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LAURENCE, Margaret.

Four corrected typescripts for publication, and three typed letters signed.

1969-72 Stock Code: 141425
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Four corrected typescripts of articles by Canadian author Margaret Laurence, sent to Ray Gardner (1919-1997), journalist and editor at the Toronto Star, for publication in the paper, including three typed letters signed from Laurence to the same.

i) Typed letter signed, 19 November 1969: "is the enclosed page the sort of thing you had in mind, regarding the challenges of the 1970's? If you use it, I would be grateful if you would have a copy of that day's Star sent to me".

ii) The enclosed typescript, headed "Challenge of the Seventies": "Writing in the next decade? One can't make predictions - only guesses. Here are a few of mine. In Canada, young writers will deal less with individual dilemmas and more with group ones - the scene will become, broadly speaking, more tribalized. The whole area of myth and legend, both ancient and new, will be explored to a greater extent... Themes will continue to be those of isolation in our steel forests, and mankind's cruelty to one another, but love won't be defined only in negative terms. The cities won't take over writing entirely, either - one mark of Canadians is that we still feel close to the earth of this planet. New publishing houses will spring up all over; there will be a storm of new novelists and poets, among whom - if we're lucky - three or four will turn out to be very good indeed". A few words are erased in blue ink.

iii) Typed letter signed, 16 July 1970: "I am enclosing a short piece about my views on Toronto. Perhaps I'm not very well qualified to have opinions on the subject, having only lived in Toronto one year, but one did develop certain strong feelings... I hope to move back permanently in about three years time, when my children have finished high school".

iv) Enclosed typescript, headed "Toronto a More Pleasant Place to Live": "Toronto is still, in comparison with many American cities, a relatively pleasant place to live. This is not to say we should congratulate ourselves for having been born north of the border. Toronto soon won't be liveable, either, unless a lot of action is taken quickly to save it from the fate of becoming yet another virtually uninhabitable megopolis". Laurence outlines the need to improve air quality, stop the Spadina expressway, banning private cars from city centres, ending cutting down of trees and preserving old buildings. "Let's not worry too much about fancy fountains and tourist-dazzling public squares until we have learned to care for and look after the air we breathe, the past which made us but need not chain us, and the presence of growing green which in a city we especially need - for calm, and to remind us we live not really in an urban cocoon of our own making but one a planet not of our making, our total home for which we must soon develop more respect and love or we will perish with it". With six omissions in blue ink.

v) Typed letter signed, 16 August 1971, enclosing a response to Gardner's telegram (not present).

vi) Typescript, headed "Premier for a Day", writing what she would do if she was premier of Ontario. Laurence proposes a "Pro-Planet Bill", stopping all industries from dumping wasters in rivers and lakes, and placing taxes on industries culpable for such environmental degradation to restore the rivers and lakes. "Second, as Ontario's first woman Premier, I would introduce the Anti-Second-Class Citizens' Bill, which would guarantee women equal pay with men for the same job done, and would recognize women's special difficulties in work by providing day-care centres for children of working mothers. I would then sink back into obscurity, tired but reasonably happy". With one inked omission of a hyphen.

vii) Typescript (3 pages), headed "End-of-Year Thoughts". Laurence reflects on the Canadian novels published in 1972, feeling it a good year: "I do mean that a number of books of real quality were published, and a few of outstanding excellence". Laurence comments on ten novels published that year, and particularly commends Margaret Atwood's Surfacing, and her Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. At the same time, Laurence writes they should guard against self-congratulation, and "there is still too much rubbish being printed; there are still too many books appearing with evidence of too little editorial work, too little editorial concern". With two inked inserted words and an omission in the author's blue pen; together with pencilled editorial notes by Gardner.

All the letters and typescripts were retained by Gardner, as part of his collection of correspondence and documents from notable individuals.

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3 typed letters signed, 4 corrected typescripts (three 1 page, one 3 pages). 1 undated envelope to Gardner.


Some creasing from handling; in very good condition.


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