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Literary Criticism Canadian

Grandchild of Empire

About Irony, Mainly in the Commonwealth

by (author) W.H. New

Ronsdale Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2003
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2003
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2003
    List Price

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Canada's foremost literary critic looks at the politics of irony in modern writing and explains how it relates to imperial history, how it impacts upon personal memories, how it speaks from the margin, and how it indirectly teaches us to resist presumptuous authority. Funny, informed and emotionally engaging, Grandchild of Empire, an extension of the 2002 Sedgewick Lecture at the University of BC, demonstrates how writers have actively adapted the English language in order to undermine empty conventions of literary and political power, and to affirm, even in bleak times, self-esteem.

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.

W.H. New's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“a charming, witty, accessible, and intelligent book” — Canadian Literature

Other titles by W.H. New