In this Book

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
summary

Fiction that reconsiders, challenges, reshapes, and/or upholds national narratives of history has long been an integral aspect of Canadian literature. Works by writers of historical fiction (from early practitioners such as John Richardson to contemporary figures such as Alice Munro and George Elliott Clarke) propose new views and understandings of Canadian history and individual relationships to it. Critical evaluation of these works sheds light on the complexity of these depictions.

The contributors in National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada critically examine texts with subject matter ranging from George Vancouver’s west coast explorations to the eradication of the Beothuk in Newfoundland. Reflecting diverse methodologies and theoretical approaches, the essays seek to explicate depictions of “the historical” in individual texts and to explore larger questions relating to historical fiction as a genre with complex and divergent political motivations and goals. Although the topics of the essays vary widely, as a whole the collection raises (and answers) questions about the significance of the roles historical fiction has played within Canadian culture for nearly two centuries.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada
  2. pp. vii-xxiv
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  1. PART ONE: A USABLE PAST? NEW QUESTIONS, NEW DIRECTIONS
  2. p. 1
  1. "A Trading Shop So Crooked a Man Could Jump through the Cracks": Counting the Cost of Fred Stenson's Trade in the Hudson's Bay Company Archive
  2. pp. 3-19
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  1. Past Lives: Aimée Laberge's Where the River Narrows and the Transgenerational Gene Pool
  2. pp. 21-37
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  1. The Orange Devil: Thomas Scott and the Canadian Historical Novel
  2. pp. 39-52
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  1. State of Shock: History and Crisis in Hugh MacLennan's Barometer Rising
  2. pp. 53-66
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  1. "And They May Get It Wrong, After All": Reading Alice Munro's "Meneseteung"
  2. pp. 67-79
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  1. PART TWO: UNCONVENTIONAL VOICES: FICTION VERSUS RECORDED HISTORY
  2. p. 81
  1. Windigo Killing: Joseph Boyden's Three Day Road
  2. pp. 83-97
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  1. Telling a Better Story: History, Fiction, and Rhetoric in George Copway's Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation
  2. pp. 99-112
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  1. The Racialization of Canadian History: African-Canadian Fiction, 1990–2005
  2. pp. 113-129
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  1. Turning the Tables
  2. pp. 131-147
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  1. PART THREE: LITERARY HISTORIES, REGIONAL CONTEXTS
  2. p. 149
  1. "To Free Itself, and Find Itself": Writing a History for the Prairie West
  2. pp. 151-166
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  1. "Old Lost Land": Loss in Newfoundland Historical Fiction
  2. pp. 167-181
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  1. Imagining Vancouvers: Burning Water, Ana Historic, and the Literary (Un)Settling of the Pacific Coast
  2. pp. 183-195
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  1. Too Little Geography; Too Much History: Writing the Balance in "Meneseteung"
  2. pp. 197-213
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  1. References
  2. pp. 215-236
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 237-240
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 241-252
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