Subscribe in a reader

Monday, February 13, 2006

Who Says Canadian Literature is Boring?

A local bookseller, Richard Fitzpatrick, gave some sage advice during a recent interview with CKCU's Nigel Beale (of The Biblio File, aired Monday's 6-7am EST). He suggested to those seriously persuing book collecting as a hobby or a profession was to "handle as many books as possible in order to gain as much knowledge as possible."

Umm... Taking his advice to heart in a recent purchase at his bookstore, it was not too difficult for me to add Max Braitwaite's paperback edition of A Privilege and a Pleasure to my CanLit collection. Braithwaite's 1973 novel was published by J.J. Douglas Limited and reprinted by PaperJacks two years later. The soft cover book's design was done by Peter Maher with cover photo by Peter Paterson. The original hard cover's image differed, but not too significantly. Instead of a photograph, it was done as a black and white illustration of a man and a woman's head along with drawing of a nude woman, stretched out somewhat modestly and lying full length along the page. The PaperJacks edition features a nude woman along with a priest in the background. Cutting edge stuff for the 70s, and especially so for CanLit I would say.

I believe it's important to underline that this is not erotica fiction, as one may be quick to conclude from viewing the (profane?) book cover. It is a book of fiction from the author of the humorous Why Shoot the Teacher? (1965), which was eventually made into a film of the same title in 1976. Because I see my weblog as a 'family-friendly' place to visit, I bowdlerized the paperback image below with some very Canadian maple leaves similar to what Susan Musgrave did with her recently published memoir of sorts, You're In Canada Now...Motherfucker [Oops! The censors forgot to get that one] when she placed maple leaf stickers on one of her books in a (futile/tongue-in-cheek) attempt to bowdlerize her book's title.

I would like to comment on the novel, A Privilege and a Pleasure, but as a "serious" book collector I do not wish to open the cover because it would further damage the book's spine. ;-)

Max Braithwaite, a Stephen Leacock Memorial Award winner, was born in Nokomis, Saskatchewan in 1911 and died in 1995 at his home in Brighton, Ontario. I do have a high-res uncensored photo in case you were wondering. And, oh yes, I do take credit card payments via It is likely that you wont know this 'cause you simply stopped reading this rather long weblog post long ago just to ogle at the photo below you cheeky monkey.

Interesting in viewing more books in the same naughty theme? Cf. the following works of mainstream fiction:

  • Hugh Hood, A Game of Touch (1970, ECW Press; original ed.; buttocks of a man or woman?)
  • Brian Moore, I am Mary Dunne (1969 ed., soft cover, A Bantam Book)
  • John Metcalf, Going Down Slow (1972, hardcover, illustration by Hitoshi Nishi)
  • Marian Engel, Bear (1977, Soft cover, Seal Books, colour illustration)
  • Hollis Hampton-Jones, Vicious Spring (2003, hard cover, Riverhead Book; not Canadian)
  • Terry Griggs, The Lusty Man and Rogue's Wedding (1995, 2003 respectively, both soft cover eds.; bonus points for her!)
  • Lisa Zeidner, Layover (2000, soft cover, Perennial, not Canadian)
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2005, UK edition anyway; not Canadian)
  • John Updike, Villages (2004, Ingres painting, The Turkish Bath; not Canadian)
  • Thomas Berger, The Regiment of Women (1973, similarly 'bastardized' version of Ingres painting, The Turkish Bath; not Canadian)

...and I am sure the list is waaaay longer that I care to post here. These are just some of the books within my reach.) Got more titles? Let me know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anecdotal contribution: I grew up in Orangeville, Ontario. I worked at an independent bookstore on Broadway while I was in High School - late 70s.

A customer told me that "A Privilege and a Pleasure" was about Orangeville, with few changes but the names. If you lived in Orangeville,you could identify some of the characters and events with ease.

The books was scandalous locally, and the legend says the Braithwaites moved immediately before the book was published to avoid the wrath of the people with whom they had been partying.

Even if it isn't true, it's a good story.

Sunday, October 21, 2012 11:04:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home