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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 Extracts from Buckler’s published and unpublished material juxtaposed with those from a wide range of writers (from Henry James to Foucault) offer new illuminating perspectives.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.
An Essay on Philosophy and Culture in English Canada1850-1950
The Faces of Reason traces the history of philosophy in English Canada from 1850 to 1950, examining the major English-Canadian philosophers in detail adn setting them in the context of the main currents of Canadian thought. The book concludes with a brief survey of the period after 1950.
What is distinctive in Canadian philosophy, say the authors, is the concept of reason and the uses to which it is put. Reason has interacted with experience in a new world and a cold climate to create a distinctive Canadian community. The diversity of political, geographic, social, and religious factors has fostered a particular kind of thinking, particular ways of reasoning and communicating. Rather than one grand, overarching Canadian way of thinking, there are “many faces of reason,” “a kind of philosophic federalism”.
The book has two dimensions: “it is a continuos story which makes a point about the development of philosophical reason in the Canadian context.... it is a reference work which may be consulted by readers interested in particular figures, ideas, movements, or periods.”
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 Early Years
This book is a comparison of the history and politics of two sister societies, comparing Canada with Australia, rather than, as is traditional, with the United Kingdom or the United States. It is representative of a particular interest in promoting more contact and exchange among Canadian and Australian scholars who were investigating various features of the two societies. Because some of them were individually involved in aspects of federalist studies, an examination of the early evolution of federalism in what once were the two sister dominions seemed quite an appropriate area in which to begin comparisons.
The book discusses Canadian federalism from about 1864 to 1880 and Australian federalism from about 1897 to 1914. It examines the background and changes wrought on early Canadian federalism and early Australian federalism.
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
The Newfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century
Combining innovative archaeological analysis with historical research, Peter E. Pope examines the way of life that developed in seventeenth-century Newfoundland, where settlement was sustained by seasonal migration to North America's oldest industry, the cod fishery.
The unregulated English settlements that grew up around the exchange of fish for wine served the fishery by catering to nascent consumer demand. The English Shore became a hub of transatlantic trade, linking Newfoundland with the Chesapeake, New and old England, southern Europe, and the Atlantic islands. Pope gives special attention to Ferryland, the proprietary colony founded by Sir George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, in 1621, but later taken over by the London merchant Sir David Kirke and his remarkable family. The saga of the Kirkes provides a narrative line connecting social and economic developments on the English Shore with metropolitan merchants, proprietary rivalries, and international competition.
Employing a rich variety of evidence to place the fisheries in the context of transatlantic commerce, Pope makes Newfoundland a fresh point of view for understanding the demographic, economic, and cultural history of the expanding North Atlantic world.
A Novel by Susanna Moodie
Flora Lyndsay is Susanna Moodie’s prequel to Roughing it in the Bush and Life in the Clearings. It completes her trilogy on her emigration from Suffolk to Upper Canada that began in 1832. Though Moodie chose to fictionalize herself in the context of this novel, this work remains a close personalized record of her family’s experiences in planning their emigration and crossing the Atlantic.
Although surprisingly little critical attention has been paid to it, this novel offers its readers the opportunity to appreciate Moodie’s style, her sense of form and her distinctive approach to writing female autobiography. This edition, complete with a wide corpus of endnotes, an extensive list of emendations and a critical introduction, should help address this absence and give readers a closer look at the iconic phenomenon that is Susanna Moodie.
Mediation at Niagara Falls
In the early hours of April 22, 1914, American President Woodrow Wilson sent Marines to seize the port of Veracruz in an attempt to alter the course of the Mexican Revolution. As a result, the United States seemed on the brink of war with Mexico. An international uproar ensued. The governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile offered to mediate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Surprisingly, both the United States and Mexico accepted their offer and all parties agreed to meet at an international peace conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. For Canadians, the conference provided an unexpected spectacle on their doorstep, combining high diplomacy and low intrigue around the gardens and cataracts of Canada's most famous natural attraction. For the diplomats involved, it proved to be an ephemeral high point in the nascent pan-American movement. After it ended, the conference dropped out of historical memory. This is the first full account of the Niagara Falls Peace Conference to be published in North America since 1914. The author carefully reconstructs what happened at Niagara Falls, examining its historical significance for Canada's relationship with the Americas. From this almost forgotten event he draws important lessons on the conduct of international mediation and the perils of middle-power diplomacy.