For over four decades, Nova Scotia poet and essayist Peter Sanger has quietly shaped the literary landscape of the nation, both through his own critically acclaimed books and as the long-serving poetry editor of The Antigonish Review. Underpinning this contribution is Sanger’s dedication to the long-form critical essay, a form of which he is an acknowledged master. Of Things Unknown gathers 24 of Sanger’s previously uncollected critical essays, their subjects ranging from writers with whom he has been long associated (John Thompson, Douglas Lochhead, Richard Outram, Elizabeth Bishop) to others like Geoffrey Hill, David Jones, Saint-Denys-Garneau and Emily Carr. Appraised as a whole, Sanger’s essays map the evolution of a critical methodology which worked counter to the inward-looking, nationalistic cheerleading (and sometimes juvenile sniping) that often dominates Canadian criticism. Through his intense focus on the texts, on reading deeper and ranging wider, Sanger modelled a way for the generation of Canadian literary critics and readers that followed, challenging our sense of how we might think and write about what we read.