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Essays on Arctic Narrative
A Play by Oscar Ryan et al.
This volume comprises a reprinting and gloss of the original text of the 1933 Communist play Eight Men Speak. The play was banned by the Toronto police after its first performance, banned by the Winnipeg police shortly thereafter and subsequently banned by the Canadian Post Office. The play can be considered as one stage – the published text – of a meta-text that culminated in 1934 at Maple Leaf Gardens when the (then illegal) Communist Party of Canada celebrated the release of its leader, Tim Buck, from prison. Eight Men Speak had been written and staged on behalf of the campaign to free Buck by the Canadian Labour Defence League, the public advocacy group of the CPC. In its theatrical techniques, incorporating avant-garde expressionist staging, mass chant, agitprop and modernist dramaturgy, Eight Men Speak exemplified the vanguardist aesthetics of the Communist left in the years before the Popular Front. It is the first instance of the collective theatrical techniques that would become widespread in subsequent decades and formative in the development of modern Canadian drama. These include a decentred narrative, collaborative authorship and a refusal of dramaturgical linearity in favour of theatricalist demonstration. As such it is one of the most significant Canadian plays of the first half of the century, and, on the evidence of the surviving photograph of the mise-en-scene, one of the earliest examples of modernist staging in Canada.
The Promise, the Glory, and the Despair of Louisbourg's Last Decade
The Works of Margaret Atwood
Winner of the 2010 Margaret Atwood Society Best Book Prize. In Engendering Genre, renowned Margaret Atwood scholar Reingard M. Nischik analyzes the relationship between gender and genre in Atwood’s works. She approaches Atwood’s oeuvre by genre – poetry, short fiction, novels, criticism, comics, and film – and examines them individually. She explores how Atwood has developed her genres to be gender-sensitive in both content and form and argues that gender and genre are inherently complicit in Atwood’s work: they converge to critique the gender-biased designs of traditional genres. This combination of gender and genre results in the recognizable Atwoodian style that shakes and extends the boundaries of conventional genres and explores them in new ways. The book includes the first in-depth treatment of Atwood’s cartoon art as well as the first survey of her involvement with film, and concludes with an interview with Margaret Atwood on her career “From Survivalwoman to Literary Icon.”
L'inscription de la francophonie canadienne dans la durée
Rediscovery and Reassessment
Margaret Atwood called Ernest Buckler “one of the pathbreakers for the modern Canadian novel,” yet he has slipped into relative obscurity. This new book by Marta Dvořák, Ernest Buckler: Rediscovery and Reassessment breaks new ground in Canadian literary studies by analyzing some of Buckler’s works that have remained unknown or unexplored by critics, and by addressing the formalistic innovations of these texts. It allows a general readership to discover — and an international specialized readership to reassess — the wide, even eclectic scope of an author best known for his first novel, The Mountain and the Valley.
Marta Dvořák situates Buckler firmly within his cultural and intellectual environment. She argues the importance of his connections with Emerson and the American transcendental milieu, and demonstrates his links with Romantics such as Schopenhauer and Shelley and modernists like Joyce, Faulkner, and Mansfield, as well as intellectuals from Aristotle to Aquinas. She explores his philosophical vision and his complex, adventurous relationship with language. Extracts from Buckler’s published and unpublished material juxtaposed with those from a wide range of writers (from Henry James to Foucault) offer new illuminating perspectives.
The progressive structure of the book will draw readers in to discussions on shared concerns: the nostalgia for a vanished past, the relationship between family and community, the rural and the urban, or the questioning of, and coming to terms with, ethics and the social fabric of today’s rapidly changing technological horizon in which traditional values are eroding.
A Theological Critique of the Narrative Strategies of Hugh MacLennan and Morley Callaghan
Is it possible to write an artistically respectable and theoretically convincing religious novel in a non-religious age?
Up to now, there has been no substantial application of theological criticism to the works of Hugh MacLennan and Morley Callaghan, the two most important Canadian novelists before 1960. Yet both were religious writers during the period when Canada entered the modern, non-religious era, and both greatly influenced the development of our literature. MacLennan’s journey from Calvinism to Christian existentialism is documented in his essays and seven novels, most fully in The Watch that Ends the Night.
Callaghan’s fourteen novels are marked by tensions in his theology of Catholic humanism, with his later novels defining his theological themes in increasingly secular terms. This tension between narrative and metanarrative has produced both the artistic strengths and the moral ambiguities that characterize his work.
Faith and Fiction: A Theological Critique of the Narrative Strategies of Hugh MacLennan and Morley Callaghan is a significant contribution to the relatively new field studying the relation between religion and literature in Canada.
The Poetry of Dionne Brand
The selections in Fierce Departures, drawn from Dionne Brand’s work since 1997, delineate with searing eloquence how history marks and dislocates peoples of the African diaspora, how nations, concretely and conceptually, fail to create safe haven, and how human desire persists nevertheless. Through a widening canvas, Brand unfolds the (im)possibilities of belonging for those whom history has dispossessed. Yet she also shows how Canada, and in particular Toronto, remade by those who alight on it, is a place of contingency. Known for her linguistic intensity and lyric brilliance, Brand consoles through the beauty of her work and disturbs with its uncompromising demand for ethical witness.
In her introduction, editor Leslie C. Sanders traces the evolution of Brand’s poetic concerns and changing vision. In particular, she observes Brand’s complex use of landscape and language to delineate the ethical and emotional issues around the desire for place. She argues that Brand reformulates Northrop Frye’s question “Where is here?,” disturbing and expanding the national imaginary.
As afterword, Brand has selected passages from her evocative collection of essays A Map to the Door of No Return. Read as an ars poetica, the passages summon the presences of those whose lives are circumscribed by the histories the poet narrates as her own.
A Journey into Mi'kmaw Myth
The Mi’kmaq of eastern Canada were among the first indigenous North Americans to encounter colonial Europeans. As early as the mid-sixteenth century, they were trading with French fishers, and by the mid-seventeenth century, large numbers of Mi’kmaq had converted to Catholicism. Mi’kmaw Catholicism is perhaps best exemplified by the community’s regard for the figure of Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. Every year for a week, coinciding with the saint’s feast day of July 26, Mi’kmaw peoples from communities throughout Quebec and eastern Canada gather on the small island, Potlotek, off the coast of Nova Scotia. It is, however, far from a conventional Catholic celebration. In fact, it expresses a complex relationship between the Mi’kmaq, a cultural hero named Kluskap, a series of eighteenth-century treaties, and Saint Anne. Finding Kluskap brings together years of historical research and learning among Mi’kmaw peoples on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The author’s long-term relationship with Mi’kmaw friends and colleagues provides a unique vantage point for scholarship, one shaped by not only personal relationships, but by the cultural, intellectual, and historical situations that inform postcolonial peoples. The picture that emerges when Kluskap, Saint Anne, and the mission are considered in concert with one another is one of the sacred life as a site of adjudication for both the meaning and efficacy of religion, and the impact of modern history on contemporary indigenous religion.
The Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia