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Mythic Discourse and the Postcolonial State
Reid examines Riel's religious background, the mythic significance that has consciously been ascribed to him, and how these elements combined to influence Canada's search for a national identity. Reid's study provides a framework for rethinking the geopolitical significance of the modern Canadian state, the historic role of Confederation in establishing the country's collective self-image, and the narrative space through which Riel's voice speaks to these issues.
L’Union Saint-Joseph d’Ottawa/du Canada 1863-1920
En 1863, un groupe de travailleurs originaires du Québec et domiciliés à Ottawa décident de fonder une association de prévoyance pour aider leurs prochains dans le besoin. En s’inspirant de leurs expériences respectives au sein d’associations de prévoyance québécoises, les fondateurs établissent une première société de secours mutuels canadienne-française à Ottawa : l’Union Saint-Joseph d’Ottawa. Malgré une naissance et des débuts modestes, cette association connaîtra une grande histoire. Elle deviendra l’une des plus grandes sociétés fraternelles nationales, avec des ramifications dans plus de 600 communautés canadiennes-françaises du Canada et des États-Unis. Cet ouvrage analyse la fondation de l’Union Saint-Joseph d’Ottawa et son évolution entre 1863 et 1920. Durant cette période, cette petite association locale, dont les activités visent essentiellement le secours de la classe populaire, évolue pour devenir une grande société fraternelle nationale vouée à la sauvegarde des intérêts des Canadiens français. L’essentiel de ces mutations survient à la fin du XIXe siècle, alors qu’une petite élite entreprend des réformes administratives qui changent la manière de gérer la mutualité. Cette élite en profite également pour reformuler le projet social de l’association et ses objectifs afin de transformer l’Union Saint-Joseph en un instrument de lutte pour la survivance canadienne-française.
Infants in Canadian Fiction
Although the infant has been a consistent figure in literature (and, for many people, a significant figure in personal life), there’s been little attention focused on infants, or on their place in Canadian fiction, until now.
In this book, Sandra Sabatini examines Canadian fiction to trace the ideological charge behind the represented infant. Examining writers from L.M. Montgomery and Frederick Philip Grove to Thomas King and Terry Griggs, Sabatini compares women’s writing about babies with the way infants appear in texts by men over the course of a century. She discovers a range of changing attitudes toward babies. After being seen as a source of financial burden, social shame, or sentimental fantasy, infants have increasingly become a source of value and meaning.
The book challenges the perception of babies as passive objects of care and argues for a reading of the infant as a subject in itself. It also reflects upon how the representations of infancy in Canadian literature offer an intriguing portrait of how we imagine ourselves.
“Ah, mon cahier, écoute...”
Marian Engel emerged as a writer during that period in Canada when nationalism increased and “new feminism” dawned. Although she is recognized as a distinguished woman of letters, she has not been widely studied; consequently we know relatively little about her and her craft. The material collected in Marian Engel’s Notebooks: “Ah, mon cahier, écoute...” is a major step in redressing that neglect.
Extracts carefully chosen by Christl Verduyn from Marian Engel’s forty-nine notebooks — notebooks Engel began in the late 1940s and which she maintained until her death in 1985 — track Engel’s creative development, illustrate her commitment to the craft of writing and document her growth as a major Canadian writer. The notebooks also portray Engel’s surprising leaps of logic, her fascination with the bizarre, the eclecticism of her reading and the depth and variety of her thinking. Finally, they present moving documentation of a woman facing cancer and early death.
Christl Verduyn’s illuminating introductory discussions to each of the notebooks unobtrusively guide us in the reading of these sometimes difficult writings. Marian Engel’s Notebooks: “Ah, mon cahier, écoute...” leaves readers with a vivid sense of Canadian culture during the 1960s and 1970s. It provides insight into the literary life of one of Canada’s significant woman writers, including her connections with other Canadian writers, and will be of special interest to scholars working in the field of literature.
Environmental Histories of Montreal
One of the oldest metropolitan areas in North America, Montreal has evolved from a remote fur-trading post in New France into an international center for services and technology. A city and an island located at the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers; it is uniquely situated to serve as an international port while also providing rail access to the Canadian interior. The historic capital of the Province of Canada, and once Canada’s foremost metropolis, Montreal has a multifaceted cultural heritage drawn from European and North American influences. Thanks to its rich past, the city offers an ideal setting for the study of an evolving urban environment. Metropolitan Natures presents original histories of the diverse environments that constitute Montreal and it region. It explores the agricultural and industrial transformation of the metropolitan area, the interaction of city and hinterland, and the interplay of humans and nature. The fourteen chapters cover a wide range of issues, from landscape representations during the colonial era to urban encroachments on the Kahnawake Mohawk reservation on the south shore of the island, from the 1918–1920 Spanish flu epidemic and its ensuing human environmental modifications to the urban sprawl characteristic of North America during the postwar period. Situations that politicize the environment are discussed as well, including the economic and class dynamics of flood relief, highways built to facilitate recreational access for the middle class, power-generating facilities that invade pristine rural areas, and the elitist environmental hegemony of fox hunting. Additional chapters examine human attempts to control the urban environment through street planning, waterway construction, water supply, and sewerage.
British and Mi'kmaq in Acadia, 1700-1867
Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard
What does it mean to tell a story from a woman’s point of view? How have Canadian anglophone and francophone writers translated feminist literary theory into practice?
Avant-garde writers Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard answer these, and many more questions, in their two groundbreaking works, now made more accessible through the careful, narratological readings and theoretical background in Narrative in the Feminine.
Susan Knutson begins her study with an analysis of the contributions made by Marlatt and Brossard to international feminist theory. Part Two presents a narratological reading of How Hug a Stone, arguing that at the deepest level of narrative, Marlatt constructs a gender-inclusive human subject which defaults not to the generic masculine but to the feminine. Part Three proposes a parallel reading of Picture Theory, Brossard’s playful novel that draws us into (re-) readings of many other texts written by Brossard, Barnes, Wittig, Joyce, de Beauvoir, Homer...to name a few. Chapter 12 closes with a reflection on the expression <’e>criture au f<’e>minin — a Qu<’e>b<’e>cois contribution to an international theoretical debate.
Readers who care about feminist writing and language theory, and students and teachers of Canadian literature and critical and queer studies, will find this book invaluable for its careful readings, its scholarly overview, and its extension of the feminist concept of the generic. Not least, the study is a guide to two important works of the leading experimental writers of Canada and Quebec, Daphne Marlatt and Nicole Brossard.
Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada
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.