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In the fiction of the s, while some popular family chronicles continued to affirm conventional class distinctions, antiwar novels and class critiques began to appear, a trend magnified during the Great Depression of the s. Many writers focussed on uprooted or marginalized individuals and the troubled lives of non-English-speaking immigrants.
American literary practice—and the international avant-garde of postwar Paris—drew writers such as John Glassco and Morley Callagham ; the short story genre thrived, espousing forms that resisted narrative closure. Young writers also rejected received social values by mounting left-wing agitprop drama, writing dramas that satirized nationalist pageantry, publishing erotica, finding inspiration in the Group of Seven painters, and embracing the modernist dicta of the poet T.
Eliot and others. Scott for his commitment to social justice and Abraham Klein for his passionate embrace of his Jewish heritage. Over succeeding decades Dorothy Livesay became the voice of socialist feminism and Scott, with the poet-critic A.
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Smith , became an influential anthologist, shaping the early teaching of Canadian literature. In the wake of the Second World War came a mix of propaganda, pacifist rhetoric, parodies of military ineptitude, and a new wave of progressivist writers, by turns humanist, anticlerical, community-minded and intellectually anarchist. Notable names include Irving Layton , Earle Birney , Gabrielle Roy who remains one of the best- known francophone writers in translation , P. Page and George Woodcock. In the s and s, social policies were being drafted that would shape a Canadian sense of community for decades to come.
New Literary Periodicals demanded a sharper, more locally grounded language. Radio technology also served this end. Novelists such as Hugh MacLennan and Sinclair Ross urned again to local settings, rendering the prairies, the Maritimes and Montreal as sites of personal and political trauma. Several social developments markedly changed Canadian society in the years following All these changes had an impact on literary topics and techniques.
Multimedia presentations challenged conventions regarding the unity of literary form. Bilingual texts, triptychs in fiction and drama , and discontinuous narratives in fiction and poetry all deliberately disrupted conventional linearity as a literary technique. The number of Canadian universities, small presses , accessible academic and literary periodicals from Canadian Literature to Geist , courses in Canadian literature and creative writing schools also increased, in part because of the recommendations of the Massey Commission and the emergence of the Canada Council in the s.
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Further government policies led to such social developments as the Charter Of Rights and Freedoms in , but a sudden shift to policies that favoured fiscal restraint and cultural cutbacks occurred in the early 21st century and have persisted; the publishing industry, libraries, public media and scholarship were all affected. New technologies opened up opportunities for local and frequently more innovative publishing including experiments in syllabic and concrete poetry, mixed-media presentations, performance poetry and other formats , yet they did not guarantee access to publicity and sales.
Coteries came and went; so did scores of journals and papers. Newspapers faced hardships, and some stopped publishing print editions; this was due in part to a readership that had shifted to online news sources. Publishers of formula fiction remained monetarily successful. But publishing houses that had thrived in the s when American control over the information industry was resisted faced closure in the s with the increasing influence of electronic publishing and multinational corporations.
The event promotes Canadian writing and emphasizes the importance of a reading public yet simplifies literature and contributes to a competitive literary culture. Likewise, a plethora of prizes, often with corporate sponsorship, began to construct literature as spectacle. Many bookstores nevertheless closed.
Critiques of social arrogance in one decade foreign wars, napalm, racism morphed into critiques of other disparities in the next discrimination by sex, gender, ethnicity, economics. Other writers addressed cultural, social, and political alternatives in Canadian society, some of which were longstanding, others deriving from more recent changes in population, technology, language and communication.
- Greek Literature after Alexander the Great;
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- The Prison Boundary: Between Society and Carceral Space.
Many of these writers sought a balance between criticism of social practice racism, passive dismissal, restrictive legislation and celebration of social potential. The poet Robert Bringhurst translated some of the great classic Haida oral tales, Al Purdy created poetry out of the rhythms of ordinary speech, Jack Hodgins turned Vancouver Island idiosyncrasy into a comedy of human aspiration, George Elliott Clarke and Wayde Compton called attention to Black writing in Canada, and increasing numbers of writers including Rohinton Mistry , Michael Ondaatje and Wayson Choy drew on their Asian heritage both to reflect on adaptations to difference and to dramatize the challenges and rewards of a fractured or shared history.
Globalization notwithstanding, literary interest in the nation-state persisted. Donna Bennett and Russell Brown, eds.
Klinck, ed. New, ed. New, A History of Canadian Literature 2nd ed. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia. Remember me. I forgot my password. Why sign up? Create Account. Accessed 25 September In The Canadian Encyclopedia.
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Historica Canada. Article published December 02, ; Last Edited March 27, The Canadian Encyclopedia , s. Article by W.