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This June 18th marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo which saw Napoleon’s final defeat and ended 23 years of warfare between France and major European powers. The battle was fought just south of Waterloo village, in present day Belgium. Inspired by this battle, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a series of Napoleonic fiction works including: A Story of Waterloo, a play adapted from the classic work A Straggler of '15 from Round the Red Lamp.
In commemoration of this famous battle, this year’s 14th Annual Cameron Hollyer Memorial Lecture will feature prominent Arthur Conan Doyle scholar, author and Chair of the Friends of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, Clifford Goldfarb, who will discuss Conan Doyle's Napoleonic writings including his play A Story of Waterloo. Acclaimed Canadian actor R.H. Thomson will give a reading of the play following the lecture. This special program will take place on Saturday, June 27, in the Toronto Reference Library’s Beeton auditorium from 2pm - 4:30pm.
Prior to this event, please visit the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre located on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library for free tours of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at 1 pm. All are welcome.
When I think of Westerns, I think of films. Perhaps directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne on horseback and featuring views of Monument Valley. But the familiar features of the genre were first established in print fiction, and indeed many of the most classic Western films were originally Western novels.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"If you wanna call me that, smile"
A case in point is the novel The Virginian by Owen Wister. Wister's 1902 novel is generally accepted to be the first full length Western. It has been adapted for film or television seven times; the most famous version being the 1929 film featuring Gary Cooper as the Virginian, in his first sound picture. Misquoting Wister's iconic line "when you call me that, smile", Cooper drawls "if you wanna call me that, smile", further misquoted in popular culture as "smile when you call me that". The Virginian established many of the key elements of the genre, like the showdown gunfight between the good guys and the bad guys, familiar from Western films.
Walter Van Tilburg Clark's 1940 novel, The Oxbow Incident, explores the devastating effects of mob rule and frontier justice gone wrong. The 1943 film version starred Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda, and also featured Anthony Quinn and Harry Morgan. Directed by William A.Wellman, and filmed in somber black and white, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
In Jack Shaeffer's 1949 novel, a mysterious stranger named Shane helps homesteaders in Wyoming defend their farms against a violent land grab by an unscrupulous cattle baron and his hired gun. A reformed gunfighter, Shane reluctantly straps on his gun once again. The film version stars the diminutive Alan Ladd as Shane and features a truly intimidating Jack Palance as the cattle baron's hired gun.
True Grit (1968) by Charles Portis is a comic, witty take on the traditions of the western novel. Fourteen year old Mattie Ross enlists the help of U.S. Deputy Marshal Rooster Cogburn to avenge the death of her father. John Wayne won the 1969 Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in the first film version. Jeff Bridges later played Cogburn in the 2010 film from the Coen Brothers.
Lonesome Dove was originally written as a script by Larry McMurtry for a film with James Stewart and John Wayne. When that film project was abandoned, McMurtry turned the script into a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. The novel was made into a magnificent television miniseries featuring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. Duvall and Jones play two former Texas Rangers who attempt to drive a stolen herd of cattle 3000 miles from Texas to Montana. If you haven't read the book, you are in for a treat as it outshines the miniseries.
Do you want to keep on top of the business news? Stay current on economic statistics? Are you a do-it-yourself investor?
In the Business, Science and Technology Department on the 3rd floor of Toronto Reference Library, there is a great collection of daily, weekly and monthly financial newsletters, newspapers, and the business sections of three daily Toronto newspapers.
Every day we post the latest edition of each newsletter on our whiteboard. You can request the newspapers and newsletters from the Information Desk.
Our collection includes the business pages of the Globe and Mail (Report on Business) and the Toronto Star, as well as The Financial Post, Barrons, Consensus, Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, the TSX Daily and the Wall Street Journal, and more.
A partial list of newsletters includes the Canadian Mutual Fund Advisor, Consensus, CRB Pricecharts, Income Investor, Investment Reporter, Investor's Digest, Monday Report on Retailers, MoneyLetter, Money Reporter, Mutual Fund Adviser, Successful Investor, and the TMX Daily.
Value Line Investment Survey is now available in digital format.
I had just finished reading Headhunter by Timothy Findley (this month's Toronto in Literature Book Club selection) and was still radiating a bit with the strangeness of it all, floating around in that in-between place of being absorbed in the universe of a book and being back in the real world. I turned on the TV to kind of snap myself out of it and TVO's The Agenda was on. The episode was about Southern Ontario Gothic literature and, lo and behold, as I watched I soon realized that what they were talking about was exactly what I had just been reading.
The term Southern Ontario Gothic first appeared in print in an interview with Timothy Findley, published in Graeme Gibson's Eleven Canadian Novelists. In the interview, Gibson comments that people had been remarking on the influence of American Southern Gothic in Findley's work, to which Findley replies (in a jokingly defensive manner), "sure it's Southern Gothic: Southern Ontario Gothic. And that exists."
Southern Ontario Gothic is a sub-genre of the Gothic literature genre. Gothic literature originated in England in the late 18th Century and became popular with books such as Frankenstein and Dracula. An important sub-genre of Gothic literature is American Southern Gothic, exemplified by writers such as Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, and Flannery O'Connor.
Southern Ontario Gothic marries the ordinary, everyday-ness of literary realism with the horror and terror of the evil that lurks beneath. Its writers share a strong sense of regional place, and they depict and often celebrate the small details of daily life in that place while also exploring the other side of the everyday, what The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature describes as "the merciless forces of Perfectionism, Propriety, Presbyterianism, and Prudence" (emphasis mine):
Traditionally the Gothic deals with confinement, illness, madness, demonism, secrets, live burial, and fear. Usually an imperilled heroine searches for the clues to her identity in a ruin or a confining architectural space like a dungeon. In the Southern Ontario tradition, however, the threat to the female protagonist can come from the wilderness, from cabin fever, or from uncommunicative husbands. (1085)
Writers in the Southern Ontario Gothic tradition typically use elements of the Gothic - repression, desire, trauma, monstrosity, the uncanny, the supernatural - to explore or expose racial, gendered, religious, and political hypocrisies. Interestingly, some of Canada's most canonical writers are often described as working in the Southern Ontario Gothic mode; writers like Margaret Atwood, Jane Urquhart, and Alice Munro.
People's lives, in Jubilee as elsewhere, were dull, simple, amazing, and unfathomable - deep caves paved with kitchen linoleum.
- Alice Munro, Lives of Girls of Women
Here are four Southern Ontario Gothic reads recommended by guests on The Agenda:
You can watch the complete episode on Southern Ontario Gothic below:
On Monday June 8th, in conjunction with Pride Month, researchers from Rainbow Health Ontario and the TransPULSE Project will present the findings of their groundbreaking 2010 survey on the lives of transgender people in Ontario. They will discuss the impact their research has already had on policy and health care access in Ontario, and what remains to be done to improve the health and well-being of trans people in this province.
The TransPULSE survey has generated numerous reports and articles, and has been used by researchers and organizations from across Canada and the US. Here are just a few findings summarized in a recent report:
Toronto Public Library hosts a program next week with presenters from Trans PULSE and Rainbow Health Ontario who will describe the key findings of their work.
The report's authors note that: "Contrary to the notion that depression and suicidality are primarily attributable to distress inherent to being trans, we found evidence that discrimination and violence had strong adverse impacts on mental health. This means that interventions to improve the social and human rights situation of trans people have the potential to reduce depression and suicidality."
Toronto Public Library’s LGBTQ collections include trans issues. Search the catalogue using one or more of the following terms: transgender, transgenderism, genderqueer, and, for a broader search, gender identity.
Trans bodies, trans selves by Laura Erickson-Schroth
Transgender 101 edited by Dan Irving
Transgender history by Susan Stryker
Gender failure by Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon
Trans activism in Canada edited by Dan Irving and Rupert Raj
Transgender rights and politics edited by J. K. Taylor and D. P. Haider-Markel
Finally, in case you haven't already seen it, Lana Wachowski, one of the Wachowski duo responsible for blockbuster films like The Matrix Trilogy and The Cloud Atlas, gave an articulate, humorous, and deeply moving speech on her life experience as a transgender woman when she received The Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award in 2012.
You have just two more weeks to check out Exposed, on display at the TD Gallery on the first floor of the Toronto Reference Library. Exposed is our first exhibition of images from the Toronto Star Photograph Archive – a collection of over one million images donated by the Toronto Star to the Toronto Public Library in 2014.
As you might imagine, selecting highlights from a complete archive of Canadian press photographs spanning the 20th century was no easy task. I asked Carol Elder, the curator of Exposed, to share a bit of background about her role in the massive donation project and to describe how she tackled the challenging task of selecting the cream of the crop from this extraordinary collection.
Can you tell us about your experience working with the Toronto Star Photograph Archive (TSPA) and the donation of the collection to the Toronto Public Library?
My role as project manager of the Toronto Star Photograph Archive began in 2010 when the Toronto Star determined that its 20th century photographic print collection should be donated for the benefit of all Torontonians and other Canadians. I knew the collection well because I had already worked with it for many years researching images for Toronto Star reporters, book and magazine publishers, documentaries, and Torontonians interested in their family histories. After developing a work plan for this complex project, I ensured better access to the collection by completing a finding aid to the photo folders and went through a rigorous process to determine the appropriate institution to donate the collection to.
I accomplished the digitization project with the help of a team of copyright experts and photo editors who chose approximately 144,000 photos with editorial value from the Star’s collection of over 1 million images to be digitized. During the course of the project I hired a large staff of graduates from Ryerson’s School of Image Arts, the University of Toronto’s iSchool and other graduate programs to help catalog the more important photos in the collection. The donation and digitization project took approximately four years to complete.
Is there anything that you think people would be surprised to learn about the collection?
The Toronto Star Photograph Archive was organized in 140,000 subject folders covering every topic imaginable. If you browse the collection by examining the folder titles in the finding aid you will certainly find some unexpected collections. For example, there are folders entitled: Abominable Snowman, Babies with chickens, Duels, Fairies, Fakirs, Ghosts, Hermits, Hippies, Hitchhikers, Junkmen, Lonely people, Magna Carta, Monsters, Noah’s Ark, Noise, Oxygen, Ozone, Pole sitting, Skeletons and skulls, Spray cans, Spitting, Virtual reality, Witchcraft and witchdoctors to name only a very few.
How did you go about selecting images for Exposed?
With space in the TD Gallery for only 100 or so photos and just six weeks in which to select the images, this was a challenging curatorial assignment. I wanted to showcase the strength of the archive in a number of areas, namely portraits of famous 20th century individuals, dramatic sports shots, fascinating images from the Star’s international collection, iconic political and social events and human-interest stories.
Bob Olsen/Toronto Star
White Cascade, Yosemite National Park, California
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)
Keith Beaty/Toronto Star
January 7, 1986
It was important that the exhibition illustrate the strength of Toronto Star’s award-winning photographers such as Boris Spremo, Bob Olsen, and Frank Lennon. I also wanted the exhibition to illustrate the ways in which many 20th century photos were altered for publication in the newspaper. I worked with thumbnail copies of the images organized on a diagram of the gallery walls and cabinets to help select and arrange the images for Exposed.
Paul Henderson's winning goal in the Canada-Russia Summit Series
Frank Lennon (1927-2006)/Toronto Star
September 28, 1972
Do you have a favourite photograph in Exposed?
Gosh, in a sense I love them all! But I particularly like the altered photos. Each one shows the artistry of the Star’s art department - airbrushing, painting and cutting out photos in order to enhance the visual experience of each story for the Toronto Star’s readers.
My favorite image is the 1967 photo of the Marshall McLuhan reading in his office at St. Michael’s College. If you look carefully, the part of the photo that shows McCluhan reading on his couch is actually a cut out from another photo that was ‘tipped into’ a photo of his office. The radiator behind McLuhan’s head was painted in because in the original photo another object was in front of it. It’s a masterpiece of alteration! In order to protect the original print, the photo in the Exposed show is actually a faithful recreation by Toronto Public Library staff member Dona Acheson who duplicated the cut-out of McLuhan very expertly!
What do you think makes a photojournalistic image powerful or iconic?
An arresting, shocking, or dramatic image that reveals a deeper political or social situation or changes the way the world understands that event makes an image powerful or iconic. Portraits, such as those taken by Yousuf Karsh, for example, have become iconic because they reveal a deep understanding of the personalities of his subjects.
Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)
Anything else you would like to share?
The TSPA is an amazing collection of photographs that documents Canadian and international events and people of the 20th century. I hope the Toronto public will enjoy browsing the prints in the photo folders on their own and have the opportunity to view many more exhibitions that showcase this exceptional photographic collection.
A donation of this magnitude is a complex undertaking and it required the collaboration of a large number of people at the Star, in particular Robin Graham and Ed Greenspon, and the Toronto Public Library’s Special Collections department, notably Mary Rae Shantz and Linda Mackenzie, without whom this project could not have happened.
Exposed: Featuring Highlights from the Toronto Star Photograph Archive is on display now at the TD Gallery on the main floor of Toronto Reference Library. The exhibition is generously sponsored by TD Bank Group.
You can see many more images from Exposed on the Virtual Exhibit here. Better yet, stop by the TD Gallery to see the exhibition in person before it closes on June 14!
Dish with Candace Bushnell and brush up on your legal rights. Summer tours of the Toronto Reference Library start this month, and you can learn about self-publishing with Terry Fallis and Kate Hilton and the Asquith Press.
Click on each image to enlarge or Download The June 2015 @ TRL as a pdf file.
For a full list of programs to browse or search, visit our Programs, Classes and Exhibits page.
What's your vision of the ideal place to do your writing? Historically, writers have created masterpieces under all kinds of unusual circumstances and in a bewildering variety of spaces. I was interested to learn that many writers had a hut or shed where they could retreat and enjoy a quiet, private refuge.
Photo: Creative Commons
Here is George Bernard Shaw's revolving hut. He called it the 'London' hut, so that if anyone came calling, and he didn't want to be disturbed, they could be told that he was 'in London', and it would be true. The hut was built on a turntable, so Shaw could push it around and always be in the sunshine.
Photo: Geoff Charles/National Library of Wales
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"It is the loveliest study you ever saw...octagonal with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window...perched in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills..."
Photo: Creative Commons
"I had the gazebo built about 15 years ago, and go through phases of using it, and then I'll abandon it for 5 years, then rediscover it with delight. I love walking to the bottom of the garden, and settling down to write."
Or, like Michael Pollan, you could get really ambitious and build your own writing shed. Here he describes the moment when he decided that he needed a room of his own.
With four workstations, available whenever the library is open, and access to the Toronto Reference Library's extensive collections, this new service is very popular. Writers from across the city have used the room, working on a wide range of projects, including historical fiction, children's books, magazine articles, Canadian artists' biographies and much more.
One of the first writers to use the room describes her experience in this Toronto Star article.
The feedback from our writers has been enthusiastic. Here's what they're saying:
"Quiet time and work space, which is VERY hard to find! Thank you so much!"
"Quiet space for focused research with ongoing access to books held only at TRL."
"Having the space helped me focus."
From one of our most frequent users:
"Easy access to materials without having to pack up my laptop every time I needed to leave my desk; also immediate access to material that if I were working elsewhere, I might be disinclined to make a special trip to the library to consult - this has turned up information that I hadn't been able to find elsewhere."
If you're looking for a 'room of your own' to work on your own masterpiece, with access to invaluable research material, look no further than the Toronto Reference Library. Information and the application form are available online. We'd love to be able to claim that the next Great Canadian Novel was written right here at the library!
The expression "One World. One Game" pretty much sums up soccer's true meaning. As Toronto now prepares for the Pan Am Games, the city is about to become the World in One City.
John Doyle, author of The World is a Ball: the Joy, Madness, and Meaning of Soccer, will examine the context of the Pan Am Games (July 10-26), the influx of athletes from Latin American and the Caribbean countries, and show us how soccer (football, fútbol, futebol) explains and illuminates this great city.
Mr. Doyle is the Globe and Mail's Television Critic. During his tenure, he also wrote extensively about soccer, by covering the World Cup 2002 in Korea/Japan, the Euro 2004 in Portugal, the World Cup 2006 in Germany, and the Euro 2008 in Austria/Switzerland. In addition, his articles on soccer have appeared in the U.K. Guardian and the New York Times.
Come up to the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Toronto Reference Library to have a look at our soccer books and magazines. Be it in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish, you can find it at the Toronto Reference Library!
Join us for this free event:
One World. One Game.
With John Doyle
Thursday May 28th, 2015
7:00 to 8:00 pm
789 Yonge Street
Toronto Reference Library