Jburlinson Charles Foran, Mordecai Richler was a person of notable contradictions: a Jew accused of being anti-Semitic; an ‘un-Canadian’ Canadian; a dutiful son who hated his mother. How do you think this kind of ‘definition by opposition’ played out in relation to Montreal, the city in which he grew up? His ardor for Montreal was, […]

In a previous post here, I argue that familiarity with the life of an author enriches the experience of reading their work. It not only influences the way fiction is understood, it also boosts enjoyment. The text remains the same. Its intrinsic aesthetic qualities remain the same, what changes is the reception. Additional layers of […]

First appeared in The Globe and Mail In Patrick Suskind’s novel Perfume, protagonist Jean Baptiste Grenouille is born on a stinking hot day in July, 1738, under a gutting table in a fish market in Paris. Abandoned amid the swarm of flies and offal and then orphaned, he subsequently legs his way through a succession […]

First appeared in The Guardian Photo Source: Wiki: Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve By Nigel Beale Reading biographies of writers affects the way we read their books. And, unlike Proust, I think it does so for the better During the past several months there has been an interesting conversation ping-ponging back and forth between literary blogs, on the utility […]