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The Porcupine's Quill, 1976 - Drama - 119 pages
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`Readers will recognize this as a typical Reaney play. In the 1830s at Baldoon settlement near Wallaceburg, Ontario, a house was haunted by various phenomena: the sound of marching, bullets and stones which passed through walls without leaving holes, pots and pans that flew about the kitchen. This bit of history is the basis for Reaney's tale of John McTavish who forsook his love, Jane Pharlan, for a rich widow. But old Mrs Pharlan prostituted Jance to him, resulting in a baby girl. Jane died; the child was taken from Mrs Pharlan who was excommunicated as a witch; and unknown to anyone but McTavish, the child has grown up in his home as an adopted orphan. When his house becomes haunted and the local religious authorities cannot help, McTavish, with the threat of excommunication now over his head, visits Dr Troyer -- a Dutch witchfinder. He forces McTavish to see that unless the truth is revealed, he and his family will have no peace. To complicate matters, the solution is tied up with a rivalry between two conflicting religious attitudes: dour repressive Presbyterians, of whom McTavish and Mrs Pharlan are part, and the joyous love of God characteristic of the Tunkards, whom Troyer represents. Finally Troyer wins out; Mrs Pharlan is exposed as a witch; McTavish confesses his past.'


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About the author (1976)

James Reaney was born on a farm in South Easthope near Stratford, Ontario in 1926. He has won the Governor General's Award three times for his poetry, though he is perhaps better-known as a playwright, especially for his landmark Donnelly trilogy (1974-75). Reaney's theatrical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking-Glass returned to the stage at Stratford in the summer of 1996.His work includes: The Red Heart, poems, 1949; A suit of Nettles,

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