Pause: A Sketchbook

Emily Carr


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Emily Carr combines words and drawings to present a poignant yet wry account of convalescence in the English countryside.

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May 2007, Paperback, 160 pages pages

ISBN 9781553652298

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Pause is the final volume in the completely redesigned set of seven books by the legendary Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr. She was renowned not only for her powerful paintings of West Coast forests and Native settlements but also for her extraordinarily vivid prose, which was enlivened by her wit and her sharp eye for the foibles of humanity. While studying at the Westminster School of Art in London, England, Carr so undermined her health by overwork that she was sent for complete rest to at Sunhill sanatorium in the country-for eighteen long months. She put down story of her convalescence as it was taking place in a sketch book that she kept during that time. Her active mind and restless nature rebelled at the hospital restrictions enforcing rest and prohibiting excitement: “They gave us very little credit for having sense at Sunhill. We came here to pause our ordinary acitivities. Even thinking was prohibited.” Undaunted, however, she managed to make friends, raise birds and get into mischief. In Pause, Carr offers intimate and engaging and sometimes humorous sketches in words and pictures of her companions, both human and animal, and their trials and misadventures. The combination of words and drawings makes Pause a unique book in her published works. Pause was first published in 1953, eight years after the death of Emily Carr, and has remained in print ever since. Ian M. Thom, a noted authority on Carr’s work, provides an informative introduction that puts Pause into the context of her life, art and writing.