History, Literature and the Writing of the Canadian Prairies
The Canadian Prairie has long been represented as a timeless and unchanging location, defined by settlement and landscape. Now, a new generation of writers and historians challenge that perception and argue, instead, that it is a region with an evolving culture and history. This collection of ten essays explores a more contemporary prairie identity, and reconfigures “the prairie” as a construct that is non-linear and diverse, responding to the impact of geographical, historical, and political currents. These writers explore the connections between document and imagination, between history and culture, and between geography and time.
The subjects of the essays range widely: the non-linear structure of Carol Shield’s The Stone Diaries; the impact of Aberhart’s Social Credit, Marshall McLuhan, and Mesopotamian myth on Robert Kroetsch’s prairie postmodernism; the role of document in long prairie poems; the connection between cultural tourism and heritage; the theme of regeneration in Margaret Laurence’s Manawaka writing; the influence of imagination on geography in Thomas Wharton’s Icefields; and the effects on an alpine climber of pre-WWII ideological concepts of time and individualism.
“An original and vital contribution to the understanding of prairie culture, history, and life.”
– Christian Riegel, University of Regina
About the Authors
Alison Calder teaches English at the University of Manitoba and is a winner of the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for poetry.
Robert Wardhaugh teaches History at the University of Western Ontario, and is the author of MacKenzie King and the Prairie West.
Other contributors: Alison Calder, Robert Wardhaugh, Frances W. Kaye, Claire Omhovère, Nina van Gessel, Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson, Russell Morton Brown, S. Leigh Matthews, Dennis Cooley, Sarah Payne, Debra Dudek, Cam McEachern