By W. H. New (auth.)
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Additional info for A History of Canadian Literature
The terminus date 1867 illustrates the distinction; it is a year not of great publications but of political Confederation- an event which would not immediately transform literature but which would entirely change the political context within which colonial and subsequently Canadian writers wrote. Before 1867 there was no Canadian nation. There were outposts and colonies instead, and the distance of these places and the people in them from the centres of empire to which they felt connected left its mark upon their writing.
Similarly, 'Un canadien errant' came to embody the continuing resistance in Quebec to the surrounding English culture. Because of the deeply-felt equation between culture and place, 'exile' represented an extraordinary alienation, felt as communal rather than just as individual suffering. By the nineteenth century the persistent declarations of exile were more and more frequently coupled with assertions of rootedness or commitments to the new home. Behind them, however, lay a long line of songs and reportorial narratives that acknowledge and even claim the New World but leave their political and emotional commitments elsewhere.
The fifteenth-century development of the printing press, together with the first European voyages of discovery, resulted in numerous woodblock and copperplate maps; by the early sixteenth century these were still as governed by myth as by knowledge, and are now more informative for what the ornamentation and political presumptions tell than for their cartography. Columbus ( 1451-1506) apparently accepted stories that people on some islands were born with tails (this apocryphal story turns up again in the later sixteenth century, when the Recollet missionary Father Louis Hennepin ( 1626--c.
A History of Canadian Literature by W. H. New (auth.)