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Welcome to my Eng. 470 Blog.

I hope that this will be a stepping stone to a greater understanding of Canadian History through the literature, both imported and developed in this great country.  I have spent many years studying the history of Canada at UBC, but have always been left wanting when it comes to the deeper understanding that literature can provide to the social and political context of any era.

One item that I hope to explore in more detail, and gain a clearer definition for, is what is Canadian literature?  Do you have to be born here to have it be Canadian?  Is it a matter of residing in Canada for a certain period, or at least for the period in which the work was written?  The following link, from a 2013 Globe and Mail article, has caught my eye on more than one occasion, and I hope this subject will be addressed in further detail in this course.

This second link, more current (2015) from the blog site Partisan, tackles the idea about the rise of Canadian literature, as a unique genre, in the late 60s and early 70s.  I also find this article interesting as it juxtaposes the nearly limitless access to literary funding and support that is available today, with the quickly declining, at least ideologically, production of Canadian literature.

I welcome any comments or feedback on this post, and I look forward to a summer of lovely debate!

Whitehouse burningThis particular image is borrowed from the aforementioned blog on Partisan , and is in reference to a Northrop Frye comment that is referenced in that article.

Works Cited:

Smith, Russell, “Why Do We Struggle With What Makes Canadian Literature?” Globe and Mail 2013. Web. May 11, 2016

Marche, Stephen, “What Was Canadian Literature?” Partisan Magazine April 2015. Web. May 11 2016


    • Linda McNeilly Purcell
    • Posted May 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm
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    Posted May 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Sean,

    I was not able to post my comment onto your first post, because it seems to have been created as a page instead of a post. But I did want to respond, and for that reason, I have put my comment here on your Hello World, official first post.

    It is nice to meet you. I am Linda Purcell, a fourth year English Literature Major with a Minor in Creative Writing. I enjoyed reading your first post, and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as the course progresses. Your blog post raises the question, what is Canadian Literature? Somehow, I do not think this is an issue for American Literature, which is literature produced in the United States. Nor is it an issue for English Literature, which is literature written in the English Language, and the writers can come from all over the world. I think this whole issue about what constitutes Canadian Literature stems from Canadian’s insecurity. This insecurity comes from our lack of a clear national identity. First and foremost because most of us are not from here originally, that honour goes to our First Nations Peoples. The rest of us are immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, and this creates a mystery pot of identity. However, regardless of what is considered Canadian Literature, I agree with the words of Alice Munro (quoted from the video that is included in the article you posted), “Just keep reading.”


    • Linda McNeilly Purcell
    • Posted May 19, 2016 at 10:14 pm
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    Hi Sean,

    I see your first post here is now able to accept comments. I just now re-posted the comments I left on your Hello World post (I originally entered them at 8:08 pm on May 18 on the Hello World post). I entered them in the above comment. However, I noticed that I also re-posted my comment about having difficulty with the post, but I did not mean to include that, so please ignore that part above.

    Thanks, Linda

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