Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Montreal-Glasgow

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Montreal-Glasgow

Article excerpt

Bill Marshall (ed.), Montreal-Glasgow (University of Glasgow: French and German Publications, 2005), xiv + 262pp. Paper. £15. ISBN 0-8526-1810-7.

It was an inspired idea to ask Greg Hemphill, a well known comedian born in Glasgow but brought up partly in Montreal, to write the foreword to this book. His informal yet reflective memoir raises many of the issues about migration, home, hybridity and transatlantic exchange which inform the eighteen succeeding essays. In the introduction, Bill Marshall notes the frequency of comparisons between Scotland and Quebec, but then questions this analogy, firstly because of crucial cultural and political differences, and secondly, because comparisons between Scotland and Canada are, from some angles, more valid. He adds: 'It seems more fruitful therefore to look at the two countries' anomalous metropolises' (p. xii). This fresh and effective approach is based on the proposition that both cities disrupt the 'national or nationalist discourses which form their wider cultural and political context ... because of their challengingly anomalous identity positions, for Glasgow the dominant discourse of class, for Montreal the multicultural and bilingual reality' (pp. xii-xiii).

Montreal-Glasgow derives from material presented at a 2003 conference at Glasgow University. Its sections on Architecture; History; Literature; Theatre, Film and Television; and Exchanges each contain essays in both French and English. The standard is by no means uniform; several pieces are highly accomplished and engaging, but a few are rather basic, and two are very badly written. …

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