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Literary Collections Essays

Hard-Headed and Big-Hearted

Writing Newfoundland

by (author) Stuart Pierson

edited by Stan Dragland

Flanker Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2006
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
    List Price

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“I am not a ‘Newfoundlander,’” Stuart Pierson wrote in “A Diatribe,” his controversial review of Historical Atlas of Canada; “it takes a few generations to achieve that.” But he had with passion observed and commented on Newfoundland culture for many years before his early death in 2001. To adapt his own words, he was a “terrieresque reader” who sank his teeth into a subject and never let go, a scholar of encyclopedic knowledge in several fields who achieved a plainly eloquent literary style. This book presents all of Stuart Pierson's significant writings on Newfoundland culture—historical, literary, and visual. It is a posthumous gift to his adopted nation/province and to readers everywhere, because in Pierson's spacious thinking Newfoundland culture is a fascinating instance of world culture.

About the authors

Stuart Ogden Pierson was born at Port Angeles in 1934. When he graduated from high school in 1952, he joined the US Army. He served there for three years and trained as an interpreter and translator in Chinese Mandarin. Once back in civilian life, he attended Reed College in Oregon and, later, the University of Washington. Together with his future wife, he went on to Yale to complete his doctorate. In 1970, Stuart and his wife, Ruth, were hired by the history department of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Stuart’s critiques on art, music, science, poetry, and literature gave him instant fame as one of Canada’s best literary critics.

Stuart Pierson's profile page

Stan Dragland was born and brought up in Alberta. He was educated at The University of Alberta and Queen's University. He has taught at the University of Alberta, at The Grammar School, Sudbury, Suffolk, England, in the English Department at the University of Western Ontario in London, and in the Banff Centre Writing Studio. He now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. He was founding editor of Brick, a journal of reviews and founder of Brick Books, a poetry publishing house, which he still serves as publisher and editor. Between 1993 and 1996 he was poetry editor for McClelland and Stewart. He has published three previous books of fiction: Peckertracks, a Chronicle (shortlisted for the 1978 Books in Canada First Novel Prize), Journeys Through Bookland and Other Passages, and (for children) Simon Jesse's Journey. He has edited collections of essays on Duncan Campbell Scott and James Reaney. Wilson MacDonald's Western Tour, a 'critical collage,' has been followed by two other books of criticism, The Bees of the Invisible: Essays in Contemporary English Canadian Writing and Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9, which won the 1995 Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism. 12 Bars, a prose blues, was co-winner of the bp Nichol Chapbook Award in 2003, the same year Apocrypha: Further Journeys appeared in NeWest Press's Writer-as-Critic series. Apocrypha was winner of the Rogers Cable Non-Fiction Award in 2005. In April 2004 the stage adaptation of HalldÛr Laxness's The Atom Station, co-written with Agnes Walsh, was performed at the LSPU Hall in St. John's. His most recent book is Stormy Weather: Foursomes, prose poetry from Pedlar Press, was shortlisted for the EJ Pratt Poetry Award in 2007. He is editor of the recently-released Hard-Headed and Big-Hearted: Writing Newfoundland, a collection of essays by Newfoundland historian Stuart Pierson.

Stan Dragland's profile page

Other titles by Stan Dragland