2010: Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature

Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature

May 7-9, 2010.

Marking the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Lorraine McMullen’s Re(dis)covering Our Foremothers (1990), a volume of essays based on an earlier University of Ottawa symposium, the 2010 “Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature” aimed to reassess the literary culture of early Canada and related scholarly achievements. Featured keynote speakers were D.M.R. Bentley, Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario, Carole Gerson, Professor of English at Simon Fraser University, and Charlotte Gray, historian and biographer.

Full programme available here and below.

PROGRAMME
Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature

Friday, May 7
9:00 Welcome and Registration with coffee and muffins
English Department Lounge, 3 rd floor of Arts
10:00 Keynote Address (SMD 125) Carole Gerson, “ReBeginning Early Canadian Literature”
11:00-12:00 The Eaton Sisters (SMD 125)

Mary Chapman, “Recovering Edith Eaton: Prolific Transnational Writer”

Linda Quirk, “Re(dis)covering the Eaton Sisters: Locating Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna in Canadian Literary History”

11:00 – 12:00 Irish Influences (ART 509)

Angela Deziel, “The Irish Anna Jameson”

Pat Life, “The Forgotten Fenian: Recovering the Irish Confederation Poet James McCarroll”

11:00 – 12:00 Catharine Parr Traill and the Domestic Arts (ART 318)

Fiona Lucas, “Reconceptualizing Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide of 1854”

Nathalie Cooke, “Cooks and Crusaders: Reconceptualizing Catharine Parr Traill”

12:15 – 1:00 Light catered lunch in Glenn Clever Room, 3 rd floor of Arts
1:00 – 2:30 Susanna Moodie and Anti-Slavery(SMD 125)

Michael Peterman, “Why Ashton Warner Matters: Susanna Strickland, Thomas Pringle and Their Forgotten Subject”

Molly Blyth, “‘Am I not a Woman and a Sister’: Susanna Strickland, Mary Prince and British Women’s Anti-Slavery Activism in the Early 19th Century.”

Sandra Campbell, “Susanna Moodie’s Two Slave Narratives in Relation to Roughing It and ”Richard Redpath”

1:00 – 2:30 Textual Scholarship (ART 509)

Mary Jane Edwards, “Texts and Contexts: CEECT’s Scholarly Editions and Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature”

Eli MacLaren, “Ginx’s Baby: A Bibliography”

2:45 – 4:15 Rediscovering Foremothers (SMD 125)

Cecily Devereux, “Keep the File Open: Rediscovering Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Writers”

Wanda Campbell, “Des dames de temps jadis: Where are they now?”

2:45 – 4:15 Literary Periodicals (ART 509)

Suzanne Bowness, “In their own words: Tracing Editorial Mandates through the Prefaces of 19th-c. Canadian Magazines”

Ceilidh Hart, “Hallowed Spaces/Public Places: Women’s Literary Voices and The Acadian Recorder

Geordan Patterson, “Promoting the Possibilities of Periodical Research: Early Canadian Periodicals in their International Context”

2:45 – 4:15 Colonial Representation and Self-Representation (ART 318)

Albert Braz, “The Duelling Authors: Agnes Laut’s Curious Denigration of Pierre Falcon”

Phanuel Antwi, “Richardson’s Sambo: Theorizing Early Canadian Black Masculinity”

Jennifer Blair, “Reading The Memoirs of Boston King as Conversion Narrative”

7:00 Keynote Address

Charlotte Gray, “Beating About the Bush” (ART 026)

8:00 Wine and Cheese Reception in Arts foyer, main floor
Saturday, May 8
9:00 – 10:30 Questions of Canonicity and Recovery (ART 509)

Jennifer Chambers, “Who’s in and Who’s Out: Recovering Minor Authors and the Pesky Question of Critical Evaluation”

Heather Jones, “ Extra-canonicity: Recovery, Power, and the Resistant Text”

9:00 – 10:30 Traditions and Contexts (SMD 125)

Peter Dixon, “ Caliban in the Heart of the Ancient Wood:  Charles Roberts and 19th-century Evolutionary Discourse in Canada”

Thomas Hodd, “Strange Beginnings: the Nation and the Supernatural in Early Canadian Literature”

Susan Warwick, “Thomas Stinson Jarvis’s Geoffrey Hampstead and Late Nineteenth-Century Popular Canadian Crime Fiction”

10:45 – 11:45 Keynote Presentation (ART 026)

D.M.R. Bentley, “Reflections on the Situation and Study of Early Canadian Literature in the Long Confederation Period”

12:00 – 1:00 Buffet Lunch at the University Centre
1:15 – 2:45 The Literary Marketplace (SMD 125)

Gwendolyn Davies, “John Howe: Loyalist Printer as Literary Catalyst, a Halifax Case Study”

Jennifer Scott, “Recuperating Colonizers: Male Collaboration and Fraser’s Town and Country Magazine in Upper Canada

Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr, “A History of Ryerson Press: From Religious House to Publisher of Canadian literature.”

1:15 – 2:45 Literary Detective Work (ART 509)

Mary Lu MacDonald, “Anonymity”

Gwendolyn Guth, “The ‘Still Life’ of Criticism: Letters from Daniel Fowler to Louisa Murray, 1866-1894”

Andrea Cabajsky, “Reading Historical Novels at Four Confederation-Period Montreal Libraries”

3:00 – 4:30 Rediscovering Catharine Parr Traill (ART 509)

Sarah Krotz, “Looking at Catharine Parr Traill’s Botanical Writings: Why Natural History Matters”

Angeline O’Neill, “The politics of colonial motherhood: Charlotte Barton’s A Mother’s Offering to Her Children and Catharine Parr Traill’s Canadian Crusoes”

3:00 – 4:45 Colonial Rhetorics (SMD 125)

Brian Johnson, “A Canadian Caliban in King Arthur’s Court: Incest and Empire in William Wilfred Campbell’s Mordred

Jennifer Henderson, “Colonial Conjugality in Susan Frances Harrison”

Laura Moss, “Eclectic Detachment: Selling Diversity in Nineteenth-Century Emigration Narratives”

3:00 – 4:45 Women Playwrights Panel (ART 318)

”Deviants, Little Patriots, and Silent Women“: Panel presentation by Kym Bird, Emmanuelle Fick, Naomi Moses, Sarah Phillips, Rachel Van Harten, and Caley Venn

6:00 Dinner at The Empire Grill, 47 Clarence Street, the Market
Sunday, May 9
11:00 – 12:30 Aboriginal Authors (ART 509)

Cheryl Cundell, “Exploring Europe: George Copway’s Grand Tour”

Dean Irvine, “Aboriginal Modernity and Modernist Indigeneity in Canada”

Linda Morra, “Pauline Johnson’s ‘Spectacular Confession’: A Re-examination of “A Cry From an Indian Wife”

11:00 – 12:30 Resurrecting Neglected Texts (ART 318)

Karyn Huenemann, “ The Path of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s Star: A Critical Reappraisal”

Paul Chafe, “What do you mean ‘only’? A Case for Anastasia English’s Only a Fisherman’s Daughter

Christa Zeller Thomas, “Elsewhere in India: Strangeness of Topography and Identity in Sara Jeanette Duncan’s The Crow’s-Nest”

12: 30 – 1:15 Light catered lunch in Glenn Clever Room, 3 rd floor of Arts
1:15 – 2:45 Alternative Narratives (ART 509)

Brooke Pratt and Erica Kelly, “Teaching Early Canadian Literature: Malcolm’s Katie in the Contemporary Classroom”

Kathleen Venema, “Innocent as a loon: Alternative Narratives in Alexander Henry’s Travels and Adventures

I.S. MacLaren, “The Nationalization of Citizen Kane”

1:15 – 2:45 Reassessing the Popular (ART 318)

Kathleen Patchell, “Rhetorical Strategies in Nellie McClung’s Sowing Seeds in Danny

Wendy Roy, “Sentiment, Didacticism, and Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Canadian Fiction”

Joel Baetz, “Marching Men, Marching Women: Helena Coleman’s Great War Poetry”

3:00 – 4:30 Confederation-era Poets (ART 509)

Carrie MacMillan, “Dreaming Backward: The Life and Writing of Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald”

Tracy Ware, “Roberts, Lampman, and the Recovery of the Sonnet”

Steven Artelle, “New Lampman, Old Flame: A Case for Biography”

3:00 – 4:30 Canadian Satire (ART 318)

Cynthia Sugars, “Judging by Appearances: Thomas Chandler Haliburton and the Ontology of Early Canadian Spirits”

Duncan McFarlane, “T.C. Haliburton and the Fate of Satirists”

Nick Milne, “A New Heaven and a New Earth: Leacock’s Apocalyptic Sequel to Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

ABSTRACTS OF KEYNOTE SPEAKERS and INVITED PRESENTERS

Phanuel Antwi, “Richardson’s Sambo: Theorizing Early Canadian Black Masculinity”

What is left to be said about John Richardson’s Wacousta: or, The Prophecy; A Tale of the Canadas? (1832). Many critics have selected this text as illustrative of the Canadian consciousness (Dickenson; Frye; Goldie; Hurley; Mathews; McGregor), often reading the novel as a gothic text preoccupied with the struggle between wilderness and civilization, whether successful or unsuccessful. The very polarity is often perceived to be at the heart of early Canadian national identity (Walden). But what if we direct attention to a different struggle in this text, to the racially charged bond between Sir Everard Valletort and “his black servant, Sambo” (36)? Moving in this new direction, I examine how a focus on black masculinity in Wacousta offers insights into a neglected facet of the Canadian historical consciousness.

Steven Artelle, “New Lampman, Old Flame: A Case for Biography”

This paper will describe the trajectory of biographical writing on Archibald Lampman, beginning with Duncan Campbell Scott’s essay in the March 1890 Dominion Illustrated, through the biographical summaries now widely available via the internet. The paper will then make a case for the importance of renewed biographical study through an analysis of the first major collection of Lampman manuscript material to emerge since the early 1970s: a formerly unknown scrapbook of Lampman’s poetry and other memorabilia, presented to and preserved by his Post Office Department co-worker Katherine Waddell. This remarkable discovery sheds new light, I argue, on a relationship that has remained one of Canadian literature’s persistent points of interest, and should revitalize attention to archival and biographical study as we approach the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lampman and other members of the Confederation Group of poets.

Joel Baetz, “Marching Men, Marching Women: Helena Coleman’s Great War Poetry”

This paper will explore the ways in which Helena Coleman’s war poetry in Marching Men (1917) adopts and challenges the dominant ideas about and images of women during the war. This much-celebrated collection offers a nuanced and ambivalent rendition of womanly compliance and self-assertion. Even as the poetry recognizes the image of the reluctant, terrified, and grief-stricken woman (a figure reviled and mocked by reporters, politicians, and military officials), it challenges that stereotype in two distinct ways: by offering the image of the domestic female soldier; and by presenting the keen-eyed mother figure, who observes the reluctance, frustration, and debilitations of men.

Kym Bird, Emmanuelle Fick, Naomi Moses, Sarah Phillips, Rachel Van Harten, and Caley Venn, “Deviants, Little Patriots, and Silent Women”

Despite a flowering of women’s dramatic activity at the turn of the twentieth century in Canada, this rich body of writing remains understudied and undervalued. This panel takes as its subject some little known Canadian women’s dramatic works, offering an overview of the project of recuperation and focusing on the subjects and contexts of individual playwrights.

Jennifer Blair, Reading The Memoirs of Boston King as Conversion Narrative

This paper will address The Memoirs of Boston King’s representations of conversion, comparing the textualized accounts of both King’s and his wife’s conversions to the conversion narratives of other Nova Scotia Black Loyalists, and also to key conversion and post-conversion instances of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. I will argue that the Memoirs’ unique protraction of the conversion experience expresses King’s ambivalent relationship with embodiment, commodification, and the notion of free will, and as such keeps with the tradition of the African-transatlantic spiritual autobiography.

Molly Blyth, “‘Am I not a Woman and a Sister?’: Susanna Strickland, Mary Prince and British Women’s Anti-Slavery Activism in the Early 19th Century”

The History of Mary Prince, a slave narrative transcribed by Susanna Strickland (Moodie), acted as a powerful political instrument in the British anti- slavery campaign of the 1830s. The critical response to two late 20th century editions of the narrative has produced an interesting controversy, for the most part centering on the agency of the former slave Mary Prince. Instead of understanding either Prince’s voice as ‘authentic’ or Strickland’s role as censor of that voice, my paper argues that Prince and Strickland collaborated as “women and sisters” in the anti-slavery campaign, both understanding the enormous political potential of their project.

Sue Bowness, “In their own words: Tracing Editorial Mandates through the Prefaces of 19th-c. Canadian Magazines”

In boldly articulating their earnest hopes and dreams for their periodical publications, nineteenth century magazine editors used their inaugural editorial preface to establish moral mandates, woo readers and contributors, and articulate a link between their own publishing efforts and the creation of an indigenous literature. My paper uses illustrative examples to trace the evolution and continuities that emerge over the decades of the nineteenth century as editors expressed their intentions and publishing priorities within this editorial space. By tracing overt themes such as nationalism, literary advocacy, social progress, and anti-Americanism, this paper will argue that the prefaces are important indicators of the editorial drive behind the development of these magazines as a forum for nationalist intellectual and literary expression. A rich store of such material sits neglected in archives across the country, and deserves to be more thoroughly mined.

Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr, “A History of the Ryerson Press: From Religious House to Publisher of Canadian Literature”

The Ryerson Press was the first Canadian book publisher, founded in 1829 by Egerton Ryerson. A history of the press represents, to a major extent, the history of Canadian publishing itself, from its tentative beginnings through a period of great nationalism, before finally falling victim to changing market forces and foreign ownership. This paper centres on the publisher’s shift, under William Briggs in the late 1800s, from religious house to literary house – a house that was committed to Canadian literature, even that most secular of Canadian writers, Robert W. Service. The shift marked a crucial turning point in Ryerson’s history, increasing both its public influence and, ultimately, its economic vulnerability in the decades that followed.

Albert Braz, “The Duelling Authors: Agnes Laut’s Curious Denigration of Pierre Falcon”

One of the most curious aspects of Agnes Laut’s Lords of the North is its treatment of Pierre Falcon. The 1900 historical novel has become pivotal in the memorialization of the Métis bard, being the best known source of several of his poems. For Laut, Falcon clearly symbolizes all the primitive elements that must give way to the enlightened pioneers who will transform the West into a multicultural paradise that “ever ruthlessly strips reality naked of creed and prejudice and caste,” and which is ruled by a single principle, “merit.” Lords of the North is built on the binary of savagery versus civilization. However, given that the crucial difference between Grant and Falcon is that the former is part-Scottish and the latter is part-French, in my paper I will argue that, in Laut’s novel, savagery is not exclusively a New World characteristic.

Andrea Cabajsky, “Reading Historical Novels in English and French at Four Confederation-Period Montreal Libraries”

In the last two decades, international theories concerning the rise of the novel have sufficiently changed to warrant a fundamental reconsideration of novelistic development in early Canada. To date, my research has compared and contrasted aesthetic patterns in novelistic treatments of history in English and French Canada. My current research builds on this previous work by examining the role that extra-literary factors played in creating a demand for the kinds of historical novels authors wrote. In this paper, I will examine library catalogues and borrowers’ records from four Confederation-period Montreal libraries. I will argue that analysis of these documents can help shed light on the aesthetic and ideological choices writers made when shaping their novels to meet readers’ perceived needs.

Sandra Campbell, “Gender, Race, and Class in Susanna Moodie’s Two Slave Narratives and their Relationship to Roughing It in the Bush and ‘Richard Redpath’”

Susanna Moodie is a highly canonical Canadian writer, yet much about her work deserves fuller study. One aspect that merits more attention is the relationship between her two early slave narratives and her later life and work, including her masterpiece, Roughing It in the Bush (1852). The paper will examine Moodie’s two 1831 slave narratives, The History of Mary Prince and Negro Slavery Described by A Negro: Being the Narrative of Ashton Warner.., the latter describing a male slave experience in Saint Vincent and the other a female narrative from Bermuda/Antigua/Turk’s Island. I will look at Moodie’s treatment of her black male and female subjects respectively. The influence of Moodie’s slave narrative writing on her post-emigration life and writings will be analyzed with a focus on Roughing It and her story “Richard Redpath.”

Wanda Campbell, “Des dames de temps jadis: Where are they now?”

Exploring the critical reception of nine of the early Canadian female poets represented in Hidden Rooms (Canadian Poetry Press, 2000) in the decade since the anthology was published will allow conclusions to be drawn regarding key questions of this conference, particularly regarding the relationship between critical fashion and research attention. The recent scholarship on these women will be surveyed through their presence in academic journal articles and monographs, in graduate and post graduate theses, and in anthologies, while considering the influence of gender, genre, and extra-literary factors. To explore the current whereabouts of “the dead ladies” is to be led back to their living words.

Paul Chafe, “What do you mean, ‘Only?’: A Case for Anastasia English’s Only a Fisherman’s Daughter

It cannot be overstated the profound cultural leap that was the publication of Anastasia English’s Only a Fisherman’s Daughter in 1899. The apparent paradox of a novelist from an overwhelmingly oral Newfoundland culture is enigma enough to warrant investigation but the novel itself, resembling in many ways so much of the fiction being produced in Canada at the time, provides ample opportunities for new and challenging readings of Canada and Canadian literature. The striking similarities between English’s novel and the “New Woman” novels being produced in Canada, as well as several parallels between it and that other island-based coming-of-age romance, Anne of Green Gables, is offset by the profound differences created by setting the novel in Newfoundland, a terrain hardly written about at the time of the novel’s publication. It is hoped that this paper will demonstrate the cultural and historical significance of Only a Fisherman’s Daughter and the benefits of studying a novel that captures a part of Canada before it was part of Canada.

Jennifer Chambers, “Who’s In and Who’s Out: Recovering Minor Authors and the Pesky Question of Critical Evaluation”

Ever since Northrop Frye wrote against the critical evaluation of early Canadian texts and in favour of cultural history in his “Conclusion” to the Literary History of Canada (1965), scholars of early Canadian literature have been left without a compass in assessing the works of early writers. While some writers have enjoyed an “effective” recovery (L.M. Montgomery, Sara Jeannette Duncan, Isabella Valancy Crawford), others, despite scholars’ best efforts, have been relegated into the realm of—or have been unable to be elevated beyond the categorization of––the “minor” writer. Using Susan Frances Harrison as a case study, this paper examines the minor writer, both the necessity and the problems with the category, and the scholarly desire to continue with innovative recovery efforts.

Mary Chapman, “Recovering Edith Eaton: Prolific Transnational Writer”

I will trace the steps by which I began to recover unknown works by Edith Eaton and to share some of my most startling discoveries. My sense is that Eaton’s expanded oeuvre signals a rich connection between what Aihwa Ong terms “flexible citizenship” –one’s national, biological and racial identifications–and what I am terming “flexible authorship”: Like the late-20th century multi-displaced subjects Ong examines, Eaton was always in transit, seeking self-sufficiency through her writing in whatever fora would pay for her work. She was, contrary to the critical commonplace, as eager to be a commercial success as her sister Winnifred. She responded fluidly and opportunistically to changing political and economic conditions as the expansion of North America’s print cultural markets offered women writers in particular the possibility of self-sufficiency at the same time that they often dictated the terms of publication.

Nathalie Cooke, “Cooks and Crusaders: Reconceptualizing Catharine Parr Traill”

While Fiona Lucas makes the case for our return to and reconceptualization of the domestic writing of Catharine Parr Traill, this complementary paper urges us to reconceptualize the role of Catharine Parr Traill herself. Specifically, it looks at Traill together with Adelaide Hoodless, as two authority figures that can be seen to embody the dominant virtues of the Consolidation Period of Canadian culinary history, one that privileged the timely over the timeless, modernity over nostalgia. In this way, it not only reconfigures Traill as a culinary rather than a specifically literary figure, but it also offers new ways to understand the dramatic rise and fall of popularity Traill and her work have experienced over time in Canada.

Cheryl Cundell, “Exploring Europe: George Copway’s Grand Tour”

Because English-Canadian literary histories have tended to cast British exploration writing as the origin of the national literature, early Aboriginal print productions in English have been neglected. One important case in point is George Copway, whose Running sketches of men and places, in England, France, Germany, Belgium, and Scotland (1851) describes his European travels. Touring as an insider ethnographer rather than an ethnographic specimen, and offering evidence of the curiosity that he excites, Copway is well aware that he must negotiate his position, as an Ojibwa travelling in Europe, for the “paleface” (Copway v) reader for whom he writes. His text is a fascinating example of an alternative origin of Canadian literature.

Gwendolyn Davies, “John Howe: Loyalist Printer As Literary Catalyst: A Halifax Case Study”

As approximately 35,000 Loyalist refugees moved to the east coast of British North America at the conclusion of the American Revolution, the Loyalist printers amongst them assumed positions of influence over the liminal literary and cultural directions of the new society by the very nature of their profession. By focusing on John Howe of Halifax as a case study, this paper will explore the role of Loyalist printers not only as agents of literary and cultural transfer but also as catalysts in creating a literary sensibility upon which an indigenous literature could develop. In doing so, the paper will address the conference themes of “publishing practices, cultural trends, and social texts of early Canada”.

Cecily Devereux, “Keep the File Open: Rediscovering Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Writers Twenty Years Later”

In the twenty years since the publication of Lorraine McMullen’s Re(Dis)covering Our Foremothers: Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Writers, the work she identified in 1990 as having “only begun” (1) has certainly continued. We are still rediscovering early Canadian women writers, if no longer recuperating them, in second-wave parlance, into a canon. Indeed, we are rediscovering them now without knowing precisely where, amidst the ruins of the canon, to put them. The work has not become easier, as we might have imagined: it remains a challenge to find these lost women and to situate them in the field of Canadian literary history. This paper returns to McMullen’s important collection and traces the two decades that follow it of “re(dis)covering” women writers in Canada, looking at the scholarly research of this post-1990 period, and considering its implications for the representation of early Canadian writing, for feminist scholarship, and for the society we still believe such work both produces and affirms.

Angela Deziel, “The Irish Anna Jameson”

Despite Anna Brownell Jameson’s extensive and consistent interest in Irish politics, society, and culture, interpreters of Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838) continue to dismiss the importance of her Irish heritage. An examination of Winter Studies, however, reveals that Jameson had a remarkable affinity for Ireland, as well as a fidelity and pride for its people, whom she repeatedly depicts as respectable, courageous, intelligent, industrious, and adaptable. The motivations underlying Jameson’s positive depiction of Irish-Canadians, the intended effect it was to have on readers, and the notion that a newly politicized, Irish-nationalist Jameson was born of her experiences in Canada will be explored.

Peter Dixon, “Caliban in the Heart of the Ancient Wood: Charles Roberts and 19th-century Evolutionary Discourse in Canada”

The effect that the evolutionary debates sparked by Charles Darwin’s publication of the Origin of Species in 1869 had on both the intellectual discourses and literary creations of late 19th-century Canada has been little examined to date. Charles G.D. Roberts may be one of the most active participants in Darwinist discourse of his day as can be understood through close examination of his early novel, The Heart of the Ancient Wood. In fact, his efforts to problematize this discourse through literary means reveal a surprisingly modern sensibility, comparable to recent critical stances against anthropocentrism and social Darwinism.

Mary Jane Edwards, “Texts and Contexts: CEECT’s Scholarly Editions and Rediscovering Early Canadian Literature”

The Centre for Editing Early Canadian Texts was founded to prepare scholarly editions of major works of early English-Canadian prose. Thirteen of these editions have been published, and a fourteenth is almost ready for the press. I have been the general editor for the series, and I have edited two novels included in it. Drawing on these experiences, I shall present some of my conclusions about the contributions of CEECT to scholarly editing and to the rediscovery of early Canadian literature, and I shall consider some of the challenges that still face those who study English-Canadian culture.

Gwendolyn Guth, “The ‘Still Life’ of Criticism”: Letters from Daniel Fowler to Louisa Murray, 1866-1894

The extent to which nineteenth-century Canadian authors were supported and challenged by friendships with other artists remains an under-researched aspect of Canadian literary history. The epistolary relationship between painter Daniel Fowler and writer Louisa Murray, extant in nineteen letters and spanning twenty-eight years, provides valuable insight into the reading and writing practices of two little-known but accomplished 19th-century artists. The letters present a frank and lively engagement with a wide range of topics appearing in contemporary periodicals and in the fiction and non-fiction of England, the United States, and Canada. They also detail the quotidian realities of being well-read in Ontario’s 19th century, including the practice of mailing reading materials back and forth over long distances in order to share them. In detailing this case study of cultural influence and friendship, I hope to highlight the importance of archival research into letters and other personal materials pertaining to Canadian literary history.

Ceilidh Hart, “Hallowed Spaces/Public Places: Women’s Literary Voices and The Acadian Recorder

This paper examines the literature published by women in the Halifax newspaper The Acadian Recorder in the 1860s in order to interrogate the tension between the often private space of women writers’ literary focus and the very public space of the newspaper in which they published their work. I argue that through their use of a sentimental aesthetic that glorifies the home as hallowed space and privileges women as the regulators of that space, women writers ironically found a way to extend themselves into contemporary politics and carve a space for themselves in the public, literary world.

Jennifer Henderson, “Colonial Conjugality in Susan Frances Harrison”

This paper examines conflicts between different models of marriage in a story from Susan Frances Harrison’s 1886 collection, Crowded Out and Other Stories. “How the Mr. Foxleys Came, Stayed, and Never Went Away” uses colonial Canada as the setting for the unsettling of codes of courtship and alliance, ostensibly suggesting that the erosion of social distinctions in the New World requires a reformation of desires. However, the playing-out of a new model of felicitous, companionate attachment is highly ambivalent, and the story’s melodramatic and gothic turn implicitly rejects this emerging, normative model of conjugality.

Thomas Hodd, “Strange Beginnings: the Nation and the Supernatural in Early Canadian Literature”

In 1833, Catharine Parr Traill famously declared that “[Canada] is too matter-of-fact a country for…supernaturals to visit.” Yet Canadian literature has been historically inhabited by all sorts of supernatural figures, from the presence of spirits in Aboriginal myths and the record of mysterious sightings in New France, to colonial stories of the uncanny and a host of weird fictions at the end of the nineteenth century. This paper seeks to demonstrate that far from being exceptions to the Canadian canon, a spectrum of narratives over the last two hundred years form the basis for what one might call the Canadian Supernatural.

Karyn Huenemann, “The Path of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s Star: A Critical Reappraisal”

Sara Jeannette Duncan wrote The Path of a Star while living in India, a country providing the romance and exoticism that British readers expected to flow onto their library shelves from the far reaches of Empire. In The Path of a Star, however, Duncan does not fulfil such expectations, but rather delivers a story of human experiences, of the ideological and moral questions her characters grapple with. While the Indian setting informs characters’ attitudes, this is not primarily a novel of place. Rather, The Path of a Star reflects tensions developing in fin-de-siècle Britain: the struggle for political power between London and the colonial capitals; and emerging doubts regarding the righteousness of the imperial endeavour; as well as the artistic relationship between realism and idealism; the role of the artist in society; and the embryonic power of women in the political, social, and artistic realms. I am currently preparing a critical edition of The Path of a Star, and will focus in this paper on the ways that this novel remains of contemporary relevance despite its historical situadedness.

Dean Irvine, “Aboriginal Modernity and Modernist Indigeneity in Canada”

The discourses of primitivism and modernity that circulates in the literature of Canada’s west coast at the turn of the century—set in the littoral spaces of empire and staged at the encounter between colonial and aboriginal communities—inform the constellation of “antimodern modernism” as an aesthetic and ideology. I will contend that constructions of modernist indigeneity oscillate in a dialectic between the modern and the primitive, such that aboriginal peoples, their cultures, and their art become objects of fetishization and commodification in the practice of non-native primitivist aesthetics.

Brian Johnson, “A Canadian Caliban in King Arthur’s Court: Incest and Empire in William Wilfred Campbell’s Mordred”

Reading William Wilfred Campbell’s neglected drama Mordred, I hope to demonstrate that it is neither a derivative work of colonial imitation nor a straightforward example of national allegory. Rather, it is an ideologically conflicted work whose displacements and disavowals express late-nineteenth-century Canadian Imperialism’s “political unconscious”; as such it provides a suggestive model for how we might reread other instances of the Canadian “medieval revival.”

Heather Jones, “Extra-canonicity: Recover, Power, and the Resistant Text”

This paper surveys the critical history and current critical status of Charles Heavysege’s verse drama, Saul, often claimed to be an “unrecoverable” work, as exemplary of the conservatism of the literary methodology dominating early Canadian literature. Yet it can be made to signify within its own time and today through an approach that makes use of works as diverse as Danielle Hervieu-Leger’s Religion as a Chain of Memory, Michael Gauvreau’s The Evangelical Century, and Michel Foucault’s articles on religion and culture, which have politicized literary scholars’ understanding of historical method. Such a cultural analysis suggests, I argue, that pre-1918 Canadian literature must be considered from the perspective not of a single, linear past but of multiple, simultaneous pasts.

Erica Kelly and Brooke Pratt, “Teaching Early Canadian Literature: Malcolm’s Katie in the Contemporary Classroom”

As two Canadian literature scholars and teachers, we believe that early Canadian literature—too often framed as little more than a mandatory (but otherwise uninspiring) component of Canadian literary history—has more than a chronological role to play in our students’ understandings. We aim to enact this belief by collaboratively treating Isabella Valancy Crawford’s Malcolm’s Katie as a work that continues to yield exciting interpretive potential and that offers a framework for reading early and later Canadian literature in conversation. Erica Kelly will argue that, while the dramas of relationship tie the narrative together, Malcolm’s Katie is much more than a love triangle. Crawford’s poem presents a story about the uses of wealth: of the opportunities Canada affords as a refuge from poverty, the privileges the land awards to all those who will work for them, and the future potential for real prosperity in a Canadian nation. Brooke Pratt will examine Crawford’s treatment of the image and idea of the “ruin” as it pertains to nationhood and national identity. Max’s vision of a prosperous future is based largely on his ability to subdue the Canadian environment, a process that receives a darkly ambiguous treatment by Crawford.

Sarah Krotz, “Looking at Catharine Parr Traill’s Botanical Writings: Why Natural History Matters”

This paper explores natural history as an expression of habitation and imaginative engagement with land in early Canada. Drawing primarily on the work of Catharine Parr Traill, but gesturing also to the wider culture of natural history in the settlement period, it discusses the genre as part of an imaginative and a territorializing discourse that, even in its sparest form, registers a desire to conceptualize, codify, and map the earth, to grapple with the diversity of its life forms, and to discern its intricate design. An underexamined genre, natural history has much to tell us about the early Canadian geographical imaginary.

Pat Life, “The Forgotten Fenian: Recovering the Irish Confederation Poet James McCarroll”

Since the process of cannon selection is often politically motivated, our perception of 19th- century Canadian literature is marred by gaps where creative writers who should be celebrated are instead missing. James McCarroll was an Irish Protestant who immigrated to Canada in 1831 and became a well-known public figure as a poet, newspaper editor, political satirist, and musical performer. His passion for the cause of Fenianism, however, along with his witty but scathing public criticism of leading politicians and his eventual assumption of residency in the United States, led to his absolute fall from favour amongst 19th century Canadian society. His story provides a useful case study. Why do certain key players disappear from sight while others continue to remain in the public’s favour?

Fiona Lucas, “Reconceptualizing Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide of 1854

This paper reconceptualizes Catherine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide, and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping (1854) as unique within Canadian literature. Distinct from any previous and subsequent Canadian publication, it blends four genres – female emigration manual, backwoods housewifery handbook, kitchen garden text, regional cookbook – into one unique and practical whole. From a rare female perspective, it documents a remarkably detailed and authentic view of the domesticity, material culture and foodways of mid-19th century rural households, and holds the position of first cookbook expressly written for the Canadian context. It is too often disparaged, I maintain, as a mere household manual; its domestic focus is precisely why it deserves reconsideration.

Mary Lu MacDonald, “Anonymity”

The emphasis on authorship in literary studies poses a problem for scholars of early Canadian literature because the majority of literary publications in British North America before the middle of the nineteenth century were anonymous, and most such publications occurred in newspapers and magazines, an ephemeral and obscure source. This paper investigates the social and intellectual conditions that produced anonymity as well as the role played by periodicals in literary dissemination. Why do we continue to apply 21st century criteria to early 19th century Canadian literature when we do not apply them to the literature of other countries in the same time period? I will suggest a new approach to investigating the literary culture of early Canada.

Eli MacLaren, “Ginx’s Baby: A Bibliography”

From its origins, the Canadian book trade thrived on the selling of English literature, but a local publishing industry, requisite for the creation of a national literature, could not well be grafted on to it because of the biases of imperial copyright. Canadian nationalism challenged the imperial copyright order after Confederation, but a pivotal case – the Toronto reprint of John Edward Jenkins’s Ginx’s Baby in 1871 – reinforced it. This paper presents afresh the history of this book, adding some new details, to indicate the structural impediments to the emergence of a national literature in nineteenth-century Canada.

I.S. MacLaren, “The Nationalization of Citizen Kane”

Paul Kane’s fame owes much to his account, Wanderings of an Artist, published in 1859, of having travelled from Toronto to the Pacific Ocean through British territory at a time when English-Canadians cast an expansion-minded eye westward. But Kane’s Canadianness is a deception, foisted on him by expansionists in his lifetime and nationalists subsequently. The irony of this treatment was made manifest in 2006, when two First Nations settled out of court with British Columbia and Canada over a claim to the land occupied by the BC Legislature. Prominent in the agreement to settle out of court was the bizarre contradiction between Kane’s book and his field notes concerning which Indians occupied the land when Kane visited Fort Victoria in early 1847.

Carrie MacMillan, “Dreaming Backward: the Life and Writing of Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald”

Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald was the sister of Charles G.D. Roberts, who is considered the “Father of Canadian Literature.” Despite family expectations that differed from those held for her literary brothers, Roberts MacDonald created a literary identity as a poet. Positive influences on her growth as a writer included her strong mother, who resisted society’s expectations of the clergy wife, her encouraging elder brother, who acted as mentor, and the legacy in 1870s Fredericton of the successful children’s author Juliana Horatia Ewing. Yet the gendered nature of domestic space within the Roberts household and the perception of the daughter as physically frail suggest the traditional social constraints she faced. While the early poetry notebook reveals the hopeful young poet “dreaming forward” to possibility, the second notebook gradually takes the perspective of “dreaming backward” to an imagined place and time as Roberts MacDonald contended with an unhappy marriage, the responsibilities of raising her two sons, and poverty. The trajectory of Roberts MacDonald’s life and writing illustrates the challenges for women of her time to achieve financial security and literary success.

Duncan McFarlane, “T.C. Haliburton and the Fate of Satirists”

In T.C. Haliburton’s lifetime, he was celebrated as not only as the first great Canadian man of letters, but the father of American humour and a new force in English literature; his most laudatory critics argued that he had influenced Dickens rather than the other way around. Since then, he has been attacked as a plagiarist and a racist and condemned to literary ruin. Restoring Haliburton to his former popularity may be impossible, but an act of preservation is worth pursuing. This paper proposes to re-open the debate about Haliburton’s literary sources in the hope of placing him shoulder to shoulder in the pantheon of satirists with Horace, Juvenal, and Samuel Johnson.

Nick Milne, “A New Heaven and a New Earth: Leacock’s Apocalyptic Sequel to Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

In “Mariposa Moves On,” his little-discussed 1943 “sequel” to Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912), Stephen Leacock writes an apocalyptic ending for the town described in Sunshine Sketches as timeless. Far from being the “little town in the sunshine” of the original story cycle’s envoi, Mariposa now has “the evening closing in all around” and must produce its own light. This “sequel” will be examined in light of its supremely late place in Leacock’s career, and also in light of the fact that it has – until now – been the subject of profound critical silence.

Linda Morra, “Pauline Johnson’s ‘Spectacular Confession’: A Re-examination of “‘A Cry from An Indian Wife’”

In Spectacular Confessions, Barbara Green argues that suffragettes employed modes of specularity as a means of fuelling social change. I will demonstrate how poet and performer Pauline Johnson used spectacle as a way of cultivating a relationship between “fashionable femininity” and open protest against exclusive models of citizenship. An integral part of the spectacle was the confessional mode–a seemingly straightforward and “transparent realism”–which Johnson employed via a first-person narrative in “A Cry from an Indian Wife. “In so doing, she allowed for the generality of the experience of being an Indigenous women, while also operating in a singular, autobiographical, and confessional mode, and created an audience for Indigenous women whose material losses had been compounded by their silencing.

Laura Moss, “Eclectic Detachment: Selling Diversity in Nineteenth-Century Emigration Narratives”

In this paper I anachronistically draw on A.J.M Smith’s concept of “eclectic detachment”—particularly his emphasis on the relationship between detachment and attachment—as an integral part of my framework to reconsider nineteenth-century emigration narratives. By worrying the representations of “heterogeneity” in emigration pamphlets, travel accounts, and settler narratives from mid to late century, I rethink Canada as a place of religious and cultural tolerance. My main argument is that multiculturalism was not created in 1971 with the introduction of the Multiculturalism Policy, but indeed diversity has been part of the marketing strategy to sell Canada to selected emigrants (and later immigrants)  for almost 200 years (by governments, by hucksters, and by settlers alike).

Angeline O’Neill, “The politics of colonial motherhood: Charlotte Barton’s A Mother’s Offering to Her Children and Catharine Parr Traill’s Canadian Crusoes”

Catharine Parr Traill’s children’s novel Canadian Crusoes (1850) bears many similarities to the first published Australian children’s book, Charlotte Barton’s A Mother’s Offering to Her Children (1841), written as a dialogue between a mother, Mrs Saville, and her Anglo-Australian children. Mrs Saville’s stories range from gentle geography and botany lessons to graphic accounts of Aboriginal cannibalism and infanticide, all framed by a mother’s firm, guiding hand and the tenets of Christianity. Like Catharine Parr Traill, Barton is concerned to teach young readers about themselves, their environment and the process of nation building. Both texts exemplify the effectiveness of using a mother’s authority via a narrative voice to reinforce the lessons of personal and national identity in a colonial context. As seen in these texts, colonial motherhood is a powerful political tool, a precursor to some of the pervasive characteristics of more recent children’s literature.

Kathleen Patchell, “Rhetorical Strategies in Nellie McClung’s Sowing Seeds in Danny

Nellie McClung’s first novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny, was published in 1908 and became an immediate best-seller, yet by the end of the twentieth century, it had largely vanished from popular and critical attention. Randi Warne argues that McClung’s religion, literary style, and type of feminism came to be seen as old-fashioned and irrelevant because “McClung had lost her voice.” My goal is to recover that “voice,” the rhetorical strategies McClung used that resonated in her time when readers were familiar with the tropes and conventions of Sunday-School fiction, temperance melodrama, and sentimental romance.

Geordan Patterson, “Promoting the Possibilities of Periodical Research: Examining Early Canadian Periodicals in their International Context”

The 2009 ACCUTE panel “Where Would we be without our Supporting Cast?” evinced a recent burgeoning scholarly interest in early Canadian periodicals. My paper discusses the shift from restorative work done on periodicals to this new line of critical inquiry. It attempts to contextualize early Canadian periodical studies within the older and much more theoretically-based international scholarship, and it considers how this older scholarship could enrich the study of early Canadian literature in general. Finally, I explain how the study of early Canadian periodicals could contribute to the international field of periodical studies.

Michael Peterman, “Why Ashton Warner Matters: Susanna Strickland, Thomas Pringle and Their Forgotten Subject”

This paper will examine how Susanna Moodie (née Strickland) came to be involved, through Thomas Pringle, in the writing of Anti-Slavery pamphlets in the late 1820s and early 1830s. Its discussion will be anchored in two important movements in England—Evangelicalism and the Anti-Slavery agenda—exploring Susanna’s engagement with each and examining how they affected her sense of herself as a would-be writer on the edge of literary prominence and fame. Hence, it will be a sort of cultural and personal biography simultaneously even as it places her actions and excitement in a larger cultural context.

Linda Quirk, “Re(dis)covering the Eaton Sisters: Locating Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna in Canadian Literary History”

The writings of Edith (Sui Sin Far) and Winifred (Onoto Watanna) Eaton have been largely overlooked in Canadian scholarship. Like many Canadian authors, the Eaton sisters challenge nationalistic classification systems: they were born in England, grew up in Montreal’s bicultural environment, worked, lived, and published in the United States, and participated in the trans-national literary culture of the turn of the last century. This paper reveals that, despite the divergent paths followed by the sisters, they each have a place in the remarkable group of Canadian women who, in the later decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth, changed the face of authorship in Canada and the shape of Canadian society.

Wendy Roy, “Sentiment, Didacticism, and Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Canadian Fiction”

The hundredth anniversary celebrations for L. M. Montgomery’s 1908 Anne of Green Gables raise questions about the longevity of literary representations of childhood in Canada. While Nellie McClung’s Sowing Seeds in Danny (1908) and Ralph Connor’s Glengarry School Days (1902) also provide pictures of Canadian childhood in the early twentieth century, and were also initially best-sellers for adult readers as well as children, they have since been relegated to obscurity This paper argues that while books by Montgomery, McClung, and Connor are in part sentimental or romantic visions of childhood, the varying uses to which that sentiment and romance are put have helped determine the works’ staying power over the last century. Canadian readers have lost their taste for didactic sentimentalism, in part as a result of Modernist reassessments of early Canadian literary works but also because of broader twentieth-century critiques of the literary sentimental when it is inextricably linked with Christian religious duty or social justice.

Jennifer Scott, “Recuperating Colonizers: Male Collaboration and Fraser’s Town and Country Magazine in Upper Canada”

This paper considers how John Galt, William “Tiger” Dunlop, and Andrew Picken worked collaboratively with Fraser’s Magazine to promote emigration to Canada. Working from both within and without the Upper Canadian landscape, these male authors used their already-established British literary connections and reputations to forge colonial business relationships that forwarded their careers both as authors and as colonizers. Using a feminist model of recuperation and collaboration, I will demonstrate how a consideration of these lately-forgotten authors is necessary in order to create a holistic view of the corporatized, transatlantic nature of the emigration and publishing industries of Upper Canada.

Cynthia Sugars, “Judging by Appearances: Thomas Chandler Haliburton and the Ontology of Early Canadian Spirits”

This paper will consider Thomas Chandler Haliburton’s ambivalent evocation of the Gothic in his 1849 The Old Judge; or Life in a Colony. The book is a compendium, in fictional form, of various folktales and legends of early Nova Scotia, set within a fictional frame as a visiting Englishman travels around the colony to study its people and customs. The book is fascinating for the ways it persistently conjures the Gothic in order to refute it through a process of rationalization. On the one hand, Haliburton uses the Gothic to emphasize the relative maturity of the culture, to demonstrate its stories and “character” rooted in place. On the other hand, Haliburton’s accounts of local attitudes reveal the provincialism of a people still beholden to outmoded forms of superstition (and, indeed, the outmoded literary form of the Gothic itself, which by 1849 was being held up to parody). His use of the Gothic thus solves two contradictory requirements: it attests to the distinctiveness and antiquity of Nova Scotian culture while also enabling Haliburton to critique it for its apparent immaturity and naiveté.

Kathleen Venema, “Innocent as a loon: Alternative Narratives in Alexander Henry’s Travels and Adventures”

This paper reads closely Alexander Henry’s Travels and Adventures in Canada in order to demonstrate how the text regularly engages narrative techniques of gothic fear and by so doing, suppresses the narrative of familial relationship and protection that was available to Henry. Though Travels and Adventures has received little critical attention, its “purple passages” have frequently been reprinted in anthologies of Canadian literature. This paper therefore speculates about how the alternate narrative might have established, for posterity and for Canadian literary history, a very different version of Aboriginal-White relations at the end of the 18th century, and a very different record of the complex structure of extended Aboriginal family relations in northern North America.

Tracy Ware, “Roberts, Lampman, and the Recovery of the Sonnet”

The sonnets of Charles G.D. Roberts and Archibald Lampman are distinctive achievements. Lampman exceeds Roberts in variety and craftsmanship, but the 150 sonnets that he wrote in his brief career cannot be resolved into a consistent position. Roberts wrote sonnets throughout his career, but most of them appear in Songs of the Common Day (1893), a sequence of thirty-seven sonnets that constitutes his most ambitious work. This sequence does express a consistent vision, and Roberts’ differences from Lampman and the current status of their texts raise several important issues.

Susan Warwick, “Criminal Sensations: Thomas Stinson Jarvis’s Geoffrey Hampstead and Late Nineteenth-Century Popular Canadian Crime Fiction”

This paper examines Jarvis’s 1890 crime novel to engage a series of questions about the ways in which the novel of sensation spoke to contemporary anxieties about social and cultural change, particularly those effected by the technological revolutions of the nineteenth century. As a popular Canadian version of the sensation novel, Geoffrey Hampstead deploys the “nervousness” of the novel of sensation to explore questions about the antimonies of modernization and their attendant social disquiets.

Christa Zeller Thomas, “Elsewhere in India: Strangeness of Topography and Identity in Sara Jeanette Duncan’s The Crow’s-Nest”

This paper draws on the concept of “performance” and on Leigh Gilmore’s theorizing of “autobiographics” to complicate existing readings of Sara Jeanette Duncan’s autobiographical The Crow’s-Nest. It argues that this text is a fascinating example of early Canadian women’s autobiography that merits study for its complex and ambiguous construction of female identity, an identity that frequently takes Canada and Canadianness as its frame of reference, even while being transformed by the strangeness of India.