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Literary Criticism Canadian

Butterfly on a Rock

A Study of Themes and Images in Canadian Literature

by (author) D.G. Jones

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1970
Canadian, Poetry, Semiotics & Theory
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1970
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In this volume Douglas Jones considers some of the themes and visages that have taken root in Canadian poetry and fiction during the past three generations. The persistent concern of widely different authors with these similar themes and images suggests that the individual writers share a common cultural predicament. It may also suggest that they participate in and help to articulate a larger imaginative world, a supreme fiction of the kind, that embodies the dream and nightmares of a people, shapes their imaginative vision, dreams and nightmares of a people, shapes their imaginative vision of the world, and defines, as it evolves, their cultural identity. This study makes it clear that the cultural predicament proposing different writers to take up the same themes is not defined simply by a literary tradition, but by the actual experience of many Canadians. This fresh and unconventional discussion, based on the author's wide knowledge of the original works, makes Canadian literature (primarily that written in English) intelligible in terms of its imaginative patters and inner concerns. The approach is cultural and psychological rather than pureply aesthetic or literary. The book is not primarily a survey, nor does it attempt to deal fully with any single author or work. Rather, by isolating certain themes and images it defines more clearly some of the features that recur in the mind, the mirror of our imaginative life.

About the author

Douglas Gordon Jones was a Canadian writer, translator and critic. Born in 1929 in Bancroft, ON, he studied English Literature in university at McGill and Queen's. He continued his career in academia, teaching at Bishop's University before settling into a post at the Université de Sherbrooke. While there, he co-founded a bilingual literary journal ellipse: Writers in Translation (1969-2012), the only magazine of its kind in Canada. Jones was the author of ten books of poetry, and won the A. J. M. Smith Award for Poetry (1977), the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry (1989, 1995) and the Governor General's Award, once in 1977 for his collection of poems, Under the Thunder the Flowers Light Up the Earth, and again in 1993 for his translation of Normand de Bellefeuille's Categorics: 1, 2 & 3. In 2007, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Jones passed away in March 2016 in North Hatley, Quebec.

D.G. Jones' profile page

Editorial Reviews

'…. Jones has produced what should stand as an indispensable work on writing in our country. It is important because it is a book that, indirectly, tells us as much about the Canadian mentality as about the writers who express it.' George Woodcock, Toronto Daily Star

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