A History of Canadian Literature
- McGill-Queen's University Press
- Initial publish date
- Aug 2003
- Publish Date
- Aug 2003
- List Price
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New offers an unconventionally structured overview of Canadian literature, from Native American mythologies to contemporary texts. Publishers Weekly
A History of Canadian Literature looks at the work of writers and the social and cultural contexts that helped shape their preoccupations and direct their choice of literary form. W.H. New explains how - from early records of oral tales to the writing strategies of the early twenty-first century - writer, reader, literature, and society are interrelated. New discusses both Aboriginal and European mythologies, looking at pre-Contact narratives and also at the way Contact experience altered hierarchies of literary value. He then considers representations of the "real," whether in documentary, fantasy, or satire; historical romance and the social construction of Nature and State; and ironic subversions of power, the politics of cultural form, and the relevance of the media to a representation of community standard and individual voice. New suggests some ways in which writers of the later twentieth century codified such issues as history, gender, ethnicity, and literary technique itself. In this second edition, he adds a lengthy chapter that considers how writers at the turn of the twenty-first century have reimagined their society and their roles within it, and an expanded chronology and bibliography. Some of these writers have spoken from and about various social margins (dealing with issues of race, status, ethnicity, and sexuality), some have sought emotional understanding through strategies of history and memory, some have addressed environmental concerns, and some have reconstructed the world by writing across genres and across different media. All genres are represented, with examples chosen primarily, but not exclusively, from anglophone and francophone texts. A chronology, plates, and a series of tables supplement the commentary.
About the author
WILLIAM NEW is the author and editor of more than fifty books. A native of Vancouver, where he currently lives, he was educated at the University of British Columbia (where he later taught for 37 years) and the University of Leeds. From his first days as a student at UBC, he has been committed to the importance of Canadian writing and to making it accessible to readers around the world. His academic works include A History of Canadian Literature, the massive Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, and several extensive studies of irony and the short story. Writing more personally, his Borderlands: how we talk about Canada and Grandchild of Empire consider how local perspectives inform our political judgments. A prize-winning teacher and researcher, he was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal, and for his services to creative and critical writing he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.
William New's creative publications include five books for children (including the internationally honoured The Year I Was Grounded) and eleven previous collections of poetry (including Underwood Log, shortlisted for the Governor General's Award; YVR, winner of the City of Vancouver Award; and New & Selected Poems). His latest collection, Neighbours, questions whether any of us ever lives alone.
These poems ask what it means to live near, whether in close proximity or in ragtag memory--and to consider what happens when closeness dissolves and a neighbourhood dies.
Other titles by W.H. New
New & Selected Poems
From a Speaking Place
Writings from the First Fifty Years of Canadian Literature
Tropes and Territories
Short Fiction, Postcolonial Readings, Canadian Writings in Context
Along A Snake Fence Riding
Grandchild of Empire
About Irony, Mainly in the Commonwealth