Artistic Duplicity: The Fction and Poetry of Juliana Ewing challenges the traditional status of Ewing in literary history as an author solely of children's writings. This book presents Ewing as a sophisticated conscious artist whose work deserves to be considered seriously by adult readers who value skill and profundity. Although she writes in a style often accessible to children of somewhat advanced reading ability, she possessed the extraordinary gift of addressing at the same time a more mature audience, conveying thereby not a simple moral but complex and striking ideas.
Each chapter is divided into two sections, the first part a commentary on a particular work in the context of her life and writing career with special attention to her abilities that mark her as a sophisticated craftswoman of fiction and poetry and the second part the text of that work. The commentary for the final chapter covers five poems followed by the texts of those poems. The book is, then, is an unusual combination of a scholarly study of a literary figure and a collection of ten writings by that author. As a scholarly book, it is based on original research and makes a notable contribution to the study of Ewing not merely as an author of children's literature but as a writer of mature, complex, skillful, and often profound works.