“[T]he subtle but powerful cement of a patriotic literature”: English-Canadian Literary Anthologies, National Identity, and the Canon

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Title: “[T]he subtle but powerful cement of a patriotic literature”: English-Canadian Literary Anthologies, National Identity, and the Canon
Authors: Hughes, Bonnie K.
Date: 2012
Abstract: The dissertation investigates the correlations among the development of general anthologies of Canadian literature, the Canadian canon, and visions of national identity. While literature anthologies are widely used in university classrooms, the influential role of the anthology in the critical study of literature has been largely overlooked, particularly in Canada. The dissertation begins with an analysis of the stages of development of general anthologies of Canadian literature, demonstrating that there are important links between dominant critical trends and the guiding interests of the various phases of anthology development and that anthologies both reflect and participate in moulding views of the nation and its literature. Focusing then upon five eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Canadian authors, the dissertation traces their treatment in anthologies and analyzes in detail the impact of stages of anthology development upon authors’ inclusion and presentation. The reception of Frances Brooke, John Richardson, William Kirby, Susanna Moodie, and Emily Pauline Johnson over a span of nearly 90 years is examined, and points of inclusion and exclusion are scrutinized to determine links with prevailing critical interests as well as canonical status. These case studies reveal the functions of anthologies, which include recovering overlooked authors, amending past oversights, reflecting new areas of critical inquiry, and preserving the national literary tradition. Their treatment also reveals the effect of larger critical concerns, such as alignment with dominant visions of the nation, considerations of genre, and reassessments of past views. The dissertation shows that the anthology is a carefully constructed, culturally valuable work that plays an important role in literary criticism and canon formation and is a genre worthy of careful scrutiny.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/22760
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5648
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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