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.