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Editing Modernity

Editing Modernity: Women and Little-Magazine Cultures in Canada, 1916-1956

  • Book Info
    Editing Modernity
    Book Description:

    Based on extensive new archival and literary historical research,Editing Modernityexamines these Canadian women writers and editors and their role in the production and dissemination of modernist and leftist little magazines.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8795-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-28)

    Every host knows that the trick to any successful party is its guest list. When F.R. Scott drew up the guest list for his party in January 1966, he invited a familiar group of past and current Montreal literary couples – Louis Dudek and Aileen Collins, Irving and Aviva Layton, Ralph and Betty Gustafson, A.J.M. and Jeannie Smith, and John and Elma Glassco – as well as some newcomers: Leonard Cohen, Eldon Grier, D.G. Jones, Al Purdy, Wynne Francis, and Michael Gnarowski. Predictably, the guest list names the men first and appends the names of wives in parentheses. Scott sent out invitations...

  6. 1 Invitation to Silence: Toronto Montreal Vancouver, 1932–1937
    (pp. 29-76)

    Ruth McKenzie’s pronouncement in her 1939 article ‘Proletarian Literature in Canada’ continues to be representative of literary-historical attitudes toward proletarian culture of the 1930s: ‘Since few members of the labouring classes are articulate in the literary sense, practically no literature of that origin exists in Canada or in any other country’ (49; cf. Hynes 11). Even among members of the cultural left, an author as committed to proletarian literature as Dorothy Livesay questioned its material existence. Writing in ‘Proletarianitis in Canada’ around 1936, she anticipated McKenzie’s later verdict: ‘There is no proletarian literature in Canada; but there is no Canadian...

  7. 2 Marginal Modernisms: Victoria Vancouver Ottawa, 1935–1953
    (pp. 77-126)

    BothCanadian Poetry MagazineandContemporary Versewere products of the CAA and its predominantly female membership: the former at the national level, the latter at the local level. When the CAA launchedCanadian Poetry Magazineunder the editorship of E.J. Pratt in January 1936, it was the first periodical of its kind in Canada. Even so, literary historians have routinely omitted it from studies of Canadian little magazines, largely because of prevailing antipathies toward the CAA and its publications among critics and historians in the field of Canadian literary modernism (see Norris,Little20; Dudek, ‘Role’ 207; McCullagh xxiii)....

  8. 3 Gendered Modernisms: Montreal Toronto Vancouver, 1941–1956
    (pp. 127-180)

    Miriam Waddington’s 1989 essay-memoir ‘Apartment Seven’ points to the largely unrealized potential for studies of gender in Canadian literary culture of the 1940s. Although the critical field has since shifted, her assessment is still pertinent to the study of women in little-magazine culture of that time: ‘Gender has seldom, if ever, been studied or written about in relation to the literary life in Canada during the forties ... It would be interesting, all the same, to explore what part, if any, gender actually played in the development of the little magazines, in their selection of material and in their editing,...

  9. 4 Editing Women: The Making of Little-Magazine Cultures, 1916–1947
    (pp. 181-218)

    Just as the early poetry and poetics of Livesay, Marriott, Page, and Waddington coincide with critical and transitional events in leftist and modernist magazine cultures, so the histories of other women editors of modern literary, arts, and cultural-interest magazines from the same period follow analogous narratives of crisis and transition. These ‘other’ little magazines and the ‘other’ women responsible for their editing participate equally in the making of a modern literary culture in Canada. Women’s editorial construction of these magazines is informed by some common cultural discourses of the period: modernism, leftism, nationalism, internationalism, and feminism. These discursive formations are...

  10. 5 Guardians of the Avant-garde: Modernism, Anti-modernism, and the Massey Commission
    (pp. 219-258)

    The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (1949–51) – the Massey Commission – witnessed Canadian literary modernism’s transition from an emergent to a dominant cultural formation. For Canada’s mid-century little magazines, the public hearings and publications surrounding this event signalled their recognition by the state as emissaries of an official Canadian literary culture. The Massey Commission’s desire for ‘universalism’ found its literary model in modernism’s mediation between apparently antagonistic nationalist and internationalist cultural discourses (Report226; Berland 22). At the same time, its universalist notion of a national literature and its interpellation of the literary avant-garde...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 259-274)

    After 1957 the number of little magazines in Canada increased dramatically. The transition to a Canada Council era in the production of literary, arts, and cultural magazines also enabled the continuation of magazines from the pre-council era, including theCanadian Forum(1920–2000),Fiddlehead(1945– ), theTamarack Review(1956–82), andQuarry(1952– ). Of these magazines, however, onlyQuarrywas ever edited by a woman, though not until Gail Fox took over the editorship in 1976; she was succeeded by Bronwen Wallace (1978–81). The decade that witnessed the appearance ofhere and now, Impression, pm magazine, New...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 275-298)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 299-320)
  14. Index
    (pp. 321-346)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 347-348)