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Dominant Impressions

Essays on the Canadian Short Story

Edited by Gerald Lynch and Angela Arnold Robbeson

Publication Year: 1999

Canadian critics and scholars, along with a growing number from around the world, have long recognized the achievements of Canadian short story writers. However, these critics have tended to view the Canadian short story as a historically recent phenomenon. This reappraisal corrects this mistaken view by exploring the literary and cultural antecedents of the Canadian short story.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers

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pp. 1-8

CANADIAN CRITICS AND SCHOLARS, along with a growing number from around the world, have long recognized the high achievements of Canadian short story writers in this at-once oldest and newest of the genres. However, these critics have tended to view the Canadian short story as a recent phenomenon, as...

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It Almost Always Starts This Way

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pp. 9-15

I GUESS I BELIEVE THAT the only thing the writing of a short story really requires is an altered state of mind. Achieving an altered state of mind has never been much of a problem for me; there are those with my best interests at heart who would argue that it has occasionally been far too easy. I cannot remember a time when this was not true, although I do remember...

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Of Kings and Cabbages: Short Stories by Early Canadian Women

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pp. 17-26

IN DREAMS OF SPEECH AND VIOLENCE, W. H. New argues that "the short story is one of the most central of [Canada's] cultural adaptations of literary form" (24) and it is a form in which women writers have always been active. However, Janice Kulyk Keefer warns against an "essentialist explanation" (170) for what has been...

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"The Thing Is Found to Be Symbolic": Symboliste Elements in the Early Short Stories of Gilbert Parker, Charles G. D. Roberts and Duncan Campbell Scott

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pp. 27-51

THE ESSAY ENTITLED "Modern Symbolism and Maurice Maeterlinck" that serves as the introduction to the first series of his translations of Maeterlinck's Plays (1894), Richard Hovey makes the bold but not untenable assertion that in their symbolic practices Bliss Carman, Gilbert Parker, and Charles G. D. Roberts are akin...

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Present but Unaccounted For: The Canadian Young Adult Short Story of the Nineteenth Century Comes of Age

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pp. 53-63

THOSE OF US GIVEN to celebrating age milestones in adolescent literature will want to take special note of the following announcement: "The Canadian Young Adult Short Story Turns 123 Years Old in 1999." Some would have adolescent literature be a postmodernist occurrence dating from The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (1967) or, more expansively, a half-century-old endeavour beginning with Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (1942), but this would be to...

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"Just Above the Breadline": Social (ist) Realism in Canadian Short Stories of the 1930s

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pp. 65-73

DOROTHY LlVESAY'S 1936 SHORT STORY "Case Supervisor" opens with a senior social worker trying to escape the real world of the Depression by going to the cinema. But there is no escape: the newsreels flash images of "war, breadlines, crisis, drought," and even the feature film begins by evoking what looks like the milieu that social workers deal with every day. A young woman on the screen...

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The Language of the Law: The Cases of Morley Callaghan

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pp. 75-86

THIS DISCUSSION HAS TWO DISCRETE, yet intersecting, points of departure. I want to consider, first, Morley Callaghan as an experimental short story writer—more specifically, a postcolonial writer intensely aware of his own resistant activity within a well-established colonialist genre. I want to consider, in other words, Callaghan's radical experimentations with both the language...

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Rediscovering the Popular Canadian Short Story

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pp. 87-97

HISTORIES OF THE CANADIAN SHORT STORY before 1970 generally focus on a limited and well-accepted group of writers, from Charles G. D. Roberts to Stephen Leacock to Morley Callaghan and on to the writers who emerged during the flowering of Canadian literature in the 1960s. The impression one gets is that during this period,...

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"Love and Death": Romance and Reality in Margaret Laurence's A Bird in the House

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pp. 99-114

A BIRD IN THE HOUSE, Margaret Laurence's 1970 collection of short stories set in Manawaka, is a female Canadian Bildungsroman chronicling the maturation of protagonist Vanessa MacLeod. A Bird in the House is also a metafictional Kunstlerroman like The Diviners, a fiction about fiction narrating the development of an artist, because Vanessa becomes a novelist, like Morag Gunn. Narrated...

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Oedipus and Anti-Oedipus, Myth and Counter-Myth: Sheila Watson's Short Fiction

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pp. 115-125

THE OPENING PANORAMIC SHOT of the National Film Board documentary on Sheila Watson would (if one existed) likely capture the institution surrounded by gardens where her father, Dr. Charles Edward Doherty, was superintendent of the Provincial Mental Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia (Bessai andjackel, "Sheila Watson" 3). On the cover of Watson's collection...

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Mapping Munro: Reading the "Clues"

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pp. 127-135

THIS QUOTATION IS FROM "The Albanian Virgin" (1994)—a story in which, perhaps, Alice Munro has strayed as far as she yet has (at least culturally if not geographically) from her "home place," Huron County, Ontario. In that straying, we seem both to have left Munro country and, at the same time, not: here is a...

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Hands and Mirrors: Gender Reflections in the Short Stories of Alistair MacLeod and Timothy Findley

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pp. 137-150

WHAT DO THE SHORT STORIES of Alistair MacLeod and Timothy Findley have in common, and how do they "reflect" and "reflect on" gender? Seemingly old-fashioned MacLeod, his roots in the oral tradition and Cape Breton's Celtic culture, described by Michael Ondaatje as "one of the best short story writers in Canada"1... and Findley, a publicly gay or homosexual writer,2 whose critically...

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"To make the necessary dream perpetual": Postrealist Heroes in Canadian Short Fiction

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pp. 151-159

TEN YEARS AGO at an international conference in Rome, Robert Kroetsch presented a paper entitled "Learning the Hero from Northrop Frye." Though liberally sprinkled with what Kroetsch himself calls "wilful misprisions" in the manner we have come to expect of him, his paper is nevertheless a delightfully wilful tribute to Frye. Kroetsch applauds Frye's dictum that, in the process of...

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The Canadian Short Story

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pp. 161-166

I WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN BY STATING that everything that is to follow is, in the words of Alice Munro, "an offering." In other words "you the listeners" may take from these remarks whatever might prove helpful. It is very difficult to be truly objective in dealing with literary matters and even the most "objective" of views may,...

E-ISBN-13: 9780776615806
E-ISBN-10: 0776615807
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776605050
Print-ISBN-10: 0776605054

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 1999

Volume Title: 22
Series Title: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers