Context North America: Canadian-U.S. Literary Relations by Camille La Bossiere

By Camille La Bossiere

Context North America is a comparative research of Canadian and American literary relatives that emphasizes the cultural and institutional contexts during which Canadian literature is taught and skim. This quantity exemplifies the query of ways the literatures of Canada could aptly be studied and contextualized within the days of heightened discontinuity and more and more ambiguous borderlines either among and in the many narratives that make up North America.

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One could well argue that such a longing for home remains central in many Canadian narratives (as in Guy Vanderhaeghe's 1989 novel Homesick—where even the title recalls those Loyalist longings). Perhaps home as a theme serves to order Canadian narratives just as road so often organizes American writing. We could develop this opposition of road and home in several ways. It immediately suggests a pairing of two classic novels: against the American romance of the West, of free travel and of the automobile, epitomized by Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957), we could set that representative of the English-Canadian story of community—with the need for understanding to emerge out of misunderstanding, and the house as the embodiment of its social values2—contained in Sinclair Ross' As for Me and My House (1941).

In this positive valuation of "restless energy," we hear an anticipation of—and perhaps glimpse Parkman's influence on—Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier thesis. (Turner thought it was to the experience of its moving frontier and westering settlement that "the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. ) Although for Parkman "Canadians" means French Canadians, his opposition of "restless" and "content" as a way of differentiating between the American and the Canadian character shows up again in the American John Casey's novel, An American Romance (1987): "The thing I noticed [about the inhabitants of Canada] was that they had fewer anxieties than their American counterparts.

Matthiessen. Seattle: U of Washington P, 1975. ). Crossing Frontiers. Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 1979. Horowitz, Gad. " Canadian Dimension 2 (1965). Kreisel, Henry. The Almost Meeting. Edmonton: NeWest, 1981. Leach, Edmund. " In History and Ethnicity. Ed. Elizabeth Tonkin, Maryon McDonald, and Malcolm Chapman. London: Routledge, 1989. 34-47. Lee, Dennis. " Boundary 2 3 (1974). Lipset, Seymour Martin. North American Cultures. Orono: U of Maine P, 1990. B. Contours of Canadian Thought. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1987.

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