Once & Future

Charlotte Ashley – Book seller, collector, writer, editor, historian

October 15, 2012

Canada Reads 2013: McGill Queens University Press

Votes are due in October 24th! I can’t believe how soon that is, so without wasting more time today I continue my Canada Reads 2013 campaign. For those of you just tuning in, I am bound and determined to raise the visibility of older works of Canadian literature, and so I will be featuring some overlooked publishers who have been keeping up the good work of keeping older CanLit in print. I hope to make a range of suggestions for each region defined for this year’s competition. Last week I pointed to House of Anansi’s A-List offerings and the University of Alberta Press.

Today I have the pleasure of featuring the McGill-Queens University Press and some of it’s affiliates. I’m pleased because a MQUP focus lets me do double-duty today. Not only does MQUP publish offerings from the Centre for Editing Early Canadian Texts, but they happen to have a good back-catalogue of Hugh MacLennan, and Mr. MacLennan gets my shout-out today because next week the Montreal’s Writers’ Chapel Trust will be laying a plaque in the Writers’ Chapel of St James the Apostle Anglican Church in his honour.  (Want to attend? contact Adrian King-Edwards @ The Word Bookstore, wordbook@securenet.net, 514-845-5640.)

So here is some MacLennan, but also some major selections from the Early Canadian Texts. Don’t turn up your nose like that – have YOU read them? That’s right. Please do consider:


Hugh MacLennan, The Watch that Ends the Night
“George and Catherine Stewart share not only the burden of Catherine’s heart disease, which could cause her death at any time, but the memory of Jerome Martell, her first husband and George’s closest friend. Martel, a brilliant doctor passionately concerned with social justice, is presumed to have died in a Nazi prison camp. His sudden return to Montreal precipitates the central crisis of the novel.”

Frances Brooke, The History of Emily Montague

Atlantic Provinces:

Thomas Chandler Haliburton, The Clockmaker

James De Mille, A Strange Manuscript found in a Copper Cylinder
I had to mention this somewhere – possibly Canada’s first science fiction novel! An oddball work of adventure and philosophy very much in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs or, hell, George Sand.


John Richardson, Wacousta or, The Prophecy

Phyllis Brett Young, The Torontonians

One thought on “Canada Reads 2013: McGill Queens University Press”

  1. I just stumbled upon the James DeMille story in the Toronto Reference Library last week and thought it looked fascinating: never heard of it until then! I loved The Torontonians and also The History of Emily Montague (but I do have a thing for epistolary novels so Brooke’s naturally appealed).

    I’m really enjoying your CR posts!

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