Books – Literary Criticism

  • Taking Back Our Spirits

    Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing

    Jo-Ann Episkenew (Author)

    From the earliest settler policies to deal with the “Indian problem,” to contemporary government-run programs ostensibly designed to help Indigenous people, public policy has played a major role in creating the historical trauma that so greatly impacts the lives of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. Taking Back Our Spirits traces the link between Canadian public policies, the injuries they have inflicted on Indigenous people, and Indigenous literature’s ability to heal individuals and communities.

    Published May 2009 | Indigenous Studies, Literary Criticism

  • Magic Weapons

    Aboriginal Writers Remaking Community after Residential School

    Sam McKegney (Author)

    Magic Weapons is the first major survey of Indigenous writings on the residential school system, and provides groundbreaking readings of life writings by Rita Joe (Mi’kmaq) and Anthony Apakark Thrasher (Inuit) as well as in-depth critical studies of better known life writings by Basil Johnston (Ojibway) and Tomson Highway (Cree).

    Published November 2007 | Indigenous Studies, Literary Criticism

  • The Force of Vocation

    The Literary Career of Adele Wiseman

    Ruth Panofsky (Author)

    Adele Wiseman was a seminal figure in Canadian letters. Always independent and wilful, she charted her own literary career, based on her unfailing belief in her artistic vision. In The Force of Vocation, the first book on Wisemanís writing life, Ruth Panofsky presents Wiseman as a writer who doggedly and ambitiously perfected her craft, sought a wide audience for her work, and refused to compromise her work for marketability.

    Published April 2006 | Literary Criticism

  • Alien Heart

    The Life and Work of Margaret Laurence

    Lyall Powers (Author)

    Margaret Laurence remains one of Canada’s best-known and most beloved writers. Twice winner of the Governor General’s Award for fiction, she was, as the late William French wrote, “more profoundly admired than any other Canadian novelist of her generation.” Alien Heart is the first full-length biography of Margaret Laurence that combines personal knowledge and insights of the woman with a study of her work, which often paralleled the events and concerns in her own life.

    Published August 2005 | Literary Criticism

  • History, Literature and the Writing of the Canadian Prairies

    Alison Calder (Editor), Robert Wardhaugh (Editor)

    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.

    Published May 2005 | History, Literary Criticism

  • Travelling Knowledges

    Positioning the Im/Migrant Reader of Aboriginal Literatures in Canada

    Renate Eigenbrod (Author)

    In the context of de/colonization, the boundary between an Aboriginal text and the analysis by a non-Aboriginal outsider poses particular challenges often constructed as unbridgeable. Eigenbrod argues that politically correct silence is not the answer but instead does a disservice to the literature that, like all literature, depends on being read, taught, and disseminated in various ways. In Travelling Knowledges, Eigenbrod suggests decolonizing strategies when approaching Aboriginal texts as an outsider and challenges conventional notions of expertise.

    Published May 2005 | Indigenous Studies, Literary Criticism

  • Intimate Strangers

    The Letters of Margaret Laurence and Gabrielle Roy

    Margaret Laurence (Author), Gabrielle Roy (Author), Paul G. Socken (Editor)

    In 1976 Margaret Laurence and Gabrielle Roy began a seven-year correspondence in English, when both were at the height of their powers as writers. In these lovely and intimate letters, two great Canadian writers discuss everything from their common prairie backgrounds to current politics and censorship.

    Published December 2004 | Literary Criticism

  • Writing Grief

    Margaret Laurence and the Work of Mourning

    Christian Riegel (Author)

    Margaret Laurence’s much admired Manawaka fiction — The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire-Dwellers, A Bird in the House, and The Diviners -– has achieved remarkable recognition for its compassionate portrayal of the attempt to find meaning and peace in ordinary life. In Writing Grief, Christian Riegel argues that the protagonists in these books achieve resolution through acts of mourning, placing this fiction within the larger tradition of writing that explores the nuances and strategies of mourning.

    Published September 2003 | Literary Criticism

  • Making it Home

    Place in Canadian Literature

    Deborah Keahey (Author)

    Redefines our understanding of place, home, and the relationship between them.

    Published December 1998 | Environmental Studies, Literary Criticism, Literature

  • Wild Mother Dancing

    Maternal Narrative in Canadian Literature

    Di Brandt (Author)

    Wild Mother Dancing challenges the historical absence of the mother, who, as subject and character, has been repeatedly suppressed and edited out of the literary canon. In her search for sources for telling the new (or old, forbidden story) against a tradition of narrative absence, Brandt turns to Canadian fiction representing a varety of cultural traditions — Margaret Laurence, Daphne Marlatt, Jovette Marchessault, Joy Kogawa, Sky Lee — and a collection of oral interviews about childbirth told by Mennonite women.

    Published September 1993 | Literary Criticism