other Canadian writers, and will be of special interest to scholars working in the field of literature.close this panel