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276 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 identity.= This makes perfect sense, of course, but was it any different in Toronto or Montreal? Further on we read that >Italians found work on the CPR, in city maintenance, and in a couple of local businesses. While it was not the centre, the Church played an important role in gathering the community .= Students of immigration history won=t be surprised to learn that Italians in Lethbridge had a mutual benefit society, or that Italians in Calgary joined the Giovanni Caboto Lodge, named after the Italian >discoverer = of Canada=s east coast. Nor will students of immigration history be surprised to learn that there were Fascist clubs, the so-called fascio throughout Italian communities of the West in the 1920s and 1930s. All of these features of Italian life in western Canada were mirrored in Ontario and Quebec. Granted, there were differences of degree and kind, but one struggles to see a uniquely western-Italian-Canadian perspective in all this. Only near the end of the book does the reader get a glimpse of how a distinct sense of place influences the way Italians in western Canada see themselves in relation to others B be they Italians or Canadians. In her many interviews with Italians in the West, Wood noted that their conversations are >littered with modifying phrases such as Aout here in the West,@ or Aspeaking from a West Coast perspective.@= Here, we are also introduced to real Italian immigrants who speak to us directly of their first impressions of western Canada upon arrival from Italy. One woman who arrived in Vancouver in 1952 remembered a place >Abathed in those azure waters that I had already crossed from another part of the globe, with its mountains ... its green meadows, its multicoloured gardens.@= The beauty of the new landscape left this newcomer with >Aa feeling of sweetness ... I no longer felt so far from my homeland and my loved ones.@= Now we=re getting somewhere. Here, after all, is a comment that speaks to how an individual=s sense of identity in a new land was conditioned by the physical landscape. Insights such as these should have been at the heart of Nationalism from the Margins. Indeed, such insights are central to understanding how Italians in Canada negotiated the tricky process of being Italian while becoming Canadian. Patricia Wood=s Nationalism from the Margins deserves credit for showing us the possibility of this avenue of research. Yes, the book raises more questions than it answers. Perhaps that is not such a bad thing. (ROBERT VENTRESCA) James Doyle. Progressive Heritage: The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada Wilfrid Laurier University Press. viii, 322. $39.95 In studying a radical, mostly Communist, literary tradition in Canada, James Doyle knows that he is swimming upstream. He has undertaken a tremendous amount of work in researching archives, scouring back issues humanities 277 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 of little magazines, and reading forgotten reviews of neglected novels B some unjustly neglected, some not. His purpose is to prove that there is a strong tradition of political dissent in Canada extending from nineteenthcentury radicals to the New Left, that many of its authors were perceptive social critics, and some were accomplished writers overlooked by the bourgeois public and ignored by the academy. In both respects he is successful , although his successes are hard won. To prove his case he surveys masses of writing, much of it notable for its earnestness rather than its skill. The book=s heroes, such as Margaret Fairley, Stanley Ryerson, and Joe Wallace, are praised for their dedication as much as for their literary craft. Doyle=s task is all the harder because almost any work expressing social concern falls under his gaze B Leacock and Callaghan as well as agitprop and socialist realism B and the result is an avalanche of material, which he withstands by focusing on >Canadian literary Communism,= and by advancing from decade to decade, briefly establishing the social setting, identifying authors, and assessing their achievements. Inevitably there is some clutter. Since...


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