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Canadian Literature and Cultural Memory

Category: Book
By (author): Sugars, Cynthia
By (author): Ty, Eleanor
Subject:  LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing
  LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: June 2014
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 512
Size: 9.03in x 6.46in x 1.53in
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$ 59.95
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Critics argue that contemporary western societies are immersed in a culture of memory," devoting resources to national histories and heritage, commemoration, public re-enactments, etc. We use these recollections of our national past to maintain a collective identity in the present, among other uses. These essays, edited by Cynthia Sugars and Eleanor Ty, explore how Canadian literature draws on aspects of cultural memory, past and future. Exploring memory as a "vector of signification" involves a wide range such concepts of as heritage, antiquity, nostalgia, elegy, ancestry, haunting, trauma, affect, aging, authenticity, commemoration, public history. Contributors to this collection consider literary treatments of both mainstream and alternative uses of cultural memory, past and contemporary, urban and rural. From well-known writers like Alice Munro, Al Purdy and Dionne Brand to recreations of Aboriginal pasts and less common topics like food and Mennonites, there is wide representation of Canada's literary diversity. And equally representative is the collection's historical spread, ranging across early explorer narratives to contemporary works. The collection digs into some of the darker moments in our past (immigrant experiences, recollections of interned Japanese-Canadians in World War 2, and memories of Native children in residential schools). The sheer ambition of this collection suggests the multifaceted ways that Canada's past is part of our collective culturalmemory now. A four-page colour insert - including Seth cartoons as well as unique, little known photography - provides a compelling visual context for the collection's treatment of the complex, multifaceted character of cultural memory in Canada. The collection is divided into five parts (amnesia, postmemory, recovery work, trauma, and globalization), all areas of research in the emerging field of cultural memory. These thought-provoking essays reflect the many ways the past infuses the present, and the present adapts the past. Students and scholars will find this rich collection useful in upper-level courses in Canadian literature as well as in cultural studies."
Review Quote*"A monumental achievement." --Cecily Devereux, University of Alberta
Review Quote*"A remarkable analysis of the multiple ways in which memory is shaped in and interrogated by Canadian literature and culture. This deep, varied and insightful collection of essays . . . brings together a fantastic range of insights into cultural memory that promise to fundamentally re-shape approaches to Canadian literary studies." --Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, University of Alberta
Review Quote*"A vital and convincing defence of memory as a central concept and a persistent preoccupation in Canadian literature and culture." --Andrea Cabajsky, Universite de Moncton
Biographical NoteCynthia Sugars is Professor in the Department of Literature, University of Ottawa. Her research and teaching focus on the links between national identities and cultural narratives, in the broad range of ways that Canadians, past and present, make sense of themselves as members of a national community that is shaped by a multiplicity of contending perspectives. Eleanor Ty is Professor in the Department of English, Wilfrid Laurier University. She works on Asian North American Literature and Film and on Eighteenth Century British Literature.