The Routledge Concise History of Canadian Literature

The Routledge Concise History of Canadian Literature

The Routledge Concise History of Canadian Literature

The Routledge Concise History of Canadian Literature


The Routledge Concise History of Canadian Literatureintroduces the fiction, poetry and drama of Canada in its historical, political and cultural contexts.

In this clear and structured volume, Richard Lane outlines:

  • the history of Canadian literature from colonial times to the present
  • key texts for Canadian First Peoples and the literature of Quebec
  • the impact of English translation, and the Canadian immigrant experience
  • critical themes such as landscape, ethnicity, orality, textuality, war and nationhood
  • contemporary debate on the canon, feminism, postcoloniality, queer theory, and cultural and ethnic diversity
  • the work of canonical and lesser-known writers from Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie to Robert Service, Maria Campbell and Douglas Coupland.

Written in an engaging and accessible style and offering a glossary, maps and further reading sections, this guidebook is a crucial resource for students working in the field of Canadian Literature.


This is a concise history of Canadian literature in English and in English translation, meaning that many authors have necessarily been left out due to space restrictions. I have attempted to give a sketch of some of the main authors, movements and literary trends in Canada, as well as foregrounding some of the shifts in literary critical understanding that have led to a reassessment of issues such as gender and race, or literary production under colonialism. Longer, more comprehensive Canadian literary histories are listed at the end of this book in the Guide to further reading, in the section called Literary histories and encyclopaedias. The purpose of this book is to (hopefully) serve as an accessible introduction to the topic, with chapters that can stand alone (therefore there is some necessary overlap between chapters). Where possible, I have quoted critics who have offered significant new readings of Canadian literature – for example, some of the new ideas concerning Canadian modernism. Sources are deliberately made visible throughout the text, and I encourage students to read the primary texts and to turn to some of the excellent thought-provoking criticism listed in the bibliographies to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the literature covered. More difficult literary critical terms are defined in the glossary at the end of the text. Errors herein contained are all mine, and I hope that critical corrections might work their way into a future edition of this book.

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