Retired English professor Adrian Fowler is among the contributors in the Cambridge History of Canadian Literature.
Edited by Coral Ann Howells of the University of London and Eva-Marie Kröller of the University of British Columbia, the publication is a complete English-language history of Canadian writing in English and French from its beginnings.
According to the publisher, the multi-authored volume discusses “established genres such as fiction, drama and poetry…alongside forms of writing which have traditionally received less attention, such as the essay, nature-writing, life-writing, journalism, and comics, and also writing in which the conventional separation between genres has broken down, such as the poetic novel.”
Dr. Fowler’s contribution is a chapter titled E.J. Pratt and the McGill Poets. The chapter reviews the development of modernism in Canadian poetry during the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s as the legacy of the so-called Confederation poets finally dwindled and Canadian writers opened themselves up to the ground-breaking and culture-shattering aesthetics of such international luminaries as Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and James Joyce. The major figures mediating this process were the Newfoundland-born poet E.J. Pratt, then living in Toronto, and a group of poets associated with Montreal and McGill University, led by F.R. Scott and A.J.M. Smith. The period was controversial and turbulent, pitting old against new, right against left, and nationalism against internationalism, but it can be seen, in retrospect, to have been a difficult but productive phase in Canada’s evolution from a colonial to a post-colonial society.
Published by Cambridge University Press, the historical volume “covers the full range of Canadian literary writing in English and French, and provides a special focus on writing after 1960 which has significantly changed Canadian literary history.”
“The editors have designed a remarkable revisioning of Canadian literary history,” said Dr. Fowler, “updating the interpretation of the traditional canon from the perspective of the 21st century, while also introducing non-traditional categories of enquiry such as the graphic novel, fictions of history and myth, indigenous literature, multiculturalism and globalization. I am honoured to be associated with the project.”
Although retired from full-time teaching, Dr. Fowler continues his research and writing as honorary research professor at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.
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