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The Cambridge Companion to Canadian Literature

Kröller, Eva-Marie
Publisher:  Cambridge, Canada
Year Published:  2004  
Pages:  296pp   ISBN:  0-521-89131-0

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This is one of a huge, long series in the Cambridge Companion to Literature sets. All of the books specialize in thematic essays with indexes rather than in the handbook style used by the companions produced at the "other" British academic publisher. This book - a first edition -- becomes a readable introduction to the major writers, genres, and topics in CanLit.

Here are broad surveys of fiction, drama, and poetry, Aboriginal writings, Francophone writings, autobiography, literary criticism, writing by women, urban writing, nature writing, travel writing, and short fiction. There are 12 named contributors, including the editor (she's at UBC); most of them are academics teaching in Canada, while others teach in the UK, Australia, and USA. There are copious endnotes and a concluding bibliography. The index is mostly to personal names.

Audience or interest level: libraries, scholars, students, writers.

Some interesting facts: "A long-time British observer of the Booker Prize concluded that the Canadians' success was not so much a national achievement as it was part and parcel of the Commonwealth's triumph over British metropolitan culture".

What I don't like about this resource: as with most of the series, it is only a brief overview.

What I do like about this resource: there is a chronology and a timeline.

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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