Week of 14th Sept. 2010
*Lecture outlines are available on Portal.
Introduction to Course - "Where is Here?": Historical Survey of Canadian Literature
1) Thematic Criticism in the 1970s
Frye looks back at all the literature written thus far, and pulls out the central themes-Thematic Criticism.
a) Strangled articulateness: tacitness, Canadians don't talk a lot.
b) Terror of nature, portraying it as a malevolent force
x Isolation b/c of the cold
x Expansiveness, space: nature is indifferent to us, which is what terrifies the soul, and not just
x Sense of being terrorized by indifference.
c) Colonial mentality: inferior sense of being because of colonial status, always looking to Britain.
d) Garrison mentality (Frye)-military fort designed to keep threats out.
x Communities started as garrisons, built to keep things out-bears, raiders, natives. Protected
early settlers from physical threats, but also affected the way Canadians saw themselves, and
how it influenced their imaginations.
x A garrison is a fort, suggesting combat-^}}]]}voZ]vl]vP_Z(]vv]vuvo]ÇX
Constant push and pull between Anglo-French, US vs. Canada, Britain vs. Canada-binary
x Also demands conformity- absence of individual imagination-all think the same way. By 1965,
outburst, defining the Canadian literary tradition. However, by the end of the 20thC, great
literature started to be produced, around the post-moderv]]}X&ÇW^Y}u]vvZ
x Northrop Frye was a predominant Romantic critique. Fine literature for him was based on
}uv]]uP]v]}vX^,u]v_-he thought imagination was stifled by conformity.
e) Nationao/v]ÇW]v[Z]vlvÁÀv]}vX/v]]ooÇ-nation, colony, then post-
nation after the 2 world wars, industrial revolution having led to globalization. No sense of selfvto
when the concept of countries, nations, is redundant due to Capitalism, Globalization.
Defined in between 2 nations: Britain and the U.S.
Search for Identity: Canada was not so much viewed as a nation, but as a place to look for things. Always
grappling w/ issue of identity, often in relation w/ nature.
Not so muZ^ÁZ}u/M_Uµ^ÁZ]ZM_-o}]v}v[µ}µv]vPUµvo}]v](Ço}]}v
within a vast landscape. Still largely unchartered and unknown space.
Canadians are constantly trying to situate themselves within a larger existence, instead of forging their