(September 20, 2001, Gazette)

Lords of the North
Introduction by Dr. Valerie Legge
Lords of the NorthDr. Valerie Legge of the department of English wants to expand our knowledge of Canada’s past through revealing the part of the rich legacy of the country’s female writers.

Dr. Legge has written the introduction for the reissue of A.C. Laut’s classic Lords of the North. “This is the first time it has been reissued since the early 1900s,” she said. The book is historical fiction set in Canada’s north.

“When I was a student and did my first Canadian literature course at the PhD level, I realized that there were very few women taught in the course, so I went looking for some,” Dr. Legge indicated as the origins of her interest in Laut’s work. After finding Laut’s writings, she asked “how come we had never heard of her? I was just fascinated by her: she was an ordinary young woman ... (from) working class people in a frontier kind of place and she decided to become a writer.”

In her time, the author was a well-known writer. “This was her first novel and it was published in 1900,” Dr. Legge said. “She went on to publish another four or five novels, half a dozen histories, hundreds of articles in American and Canadian magazines. She made a lot of money and was very well off. Three or four months of every year she was able to go out and hike in the wilderness and come back and write about where she had been and what she did.”

Dr. Jessie LeggeDr. Jessie Legge
Dr. Legge hopes that the publication of this book will draw attention to the many Canadian women writers working at the beginning of the twentieth century. “It’s the fact that women were very active in the publishing industry — she was just one of many. She wasn’t an anomaly. There was a community of women doing similar things, which is important so that we don’t read that historical period from such a restricted point of view, so that we have other writers like her there that we can have a look at.”

Lords of the North is available at the University Bookstore.