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Area and Ethnic Studies > Canadian Studies

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Dominant Impressions Cover

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Dominant Impressions

Essays on the Canadian Short Story

Edited by Gerald Lynch and Angela Arnold Robbeson

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.

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The Dominion of Youth

Adolescence and the Making of Modern Canada, 1920 to 1950

Adolescence, like childhood, is more than a biologically defined life stage: it is also a sociohistorical construction. The meaning and experience of adolescence are reformulated according to societal needs, evolving scientific precepts, and national aspirations relative to historic conditions. Although adolescence was by no means a “discovery” of the early twentieth century, it did assume an identifiably modern form during the years between the Great War and 1950.

The Dominion of Youth: Adolescence and the Making of Modern Canada, 1920 to 1950 captures what it meant for young Canadians to inhabit this liminal stage of life within the context of a young nation caught up in the self-formation and historic transformation that would make modern Canada. Because the young at this time were seen paradoxically as both the hope of the nation and the source of its possible degeneration, new policies and institutions were developed to deal with the “problem of youth.” This history considers how young Canadians made the transition to adulthood during a period that was “developmental”—both for youth and for a nation also working toward individuation. During the years considered here, those who occupied this “dominion” of youth would see their experiences more clearly demarcated by generation and culture than ever before. With this book, Cynthia Comacchio offers the first detailed study of adolescence in early-twentieth-century Canada and demonstrates how young Canadians of the period became the nation’s first modern teenagers.

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Doris Lessing

Interrogating the Times

Edited by Debrah Raschke, Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis, and Sandra Singer

Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times wrestles with the ghosts that continue to haunt our most pressing twenty-first-century concerns: how to reconceive imprisoning conceptions of sexuality and gender, how to define terrorism, how to locate the personal, and how to write on race and colonialism in an ever-slippery postmodern world. This collection of essays clearly establishes Lessing’s importance as a unique and necessary voice in contemporary literature and life. In tracing the evolution in Lessing’s representations of controversial subjects, this volume shows how new cultural and political contexts demand new solutions. Focusing on Lessing’s experiments with genre and on the ramifications of narrative itself, the collection asks readers to reformulate some of their most taken-for-granted assumptions about the contemporary world and their relation to it. Contributors to Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times assess Lessing’s vision of the past and its relevance for the future by revisiting texts from the beginning of her career onward while at the same time probing previous interpretations of these works. These reassessments reveal Lessing’s continued role as a gadfly who, in disrupting rigid constructions of right and wrong and of good and evil, forces her readers to move beyond “you are damned, we are saved” narratives. As rationales such as these continue to permeate global venues, Lessing’s oeuvre becomes increasingly relevant.

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Double-Takes

Intersections between Canadian Literature and Film

David R. Jarraway

Over the past forty years, Canadian literature has found its way to the silver screen with increasing regularity. Beginning with the adaptation of Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God to the Hollywood film Rachel, Rachel in 1966, Canadian writing would appear to have found a doubly successful life for itself at the movies: from the critically acclaimed Kamouraska and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz in the 1970s through to the award-winning Love and Human Remains and The English Patient in the 1990s. With the more recent notoriety surrounding the Oscar-nominated Away from Her, and the screen appearances of The Stone Angel and Fugitive Pieces, this seems like an appropriate time for a collection of essays to reflect on the intersection between literary publication in Canada, and its various screen transformations. This volume discusses and debates several double-edged issues: the extent to which the literary artefact extends its artfulness to the film artefact, the degree to which literary communities stand to gain (or lose) in contact with film communities, and perhaps most of all, the measure by which a viable relation between fiction and film can be said to exist in Canada, and where that double-life precisely manifests itself, if at all.

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Echoing Silence

Essays on Arctic Narrative

Edited and with a Preface by John Moss

The North has always had, and still has, an irresistible attraction. This fascination is made up of a mixture of perspectives, among these, the various explorations of the Arctic itself and the Inuk cultural heritage found in the elders' and contemporary stories. This book discusses the different generations of explorers and writers and illustrates how the sounds of a landscape are inseparable from the stories of its inhabitants.

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Eight Men Speak

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.

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Endgame 1758

The Promise, the Glory, and the Despair of Louisbourg's Last Decade

A. J. B. Johnston

The story of what happened at the colonial fortified town of Louisbourg between 1749 and 1758 is one of the great dramas of the history of Canada, indeed North America. The French stronghold on Cape Breton Island, strategically situated near the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, was from soon after its founding  a major possession in the quest for empire. The dramatic military and social history of this short-lived and significant fortress, seaport, and community, and the citizens who  made it their home, are woven together in A. J. B. Johnston’s gripping biography of the colony’s final decade, presented from both French and British perspectives.
 
Endgame 1758 is a tale of two empires in collision on the shores of mid-eighteenth-century Atlantic Canada, where rival European visions of predominance clashed headlong with each other and with the region’s Aboriginal peoples. The magnitude of the struggle and of its uncertain outcome colored the lives of Louisbourg’s inhabitants and the nearly thirty thousand combatants arrayed against it. The entire history comes to life in a tale of what turned out to be  the first major British victory in the Seven Years’ War. How and why the French colony ended the way it did, not just in June and July 1758, but over the decade that preceded the siege, is a little-known and compelling story.

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Engendering Genre

The Works of Margaret Atwood

Reingard M. Nischik

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.”

Entre lieux et mémoire Cover

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Entre lieux et mémoire

L'inscription de la francophonie canadienne dans la durée

Sous la direction de Anne Gilbert, Michel Bock et Joseph Yvon Thériault

Dans Les lieux de mémoire, Pierre Nora affirme que « la mémoire s'enracine dans le concret, l'espace, le geste, l'image et l'objet » (1984, xix). Entre lieux et mémoire adopte une perspective semblable et jette un regard sur les expériences concrètes, géographiquement situées, par lesquelles les francophones du Canada construisent leur identité à partir des réminiscences de leur passé. Ce questionnement est essentiel, car la géographie de la francophonie canadienne évolue rapidement, consolidée au Québec au cours notamment des dernières cinquante années, mais fragilisée dans les milieux les plus dynamiques de la francophonie hors Québec, là où les francophones se confrontent quotidiennement à l'Autre : anglophone, immigrant et allophone. Dans ces lieux consolidés et fluides se tissent les appartenances et les identités de ceux qui les occupent. Les auteurs abordent les lieux de mémoire du Canada français selon trois approches : l'histoire, la géographie et les arts. Tous mettent en évidence que la fondation d'un lieu de mémoire est un acte politique. Enfin, ils montrent qu'une étude des lieux de mémoire, par l'entremise des individus et des groupes qui les instituent, constitue un préalable à la compréhension de l'identité francophone canadienne, dans son unité comme dans sa diversité.

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