Demers, Patricia 1946–
Demers, Patricia 1946–
(Patricia A. Demers)
PERSONAL: Born 1946; daughter of a teacher (mother). Education: McMaster University, B.A., M.A.; University of Ottawa, Ph.D.
CAREER: Writer, researcher, and educator. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, vice president, 1998–2002; University of Alberta, Al-berta, Canada, department chair 1995–98, professor of English and film studies. Also worked as a high school English and French teacher.
MEMBER: The Royal Society of Canada (president, 2005–07).
AWARDS, HONORS: Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Alberta; Arts Faculty Teaching Award, University of Alberta; McCalla Research Professorship Award, University of Alberta; University Cup, University of Alberta, 2005.
(With Gordon Moyles) From Instruction to Delight: An Anthology of Children's Literature to 1850, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1982.
(And author of introduction) The Creating Word: Papers from an International Conference on the Learning and Teaching of English in the 1980s, University of Alberta Press (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1986.
Scholarly Publishing in Canada: Evolving Present, Uncertain Future/L'Edition savante au Canada: tendances actuelles et perspectives d'avenir (bilingual edition), Aid to Scholarly PublicationsProgramme/University of Ottawa Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1988.
Science and Ethics: Proceedings of a Symposium Held in November 2000 under the Auspices of the Royal Society of Canada/La science et lethique: actes d'un colloque tenu en Novembre 2000 sous les auspices de la Société royale du Canada (bilingual edition), University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
P.L. Travers (biography; "Twayne's English Authors" series), Twayne (Boston, MA), 1991.
Women As Interpreters of the Bible, Paulist Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Heaven upon Earth: The Form of Moral and Religious Children's Literature to 1850, University of ennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1993.
The World of Hannah More (biography), University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1996.
Women's Writing in English: Early Modern England, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Developing the online magazine WWR (Women Writing and Reading).
SIDELIGHTS: A professor of English and film studies, Patricia Demers has written and edited several nonfiction books on the topics of children's literature, scholarly publishing, and the Bible. Demers attributes her love of learning to her school-teacher mother. "The breakfast table would be filled with exams or essays she was marking and there would be science experiments of some sort on the kitchen stove," she told Bev Betkowski in an article for the University of Alberta ExpressNews.
Demers's treatise Women As Interpreters of the Bible, is a prime example of the author's varied interests. The book discusses the many interpretations of the Bible made by Western European and North American women from the tenth century to the twenty-first. Demers divides the book into five chapters that explore the various intellectual schools of thought used to approach the Bible. The discussions of "renaissance exegetes" and "governesses and matriarchs" are, according to Theological Studies contributor Patricia M. McDonald, "the most interesting chapters" because they lie at the heart of the author's scholarly expertise. Avril M. Makhlouf, writing in Interpretation, explained that "Demers has covered an enormous amount of material in a succinct manner," and went on to comment that "one has confidence in her scholarship and admires the honesty that leads her to admit her preference for the transcendent, rather than the immanent, God." Because of the scope of the book, McDonald concluded that Demers, "by demonstrating (and documenting) well the variety of ways in which women have used the Bible … has opened a potentially rich vein that could be mined" by scholars in several disciplines.
The World of Hannah More is a biography and literary critique that "sets out to rescue Hannah More from the hostility of her recent feminist critics," observed Robert Markley in Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900. Hannah More was a nineteenth-century Evangelical writer of tracts, plays, essays, and novels who believed in social hierarchy (i.e., that the poor should be poor and the rich should be rich). More's writings and her many charitable works were influenced, if not motivated by, this belief and have thus been criticized on that account. Demers's biography attempts to "vindicate what now seems a paternalistic" worldview, Markley stated. Critics noted the volume's unorthodox format but ultimately concluded that The World of Hannah More is a worthwhile effort. ANQ reviewer Eleanor Ty observed that the book "contains a number of unexpected, unconventional moments—the free use of personal anecdotes, the interweaving of the past with the present, playful puns, and colloquial language." While Ty felt that this results in a "very full and thorough, though at times somewhat plodding, narrative," she also stated that the author's "excellent observations" are "a valuable contribution to Hannah More scholarship."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
ANQ, summer, 1999, Eleanor Ty, review of The World of Hannah More, p. 57.
Interpretation, July, 1993, Avril M. Makhlouf, review of Women As Interpreters of the Bible, p. 322.
Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, summer, 1997, Robert Markley, review of The World of Hannah More, p. 637.
Theological Studies, March, 1993, Patricia M. McDonald, review of Women As Interpreters of the Bible, p. 194.
University of Alberta ExpressNews, September 9, 2005, Bev Betkowski, "Demers Awarded University Cup."
University of Alberta Web site, http://www.humanities.ualberta.ca/ (March 17, 2006), author profile.