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How did a privileged Victorian matron, newly widowed and newly impoverished, manage to raise and educate her six young children and restore her family to social prominence?
Mary Baker McQuesten’s personal letters, 155 of which were carefully selected by Mary J. Anderson, tell the story. In her uninhibited style, in letters mostly to her children, Mary Baker McQuesten chronicles her financial struggles and her expectations. The letters reveal her forthright opinions on a broad range of topics — politics, religion, literature, social sciences, and even local gossip. We learn how Mary assessed each of her children’s strengths and weaknesses, and directed each of their lives for the good of the family. For example, she sent her daughter Ruby out to teach, so she could send her earnings home to educate Thomas, the son Mary felt was most likely to succeed. And succeed he did, as a lawyer and mpp, helping to build many of Hamilton’s and Ontario’s highways, bridges, parks, and heritage sites, and in doing so, bringing the family back to social prominence.
Mary Baker McQuesten was also president of the Women’s Missionary Society. The appearance, manner, and eloquence of various ministers and politicians all come under her uninhibited scrutiny, providing lively insights into the Victorian moral and social motivations of both men and women and about the gender conflicts that occurred both at home and abroad.
This book will satisfy many readers. Those interested in the drama of Victorian society will enjoy the images of the stern Presbyterian matriarch, the sacrificed female, family mental illness, the unresolved death of a husband, and the dangers of social stigma. Scholars looking for research material will find an abundance in the letters, well annotated with details of the surrounding political, social, and current events of the times.
The Nineteenth-Century Sioux and the Canadian-American Borderlands
The Sioux made great tactical use of the Canada–United States boundary. They traded with the Métis of Canada—often in contraband goods such as arms and ammunition—and tried to get better prices from European traders by drawing the Hudson’s Bay Company into competition with American traders. They opened negotiations with both Canadian and American officials to determine which government would accord them better treatment, and they used the boundary as a shield in times of warfare with the United States. Until now, the Canadian-American borderlands and the people who live there have remained a blind spot in Canadian and American nationalist historiographies. Living with Strangers takes readers beyond the traditional dichotomy of the Canadian and the American West and reveals significant and previously unknown strands in Sioux history.
Essays on Religion, Literature, and Canadian Culture
Where do Canadians encounter religious meaning? Not where they used to!
In ten lively and wide-ranging essays, William Closson James examines various derivations of the sacred in contemporary Canadian culture. Most of the essays focus on the religious aspects of modern Canadian English fiction — for example, in essays on the fiction of Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan, Margaret Atwood and Joy Kogawa. But James also explores other, non-literary events and activities in which Canadians have found something transcendant or revelatory.
Each of the chapters in Locations of the Sacred can be read independently as a discrete analysis of its subject. Taken as a whole, the essays make up a powerful argument for a new way of looking at the religious in contemporary Canada — not in the traditional ways of being religious, but in activities and locations previously thought to be “secular.” Thus, the domains and modes of the religious are expanded, not restricted.
Étude de la transition d'une communauté canadienne-française de la région de Sudbury (1890-1972)
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.