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Home Ground and Foreign Territory

Home Ground and Foreign Territory: Essays on Early Canadian Literature

Edited by Janice Fiamengo
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 308
  • Book Info
    Home Ground and Foreign Territory
    Book Description:

    Home Ground and Foreign Territoryis an original collection of essays on early Canadian literature in English. Aiming to be both provocative and scholarly, it encompasses a variety of (sometimes opposing) perspectives, subjects, and methods, with the aim of reassessing the field, unearthing neglected texts, and proposing new approaches to canonical authors. Renowned experts in early Canadian literary studies, including D.M.R. Bentley, Mary Jane Edwards, and Carole Gerson, join emerging scholars in a collection distinguished by its clarity of argument and breadth of reference. Together, the essays offer bold and informative contributions to the study of this dynamic literature.

    Home Ground and Foreign Territoryreaches out far beyond the scope of early Canadian literature. Its multi-disciplinary approach innovates literal studies and appeals to literature specialists and general readership alike.

    eISBN: 978-0-7766-2141-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction: Home Ground and Foreign Territory
    (pp. 1-16)
    Janice Fiamengo

    “Home ground, foreign territory” (11) is the evocative phrase used by the unnamed narrator of Margaret Atwood’sSurfacing(1972) as she and her friends cross the Ontario border into northern Quebec to return to the narrator’s childhood home. In the novel, the phrase signals not only Quebec in its linguistic and cultural otherness but also wilderness, the past, memory, and the unconscious. I borrow it for the title of this collection because I like its juxtaposition of the familiar and the strange, the intimate and the unknowable. Scholars of Canada’s literary past encounter descriptions and accounts—the “wood-bound lake” (l....

  5. Reflections on the Situation and Study of Early Canadian Literature in the Long Confederation Period
    (pp. 17-44)
    D. M. R. Bentley

    In 1886, Matthew Arnold famously responded with condescending scorn to a recently publishedPrimer of American Literature: “Are we to have a Primer of Canadian Literature, and a Primer of Australian? . . . [T]hese things are not only absurd; they are also retarding” (11: 165). Two years earlier, the Canadian historian, journalist and champion of cosmopolitanism Joseph Edmund Collins had reacted similarly to the very thought of a “Canadian Literature,” asserting categorically that “[t]here is no Australian Literature, no Heligoland Literature, no Rock-of-Gibraltar Literature [and] neither is there a Canadian Literature” (614). If there were, he added, “we would...

  6. Periodicals First: The Beginnings of Susanna Moodie’s Roughing It in the Bush and Pauline Johnson’s Legends of Vancouver
    (pp. 45-66)
    Carole Gerson

    Where does literature begin? This question becomes especially pressing when we recognize that the contours of early Canadian literature have never been stable. The first edition of theLiterary History of Canada(1964; Klinck) mapped a broad socio-cultural terrain that included the writings of poets and novelists, explorers and travellers, historians and social scientists, philosophers and theologians. Today, as the field reflects new focal points in social and cultural history, we can envision other kinds of beginnings for early Canadian literature such as Aboriginal orature, settlers’ letters, anonymous folk songs, and writings in immigrants’ home languages. The new beginning that...

  7. Rediscovering Re(Dis)covering: Back to the Second-Wave Feminist Future
    (pp. 67-88)
    Cecily Devereux

    The publication in 1990 ofRe(Dis)covering Our Foremothers: Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Writersmarked a turning point in the history of English-Canadian literary history. Edited by Lorraine McMullen, the volume represented the proceedings of the 1988 Reappraisals: Canadian Writers conference (April 29–May 1, 1988) at the University of Ottawa. The fifteenth in the published Reappraisals series,Re(Dis)covering Our Foremotherswas the first published collection of essays, ever, anywhere, to attend exclusively to the work of nineteenth-century English-Canadian women writers. It thus, as McMullen observes in her introduction to the volume, served to delineate “an area in which scholarly work ha[d]...

  8. Lady Audley’s Secret versus The Abbot: Reconsidering the Form of Canadian Historical Fiction through the Content of Library Catalogues
    (pp. 89-114)
    Andrea Cabajsky

    Over the last two decades, critical interest in Canadian historical fiction has been largely confined to texts published in the latter half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first.¹ However, recent developments in early Canadian studies, together with recent changes in international theorizing about the rise of the novel, can invite a fresh look at Canadian fiction of the nineteenth century, whose example should not be overlooked. Early novelists grappled with the formal problems that arose when they set out to write versions of the past at once believable and acceptable to the divergent needs of English-and French-Canadian readers....

  9. “Not Legitimately Gothic”: Spiritualism and Early Canadian Literature
    (pp. 115-136)
    Thomas Hodd

    One of the drawbacks to establishing a literary critical tradition is that scholars sometimes risk excluding the impact of cultural movements that, although related, lie outside that tradition’s defined theoretical parameters. Gothicism—generally understood as a literary mode characterized by mysterious or horrific happenings, often symbolic in nature, that create a sense of terror or fear—has become an accepted mode of critical discourse in early Canadian literary scholarship.¹ Since the appearance of Margot Northey’s landmark study,The Haunted Wilderness: the Gothic and Grotesque in Canadian Fiction(1976), scholars have expanded on her treatment of nineteenth-century English and French-Canadian romances...

  10. The Canadian Canon, Being “On the Other Side of the Latch” and Sara Jeannette Duncan’s Anglo-Indian Memoir
    (pp. 137-156)
    Christa Zeller Thomas

    The title of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s autobiographical journal of a summer of illness, spent “on the other side of the latch” or ‘shut out’ from her own home, is oddly prescient and symbolic considering the standing with critics of this work, specifically, and Duncan’s position in the canon of Canadian literature in general: while Duncan’s journalism and some of her fiction have received considerable critical attention in recent years, much of her work, particularly her substantial Anglo-Indian oeuvre (which includesOn the Other Side of the Latch/The Crow’s-Nest)¹ remains overlooked. The exclusion of these writings from scholarly consideration is the...

  11. The Duelling Authors: Settler Imperatives and Agnes Laut’s Denigration of Pierre Falcon
    (pp. 157-174)
    Albert Braz

    One of the most striking aspects of Agnes Laut’sLords of the Northis its treatment of Pierre Falcon. The 1900 historical novel has become pivotal in the memorialization of the Métis bard, reproducing several of his poems and being the sole source of one the best-known works attributed to him, “The Buffalo Hunt.” Falcon is of course a singular figure in nineteenth-century Western Canada, being a popular poet in a part of the world where, in Grant MacEwan’s felicitous words, verse makers “were about as common as blonde buffalo” (25). Born in 1793 in the Swan River valley of...

  12. Anna’s Monuments: The Work of Mourning, the Gender of Melancholia and Canadian Women’s War Writing
    (pp. 175-196)
    Joel Baetz

    In the southwest corner of St. James Cemetery in Toronto, Captain William Arthur Durie is buried. The monument that rises above his grave is approximately ten feet tall and made of solid, grey stone (see Appendix). It is not a perfect replica of Reginald Blomfield’s Cross of Sacrifice which marks war cemeteries in Europe; but it’s close. Arthur’s monument is smaller than most; the inset sword is a graven image, not mounted bronze. But the resemblance is purposeful and undeniable, from the bevelled edges that make it look like it’s made of shell casings to the double-cross image made possible...

  13. Hidden Hunger: Early Canadian Women Poets
    (pp. 197-216)
    Wanda Campbell

    In the year 2000, Canadian Poetry Press published an anthology of early Canadian women poets entitledHidden Rooms. As the editor, I chose the title as an homage to Isabella Valancy Crawford’s poem “The Hidden Room” (1884), Virginia Woolf’sA Room of One’s Own(1929) and P. K. Page’sThe Hidden Room: Collected Poems(1997), but also as a reminder of the hidden status of early Canadian women writers, and poets in particular, within the Canadian canon. Just over a decade later, it seems appropriate to reflect upon the current critical status of these poets and the generic, critical and...

  14. Judging by Appearances: Thomas Chandler Haliburton and the Ontology of Early Canadian Spirits
    (pp. 217-236)
    Cynthia Sugars

    Thomas Chandler Haliburton’s 1849The Old Judge; or, Life in a Colonyis a peculiar document. Part novel, part cultural history, part compendium of local politics and legend, part ghost story, the book has proved something of a puzzle to literary scholars, who either emphasize its encapsulation of Haliburton’s reflections on leaving Nova Scotia to settle in England or overlook it altogether in favour of his much more easily accessible “Sam Slick” narratives.The Old Judgeis a mongrel of a text—neither satire nor romance, neither novel nor short stories—yet many critics have gestured to its importance as...

  15. Hallowed Spaces/Public Places: Women’s Literary Voices and The Acadian Recorder 1850–1870
    (pp. 237-256)
    Ceilidh Hart

    The space many early Canadian newspapers devoted to literature constitutes an important, and largely unexplored, site of scholarly investigation. Here many women writers published their poetry and fiction in special sections, sometimes full pages, which were clearly meant to target women readers with their domestic and sentimental focus. Drawing on theorizing by American and Canadian critics of sentimental literature, I survey the poetry sections of the Halifax newspaperThe Acadian Recorderfor the period 1850 to 1870 to analyze how women used this textual space as a forum for the exercise of rhetorical power.¹ I suggest that such spaces were...

  16. Who’s In and Who’s Out: Recovering Minor Authors and the Pesky Question of Critical Evaluation
    (pp. 257-274)
    Jennifer Chambers

    In his “Conclusion” to theLiterary History of Canada(1965), when Northrop Frye declares that Canadian literary scholars in general, and the authors of that work in particular, have “outgrown the view that evaluation is the end of criticism” and that the essays therein are “cultural history” (821), he set the course for how studies in early Canadian literature would progress. Scholars in the field of early Canadian literature have naturally moved toward cultural history, the advantageous result of which has been the rise in esteem of cultural studies as a way to read and analyze literary works.

    Canadians began...

  17. Texts and Contexts: CEECT’s Scholarly Editions
    (pp. 275-294)
    Mary Jane Edwards

    In a paper that appeared in a 2007 issue ofAustralasian Canadian Studies, I stated that the account was “the latest, and possibly the last, version of the work called CEECT” that I should prepare (“The Centre” 15). I was wrong, however, for I spoke again about the project at “Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature,” the Canadian Literature Symposium held at the University of Ottawa in May 2010. Giving the talk in the city where CEECT was born and in the capital of the country whose early history its scholarly editions seek to illuminate was a particular pleasure. In this expanded...

  18. Contributors
    (pp. 295-297)