Modern realism in English-Canadian fiction /
Colin Hill.
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c2012.
286 p. ; 24 cm.
1442640561 (hbk.), 9781442640566 (hbk.)
More Details
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c2012.
1442640561 (hbk.)
9781442640566 (hbk.)
contents note
The modern-realist movement: contexts, aesthetics, origins -- Manifestos for a modern realism: Canadian bookman and The Canadian forum in the 1920s -- Raymond Knister: revolutionary modern realist -- The proliferation of modern realism in Canada, Part 1: Prairie realism re-evaluated -- Frederick Philip Grove's eclectic-realism and 'The great tradition' -- The proliferation of modern realism in Canada, Part 2: Urban and social realism reclaimed -- Morley Callaghan's cosmopolitan modern realism -- Modern realism and Canadian literature.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [251]-271) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-11-01:
At the end of this engaging study of modern English Canadian fiction, Hill (Univ. of Toronto) argues that "the autonomous and calculated aesthetic of the modern realists indicates that geography, nationalism, and foreign influences are perhaps not the deterministic forces they are sometimes thought to be for Canadian writers." He is most compelling when he attends to the manifestos in the journals of the 1920s, and when he demonstrates that "psychological realism, not regionalist, mimetic representation of place, is the aesthetic concern that guides the prairie realist's rendering of geography." No one has studied this subject more thoroughly, but the book is unlikely to alter conventional literary history. One reason is that Hill is so faithful to the modernists that he condescends to previous writers, opposing modern realism to an ill-defined "romanticism," by which he means "romance." Another reason is that he often confirms received opinions. So in the three chapters devoted to individual writers, he concedes that Raymond Knister's fiction fails to realize the promise of his criticism, that Frederick Philip Grove's work is "awkward," and that Morley Callaghan's most "convincing" novel is Such Is My Beloved (1934). Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. Large collections serving readers at all levels. T. Ware Queen's University at Kingston
Review Quotes
A major contribution to research, Modern Realism in English-Canadian Fictionprovides a strong analysis of an issue central to twentieth-century Canadian literature: how Canadian writers took up the opportunities and challenges offered by the international modernist movement. Colin Hill's thoughtful, balanced account emphasizes his skills in weighing evidence, teasing out arguments, and anticipating possible rejoinders, as well as his excellent grasp of the period's literature. Whether readers agree with Hill, scholars and students will be citing Modern Realism in English-Canadian Fictionfor years to come.
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Choice, November 2012
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Main Description
Much of the scholarship on twentieth-century Canadian literature has argued that English-Canadian fiction was plagued by backwardness and an inability to engage fully with the movement of modernism that was so prevalent in British and American fiction and poetry. Modern Realism in English-Canadian Fictionre-evaluates Canadian literary culture to posit that it has been misunderstood because it is a distinct genre, a regional form of the larger international modernist movement. Examining literary magazines, manifestos, archival documents, and major writers such as Frederick Philip Grove, Morley Callaghan, and Raymond Knister, Colin Hill identifies a 'modern realism' that crosses regions as well as urban and rural divides. A bold reading of the modern-realist aesthetic and an articulate challenge to several enduring and limiting myths about Canadian writing, Modern Realism in English- Canadian Fictionwill stimulate important debate in literary circles everywhere.

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