Waterston, Elizabeth 1922-

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Waterston, Elizabeth 1922-

PERSONAL: Born April 18, 1922, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Daniel (a railway construction engineer) and Bertha (a homemaker; maiden name, Smith) Hillman; married Douglas L. Waterston (an editor and university administrator), December 17, 1949; children: Daniel, Jane Waterston Bregha, Christina Waterston Beaver, Charlotte Waterston Turner, Rosemary Waterston King. Ethnicity: "Scottish-Canadian." Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1944, Ph.D., 1950; Bryn Mawr College, M.A., 1945. Politics: New Democrat. Religion: Anglican.

ADDRESSES: Home—535 Colborne St., London, Ontario N6B 2T7, Canada; (winter) 9436 Trinity Cir., Bradenton, FL 34210. Agent—Jackie Kaiser, West-wood Creative Artists, 94 Harbord St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 1G6, Canada. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Sir George Williams College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, began as lecturer, became assistant professor of English, 1945–57; University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of English, 1958–66; University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, began as associate professor, became professor of English, 1966–87, professor emeritus, 1988–, department chair, 1972–77. Speaker at national and international conferences in Canada and abroad.

MEMBER: Humanities Association of Canada (national president, 1972–74), Association of Chairmen of English in Canada (national president, 1972–76).


Pioneers in Agriculture, Clark, Irwin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1956.

Composition for Canadian Universities, Macmillan (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1964.

Survey: A Short History of Canadian Literature, Methuen (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1973.

Brush Up Your Basics, Kendall-Hunt (Dubuque, IA), 1981.

Gilbert Parker and His Works, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

The Travellers: Canada to 1900 (bibliography), University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

Children's Literature in Canada, Twayne Publishers (New York, NY), 1992.

Kindling Spirit: L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables," ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

(With Lorraine McMullen and Carrie MacMillan) Silenced Sextet: Six Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Novelists, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1993.

(With Mary Rubio) Writing a Life: L.M. Montgomery, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Plaid around the Mountain (historical fiction), Borealis Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Rapt in Plaid: Canadian Literature and Scottish Tradition, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Passion Spent (novel), lulu.com (Raleigh, NC), 2003.

Contributor of chapters to more than twenty books, including The Scottish Tradition in Canada, edited by Stanford Reid, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1976; Family Fictions in Canadian Literature, edited by Peter Hinchcliffe, University of Waterloo Press (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), 1987; A History of Scottish Women's Writing, edited by Douglas Gifford and Dorothy Macmillan, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1997; L.M. Montgomery and Canadian Culture, edited by Irene Gammel and Elizabeth Epperly, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999; and Windows and Words, edited by Aida Hudson and Susan-Ann Cooper, University of Ottawa Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2002. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Canadian Literature, New English Quarterly, Canadian Poetry, Books in Scotland, Journal of Canadian Studies, Urban History Review, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, Scottish Literary Journal, and Scotlands.


On Middle Ground: Landscape and Life in Wellington County, University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario, Canada), 1974.

(With J.A. McIntyre) Some Scots: Shaping Canada, Scottish Tradition (Guelph, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

John Galt: Reappraisals, University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario, Canada), 1985.

(With Mary Rubio) The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Volume 1, 1985, Volume 2, 1987, Volume 3, 1992, Volume 4, 1998.

Also coeditor and author of critical introduction and afterword for books by other authors, including several novels by L.M. Montgomery for the series "Signet Classic Editions," Signet (New York, NY). Editor of "Scottish Tradition," in Victorian Studies, 1984–86. Cofounder and editor, Canadian Children's Literature, 1975–92.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Two novels, Torches and Trumpets, about college life during World War II, and At the Corner of Hope, set in London, Ontario, Canada; editing Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume 5, for Oxford University Press (New York, NY); Anne of Green Gables, a critical edition, for W.W. Norton (New York, NY), completion expected in 2006; As Others See Us, a study of travel books on Canada; Reluctant Pilgrims, a study of nineteenth-century American travelers in England.

SIDELIGHTS: Elizabeth Waterston told CA: "During forty-three years of university teaching, I published many academic works: books, articles, chapters, scholarly editions, and reviews. The latest of these, Rapt in Plaid: Canadian Literature and Scottish Tradition, is a combination of a memoir of my teaching years and a commentary on the peculiarly pervasive and persistent influence of Scottish values and genres on North American life and literature. My most widely acclaimed work, however, is the multivolume edition (with Mary Rubio) of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery. The first volume surprised us by emerging as a national best-seller, and we continue to be amazed by the worldwide reach of these volumes. We found a wide audience also with our editions of seven of Montgomery's novels. My earlier textbooks were used across Canada, but there was more pleasure in writing the books and articles of literary criticism.

"Fitting this writing and editing work in with a full-time teaching job and the raising of five children was not always a breeze. But writing seems to be a compulsion with me. I retired and turned at last, joyfully, to fiction. Two novels published, two more with my agent, and another simmering—it gave me a new lease on the writing life! I like the process of shaping, following a vision through revisions, working through the editorial and publishing process. I enjoy waking up in the morning with a plot problem solved and going to sleep with new dialogue forming in my dreams.

"Recently I experimented with putting my novel Passion Spent through a 'print-on-demand' publisher. I'll see what kind of audience I reach under this new system. Passion Spent is set in a Florida retirement community. Nature produces a hurricane, and human nature creates family storms when seniors fall in love and the adult children up north react.

"As for reading, I relish British novelists such as A.S. Byatt, Penelope Fitzgerald, and Hilary Mantel; Americans like Annie Proulx and Barbara Kingsolver; and of course Canadians Alice Munro, Margaret Lawrence, and Margaret Atwood (not intentionally an all-female list, but they do all strike familiar chords for me).

"I hope my writing will go on being refreshing and engaging for a few more years. I am starting a book on travel writing, British, Canadian, and American."



Waterston, Elizabeth, Rapt in Plaid: Canadian Literature and Scottish Tradition, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.