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Books at ­Memorial

Grenfell of Labrador: A Biography

By Ronald Rompkey­

When British doctor Wilfred Grenfell arrived in Newfoundland in 1892 to provide medical service to migrant fishermen, he had no clear sense of who his patients were or how they lived. A few weeks on the Labrador coast changed that. Struck by both the rugged beauty of the place and the difficulties faced by those who lived there, Grenfell devoted the rest of his life to improving theirs.

At first an evangelical mis­sion­ary of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisherman, Grenfell became part of philanthropic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Raising funds in Canada and the United States, he founded a network of hospitals, nursing stations, schools, and home industries that exists in a modified form to this day. In 1908, the story of his survival after a night marooned on a drifting patch of ice transformed him into a popular hero. He eventually became one of the most successful lecturers of his time.

Dr. Ronald Rompkey, University Research Professor, Department of English tells the story of Grenfell’s education, his Anglo-Saxonism, and his devotion to broader issues of hygiene and public health. Above all, he shows that Grenfell went beyond being a doctor or a missionary to become a cultural politician who intervened in a colonial culture. Grenfell of Labrador provides a vivid picture of the man himself and the social movements through which he worked.

A review in the Globe and Mail praised this book with the following words, “There is an abundance of social history here and all of it is worth kn­­­owing.”
Dr. Rompkey is the author or editor of 11 books, including three others on Labrador. Grenfell of Labrador is published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.




Dard Kay Mausam (Weather of Pain)

By Dr. Amin A. Muhammad

Dard Kay Mausam (Weather of Pain) is a compilation of short stories about people who have undergone social adversities and suffered from mental illness. In the background of widespread terrorism, political upheaval, corruption and social injustice in Pakistan, a number of people are reporting the symptoms of mental illness. These people do approach a family practitioner, but would refrain from contacting a psychiatrist in the majority of instances because of the prevalent stigma.

Dr. Amin Muhammad, a profes­sor of psychiatry at Memorial, said that the problem with the stigma related to mental illness is a major stumbling block almost all over the globe. “It has been noted that those who suffer from mental illnesses are more prone to abuse of all kinds and their rights are easily violated. With the stigma attached, low recognition, low awareness and not being on priority, mental illness is likely to be ignored when it comes to care and attention.”

This book tells horrendous stories about the way mentally ill people are treated in the community and various psychiatric set ups. Ill treatment to these people is more or less a global phenomenon. First of all, the denial for treatment that has been observed is a significant human right violation. Studies con­ducted internationally have found lack of mental health treatment was most severe in less-developed countries, whereas, in developed nations, roughly half of those with severe dis­orders got no care at all. “Looking at our local scenario in Pakistan, we come across harrowing tales about the fate of mentally ill people by societal atrocities,” said Dr. Muham­mad.

The stories in Dard Kay Mausam (Weather of Pain) are glazed with fiction and describe the predicament of people who are in need for attention to their social and emotional issues. Written in Urdu, this book was published in 2008 by Bazyaft Academy, Karachi-Pakistan.


Homage to Czerny

by Gert Jonke

Kahn & Engelmann

by Hans Eichner

Translated by Dr. Jean Snook

Dr. Jean Snook of the Department of German and Russian has translated two works to critical acclaim.

In Homage to Czerny, author Gert Jonke addresses a host of existential questions through a cast of vaudevillian compatriots in this slim, beautifully written volume. The book has been described as “intricately structured as a musical composition, with recurring conversational motifs, the narrative – powered by Snook's magnificent translation – moves smoothly and evocatively through fraught emotional terrain.”

A critical and commercial success in German, Kahn & Engelmann by Hans Eichner tells the story of a Jewish family from rural Hungary, their immigration to Vienna in the great days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, their loves, business ventures and failings, and their eventual tragic destruction.

Kahn & Engelmann was recently mentioned by Paul Wells in Maclean’s magazine (May 11, 2009) in which he refers to the “luminous new translation by Jean M. Snook.”

Kahn & Engelmann is published by Biblioasis. Homage to Czerny is published by Dalkey Archive Press.


Chemistry was Their Life

By Marelene Rayner-Canham and Dr. Geoff Rayner-Canham

It is rare that a publication completely changes the way we look at aspects of the past, but the new book by Marelene Rayner-Canham and Geoff Rayner-Canham, Chemistry was Their Life, does just that. It is the overlooked and forgotten story of the British women chemists who made contributions to the chemical sciences between 1880 and 1949. Geoff Rayner-Canham is a professor of Chemistry at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College; his co-researcher and spouse, Marelene, is a retired laboratory instructor in Physics.

Before the publication of this book, it was commonly believed that British chemistry had been a male preserve, with a few very exceptional women such as Rosalind Franklin of DNA fame. After 10 years of research, the Rayner-Canhams found that, contrary to popular belief, chemistry was the chosen field for many young educated women of the late 19th and early twentieth century. But this book is not just a dry collection of histories; the Rayner-Canhams use quotes – many from student magazines of the time – which provide the reader with an insight into the lives and thoughts of these pioneering women.

Before women could go to univer­sity, they had to be able to get a good high school education. This was at a time when most medical doctors believed that girls’ constitutions were too delicate and doctors claimed that several girls had died from “overlearning.” It was a small number of pioneering girls’ schools that encouraged students to go to University and provided the chemistry labs to give them the background to succeed.

As the early British universities barred women from attending, several women’s colleges were founded to enable them to obtain degrees. Brave young women entered these schools, particularly those obsessed with chemistry, a most unladylike interest. Over the following decades the co-educational universities, one-by-one, accepted women students. Cambridge was the last to formally award undergraduate degrees to women in 1948.

Though some male chemists were supportive of women’s rights (particularly if they had a chemist wife), the atmosphere for women could be unwelcoming. For example, at several universities, female chemistry students were barred from membership in the student chemical societies.

In addition, there was another battle to be won: that of admission to the professional societies. It took 40 years, from 1880 to 1920, before a band of determined women chemists broke down the bar on admission of women to the Chemical Society. The Pharmaceutical Society put up a similar fierce rearguard action to remain a male preserve.

The book weaves brief accounts of the life and work of 110 of the women chemists into context. Each of these women had an almost fanatical zeal for chemistry, and chemistry truly was their life. As they were able to attain only the most junior posts, their major contributions to chemistry were often attributed to their supervisors. Until the research of the Rayner-Canhams, these women pioneers had been totally forgotten. These women and their stories have finally regained their place in the chemistry laboratory, reminding us that chemistry has not only a his-story but also a her-story.


Companion to Clinical Neurology

By Dr. William Pryse-Phillips

With more than 7,000 references and at a whopping 1,214 pages, the Third Edition of the Companion to Clinical Neurology is the culmination of 18 months of intense work.

In 1988, Dr. William Pryse-Phillips began to compile a comprehensive inventory of words, terms and diagnostic criteria in the field of neurology. Originally conceived as a booklet of 75,000 words, the Companion to Clinical Neurology grew to a first edition of 850,000 words. The second edition was updated to include over 15,000 alphabetical entries, 5,000 references, 77 photographs of prominent figures in neurology and the addresses of about 200 relevant websites. The third edition is now further expanded, reflecting the explosive growth of knowledge in neurology and defining the vocabulary of today in this field.

“In choosing entries, I had to be selective,” said Dr. Pryse-Phillips. “This book contains what I think that I should know – and certainly want to know – or at least be able to access quickly.”

Dr. Pryse-Phillips said the transformation of the second to the third edition has required not only his own full-time effort, aided by the Internet, but also the assistance of scholarly peers. “In light of the tremendous advances in basic and clinical knowledge in neurology over the last five years, the third edition has been expanded by a thousand entries and new references, while a third of the previous entries have been updated or re-written.”

Some of the new information in the third edition includes advances in the definition of many neurological conditions and a fine tuning of the definitions and diagnostic criteria of many others; the author has scanned 1,300 additional articles since the second edition in order to update many of the entries. As such, the book contains the most up-to-date definitions of diseases, symptoms and diagnostic tests, as well as pearls of wisdom.

Now retired, Dr. Pryse-Phillips was professor of medicine (neurology) at Memorial for 30 years and is now emeritus. He is the author of three books and over 100 journal publications in the areas of migraines, multiple sclerosis, genetic conditions and medical ethics.




Migration and Education in a Multicultural World: Culture, Loss and Identity

By Dr. Ursula A. Kelly

­­­­­In her third sole-authored book, a collection of essays titled Migration and Education in a Multicultural World: Culture, Loss, and Education, Ursula A. Kelly, a member of the Faculty of Education, focuses on the personal, social and psychic dimensions of cultural change as they relate to Newfoundland and Labrador.

The essays address issues of culture, loss, and identity, in particular, the themes of melancholy and reparation, as these relate to what Kelly calls an educational discourse of loss and place. The essays address the structures of feeling, which constitute loss by asking: What does it mean to speak of cultural loss and mourning? What might be gained through an investigation of cultural loss as a political and psychic process? How might such issues be engaged, educationally? They are framed within cultural theory, psychoanalysis, and critical educational theory, and are contextualized using various cultural texts, including autobiography, memoir, and historical fiction.

Migration and Education in a Multicultural World: Culture, Loss, and Education is published by Macmillan.



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