writer, researcher, editor, lecturer


R.B. (Rae) Fleming


(Toronto: Dundurn Press), 1992, ISBN 1-55002-177-X, 268 Pages, cloth, $19.95.

Boswell's ChildrenBoswell’s Children, edited by R B Fleming, is a collection of essays that comment in various ways on the art of biography. The essays, first delivered as papers at a conference on Biography and History, hosted by the Centre for Canadian Studies, Edinburgh University, in May 1991, deal with broad topics such as the relationship of the biograher and subject; the lives of minor participants in major events; and the necessity of understanding the lives of the major players in pivotal events. The book contains many eminent names in the field of biography. Francess Halpenny, former head of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, surveys the genre’s past and future; Elspeth Cameron, biographer of Hugh McLennan, Earle Birney and Irving Layton, discusses truth in biography; and Réal Bélanger, the only French-language biographer of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, explains why biography has taken second place to political history in Québec. Well known characters live again: Aimee Semple McPherson urges us to believe her invented past, while her biographer, Janice Dickin McGinnis, warns us to be wary of McPherson’s claims; Timothy Eaton’s avowed fondness for Northern Ireland is questioned by biographer Leon Litvack; and Chris Raible, specialist in the Rebellion period of Upper Canada, deals with the complexities of rebel leader, William Lyon Mackenzie. Characters such as John Galt, Norman Bethune and the Irish rebel, Michael Collins, make appearances. Two of the essays are published in their original French. The editor contributes a piece about railway baron, Sir William Mackenzie.

This book should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in biography and its complexities.


“The essays are, without exception, informative and delightful to read (covering) a wide range of subjects...” (R G Moyles, Canadian Book Review Annual, 1993).

SELLING PRICE: $19.95. For users of this web page, a special price of $9.95 (plus shipping). Please mention that you read about the book here.

HOW TO OBTAIN THIS BOOK: Please contact the editor at rb.fleming@bell.net or 705-439-2337 or 1606 Rd 46, Woodville ON, K0M 2T0 CANADA

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