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Paddling Her Own Canoe

Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)

Veronica Strong-Boag
Carole Gerson
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  • Book Info
    Paddling Her Own Canoe
    Book Description:

    The only major scholarly study that examines E. Pauline Johnson?s diverse roles as a First Nations champion, New Woman, serious writer and performer, and Canadian nationalist.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7820-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    Emily Pauline Johnson, the writer and performer Tekahionwake, has captured the imagination of Canadians since the 1880s and 1890s. Her life continues to inspire popular biographers and aspiring Native writers and, at the turn of the millennium, she is being rediscovered by a generation of feminist and post-colonial critics. Few of her Canadian contemporaries have enjoyed such a hold on the public mind and heart. What accounts for this appeal?Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)begins to answer that question. In the high age of Anglo-Saxon imperialism and patriarchy she was, we...

  5. CHAPTER ONE ‘One of Them’: The Politics of Race, the Six Nations, and the Johnson Family
    (pp. 19-58)

    In the nineteenth century, English-speaking Canadians set about establishing who they were and, by extension, who they might become. In their quest for community, for future superiority over Great Britain and the United States, women and men turned to ideologies of race for answers. Race, many believed, ultimately determined the authentic Canadian. Yet Britain’s ‘great imperial race’ faced rivals. There were, of course, the French Canadians and the Americans, but before them came the Dominion’s First Nations, the peoples indigenous to the land. This priority had to be addressed, and dismantled, before Canada could become a European ‘home and native...

  6. CHAPTER TWO ‘I am a woman’: Finding Her Way as a New Woman
    (pp. 59-99)

    Pauline Johnson flourished amid a post-Confederation generation of middle-class women who puzzled and disturbed their contemporaries. Unlike her mother, who chose to avoid ‘public life’ and ‘the glare of the fierce light that beat upon prominent lives, the unrest of fame, the disquiet of public careers,’¹ the daughter elected to make her way as a New Woman in North America and Britain. An amateur performer and enthusiastic writer since her teens, Johnson resisted maternal opposition to a stage career and self-consciously seized opportunities to occupy the spotlight. Her sister Evelyn remembered a quick retort to a query about accepting Frank...

  7. CHAPTER THREE ‘Unique figure on the borderland’: Literature, Performance, and Reception
    (pp. 100-134)

    Pauline Johnson grew up in an era of expanding self-awareness for the new Canadian nation. Political and cultural leaders recognized literature as a major cultural agent for establishing national images and values. In 1864, on the eve of Confederation, the Reverend Hartley Dewart compiledSelections from Canadian Poets, the first significant anthology of Canadian literature, arguing that ‘A national literature is an essential element in the formation of national character.’ His motive was more political than aesthetic. ‘It may be fairly questioned,’ he continued, ‘whether the whole range of history presents the spectacle of a people firmly united politically, without...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR ‘The most interesting English poetess now living’: Reading Pauline Johnson
    (pp. 135-177)

    The reader who goes to a general library seeking the writings of Pauline Johnson will likely find four titles, all issued during the last two years of her life.Flint and Feather, published in 1912 with the inaccurate subtitle ofThe Complete Poems of E. Pauline Johnson, includes all the verses from her first two volumes,The White Wampum(1895) andCanadian Born(1903), plus twenty-five later poems.¹Legends of Vancouver, published in 1911, selects fifteen pieces from the dozens of newspaper and magazine stories and articles she penned about First Nations culture from 1908 to 1911.The Shagganappi, which...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. CHAPTER FIVE ‘Canadian Born’: Imagining the Nation
    (pp. 178-218)

    From her birth in Six Nations in 1861 to her death in Vancouver in 1913, Pauline Johnson tested and expanded the meaning of Canada. Her respectable middle-class Mohawk-English family embodied the hopes of a Mixed-race community on North America’s imperial frontier. She too attempted to embrace an enlarged view of the British Empire and the Canadian nation. Her efforts unfolded in the midst of widespread soul-searching about the future of the new confederation. Just what was the relationship of former colonies to the imperial centre? What justified a separate existence in face of the American behemoth? What was the relationship...

  11. APPENDIX: Chronological List of Pauline Johnson’s Writings
    (pp. 219-236)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 237-280)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-314)
  14. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 315-316)
  15. Index
    (pp. 317-332)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 333-333)