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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Temerity & Gall

by (author) John Metcalf

Initial publish date
May 2022
Personal Memoirs, Literary, Canadian, Publishing
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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“[Metcalf’s] talent is generous, hectoring, huge, and remarkable.”—Washington Post

In Temerity & Gall, Metcalf looks back on a lifetime spent in letters; surveys, with no punches pulled, the current state of CanLit; and offers a passionate defense of the promise and potential of Canadian writing.

In a 1983 editorial letter to the Globe and Mail, celebrated Canadian novelist W.P. Kinsella railed that “Mr. Metcalf—an immigrant—continually and in the most galling manner has the temerity to preach to Canadians about their own literature.” Forty years later, in spite of Kinsella’s effort to discredit him in the name of a misguided nationalism both embarrassing and familiar, John Metcalf still has the temerity and gall to preach, to teach, and to write passionately (and uproariously) about literature in Canada. Part memoir, meditation, and apologia, part criticism and pure Metcalf, the present volume distills a lifetime of reading and writing, thinking and collecting, and continues his necessary work kicking against the ever-present pricks. As is the case with all of his critical work, Temerity & Gall will challenge, delight, anger, and inspire in equal measure, and is essential reading for anyone interested in literature in Canada and its place within the wider tradition of writing in English.

Temerity & Gall is printed in a limited paperback edition of 750 copies signed and numbered by the author.

About the author

John Metcalf is one of Canada's most distinguished literary editors, writers, critics, and anthologists. He has helped shape the sensibility of an entire group of emerging writers through his work at the Porcupine's Quill press. Known for his strong views about literary standards, Metcalf has nurtured some of our most essential writers, including Leon Rooke, Russel Smith, Terry Griggs, Caroline Adderson, Annabel Lyon, Andrew Pyper, Steven Heighton, Jane Urquhart, Elise Levine, Clarke Blaise, Michael Winter, and Mary Swan, among dozens of other fine authors.John Metcalf is the Senior Editor of Porcupine's Quill. An accomplished writer, editor, and anthologist, he is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction and non-fiction including "Adult Entertainment, The Lady Who Sold Furniture", and "Kicking Against the Pricks: Essays".

John Metcalf's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for John Metcalf

“John Metcalf has written some of the very best stories ever published in this country.” —Alice Munro

“[Metcalf’s] talent is generous, hectoring, huge, and remarkable.” —Washington Post

“In the past few decades, Canada has won a reputation as a prolific producer of high-quality short stories. Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant and John Metcalf are among those who have proven themselves masters of the difficult form.” —Maclean’s

“Hilarious, touching and delightful … brilliant concision and understated humor.” —Los Angeles Times

“A master stylist confidently at work in his favoured form.” —Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature: Second Edition

“Masterful ... Harsh reality, hope, and caricature mingle in this tour de force. As Metcalf says in his previous book, "Writing is very hard work but at the same time it is delightful play." An exceptional collection.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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