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LITERARY CRITICISM IN CANADA DESMOND PACEY LET me begin by defining the scope of this article. It will be concerned not with all literary criticism produced in this country, but with Canadian criticism of Canadian literature. It is not intended to be a formal analysis and evaluation of contemporary critics, still less a history of the development of our criticism; it is an attempt to discover certain basic rtendencies of Canadian literary criticism and to suggest possible explanations for them. Perhaps the most striking thing about our criticism is that there is so little of it. The critical bibliography for almost every Canadian author-Carman is a conspicuous exception-is so small that it can be covered in a single evening. A seri·es of full-scale monographs on the best Canadian writers is badly needed. A start was made, a couple of decades ago, with the "Makers of Canadian Literature" series, but the project was allowed to lapse, after a few volumes had appeared, because public support was Jacking. In any case, it is doubtful whether the plan of this series was adequate, since it conceived of the publication of a biography, an anthology of selections, and a critical estimate, all in the space of a very small volume. More comprehensive studies have appeared sporadically-Chittick's study of Haliburton, for example," and Klinck's study of \Vilfred Campbell-but there are many gaps, gaps which in a more critically conscious country would be incredible. There is, for example, no satisfactory book-length study of Lampman, nor of Duncan Campbell Scott, nor of Charles Heavysege, nor of John Richardson. There is an almost equal dearth of general volumes. The only true history of Canadian literature, ·that by R. P. Baker, stops at Confederation. There ·are a number of handbooks on the subject, but 1nost of

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 113-119
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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