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To the Editor
Did You Hear from A. M. Klein?

I am currently editing The Collected Letters of A. M. Klein, and am seeking his correspondences.

Anyone with any information on such letters should please contact Dr. Harold Heft, Department of English, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont., N6A 3K7 (e-mail: heft@bosshog.arts.unwo.ca).

Harold Heft

London, Ontario

Beyond Dief and Chief

John Pepall's review of Rogue Tory: The Life and Legend of John G. Diefenbaker by Denis Smith (December) continued an error which is in need of correction. He states that the Diefenbaker Canada Centre of the University of Saskatchewan "is a unique effort in Canada to preserve a politician's memory and reputation." While Mr. Pepall's description may have been somewhat accurate at one time, it is certainly not a fair or reasonable description of us or our activities now.

The Diefenbaker Canada Centre is a unique institution. We are a museum, archive, and research centre founded by Mr. Diefenbaker's donation of his over three million documents, eight thousand photographs, and nearly five thousand artifacts to the institution he knew as a student, alumnus, and chancellor. Our newly developed mission statement defines our purposes as the study of Canada, with our particular themes being citizenship, leadership, and our country's international role.

We work toward achieving our goals by hosting a wide range of travelling exhibits, and by undertaking a number of innovative educational and public programs. Our exhibits come to us from across the country, as well as internationally, and are intended to enlighten our visitors about other parts of the country and the world. We offer programs to local schools on how elections are run in a democracy, the role and function of the federal cabinet, the Canadian criminal law system, and on our sister city in China.

We also conduct programs for university students on archival research techniques. Our current plans include extending this unique program to senior high school students in the area.

We would appreciate it very much if you would correct the impression of us left by Mr. Pepall's comments. We are certain that it was not your intention to mislead your readers.

R. Bruce Shepherd

Director, Diefenbaker Canada Centre


Staggered by a Misdemeanour

Upon receiving my contributor's copy of Books in Canada (December) I opened it up eagerly to gloat over my "Children and Myths" review essay. To my dismay I noticed an egregious error in the very first paragraph-an error that escaped the notice both of my own in-house copy editor and of your editorial staff. There is to my knowledge no "Arthur Lang" who anthologized folk tales. There is of course an Andrew Lang, and it was to him that I meant to refer. I apologize for any confusion that I may have created in the minds of your readers.

Alison Sutherland


No Flyers, Please

Due to your reduction of a useful, viable, portable magazine to a piece of JUNK MAIL, I am no longer interested in subscribing to, or even buying separately, this new of some jumped-up corporate twit(s?) who think they can save a few bucks by diminishment!

Audrey E. N. Holiday



Just wanted you to know that I really love the new format of the magazine. Glossy is not necessary, and this thing feels really meaty. Less slickness and more content is very agreeable.

Thanks, I held off renewing my subscription until I say what the new management was going to do-now I will renew.

Vicky Johnston


A Renewal Form

I was about to let my subscription lapse-after finding little in the past year that interested me. But the latest issue surprised and satisfied me-so I'll subscribe for another year. Good luck.

Edward Brado

Gloucester, Ontario

Enjoying & Arguing

I greatly enjoyed the new format-read it from cover to cover-underlining and arguing, looking up etc. as I went. Keep up the good reviewing!

Melita Hume

Melbourne, Quebec


I'm writing to express my disappointment with the new format and editorial line. The old BiC provided a flashy, unpretentious, reasonably thorough round-up of new Canadian books. Though it sometimes succumbed to trendiness, the old BiC never pretended to be more than it was. As a Canadian living abroad, I could depend on it to keep me up-to-date on what was being published and talked about at home. I can't do this any more.

The main problems with the new incarnation include:

Lack of comprehensiveness. By reviewing fewer books at greater length, you're doing your readers a disservice.

A diminished commitment to literature. By shifting the emphasis to movers-and-shakers non-fiction, you're overlooking too much fiction and poetry.

Toronto-centrism. The old BiC displayed an awareness that the magazine's moniker in most parts of the country was Books in Toronto, and took steps to offset its innate biases. While these gestures sometimes contained the whiff of tokenism, it was far preferable to the new BiC's virtually total reliance on writers from the self-absorbed little world of Southern Ontario.

Verbosity. The review-article style may work for the New York Review of Books, but many of the pieces in the new BiC rapidly become sleep-inducing. Shorter reviews, please.

Pomposity. The freshman erudition of the editorials is embarrassing and smacks of intellectual insecurity. Why do we need to know how many languages Gerald Owen reads? You're underestimating the intelligence (not to mention the polyglotism) of BiC's traditional readership.

Ideological predictability. Not another attack on Atwood's Survival!? Why bother? I thought we'd all (Atwood included, probably) outgrown this book. Too many of your so-called "think-pieces" read like retreads from the silliest moments of the Idler.

Poor editorial judgement. I suppose plastering a photo of a US neo-conservative (Allan Bloom) on the cover of a magazine traditionally devoted to Canadian writing was meant to be provocative. Yet as Dalton Camp has argued, the current crisis renders a commitment to Canadian culture (of any ideological stripe) incompatible with the espousal of the US neo-con project of which Bloom, as one of the three "Killer B's", was a godfather. Take heed and avoid such vulgarity in the future.

Further poor judgement. Bringing back the predictable Michael Coren, whom your predecessors wisely put out to pasture, wastes paper that could be used reviewing new Canadian writing.

Profligacy. The larger format (plagued by a dowdy layout) is ill-suited to our lean times and makes mailing expensive.

Change your ways or lose your readers.

Stephan Henighan


A Blessing

The November BiC is excellent. May the Gods bless thee!

E. C. Wainwright

Islington, Ontario


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