Recommend to your Librarian

Canadian Literature

Faye Hammill

Paperback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

An important critical study of Canadian literature, placing internationally successful anglophone Canadian authors in the context of their national literary history.

While the focus of the book is on twentieth-century and contemporary writing, it also charts the historical development of Canadian literature and discusses important eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors. The chapters focus on four central topics in Canadian culture: Ethnicity, Race, Colonisation; Wildernesses, Cities, Regions; Desire; and Histories and Stories. Each chapter combines case studies of five key texts with a broad discussion of concepts and approaches, including postcolonial and postmodern reading strategies and theories of space, place and desire. Authors chosen for close analysis include Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro, Leonard Cohen, Thomas King and Carol Shields.

Key Features

  • The first critical guide to Canadian literature in English
  • Authors selected on the basis of their popularity on undergraduate courses
  • Combines historical and thematic approaches to Canadian writing
  • Links close reading of key texts with theoretical approaches to Canadian literature
  • Discusses in detail Obasan by Joy Kogawa, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, The Republic of Love by Carol Shields, 'Wilderness Tips' and The Journals of Susanna Moodie by Margaret Atwood, Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, The Diviners by Margaret Laurence and In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje


Historical synopsis of Canadian literature in English
Canon-making and literary history in Canada
Indigenous Canadians
About this book
Chapter 1: Ethnicity, Race, Colonisation
Frances Brooke, The History of Emily Montague (1769)
E. Pauline Johnson, selected poetry
Joy Kogawa, Obasan (1981)
Tomson Highway, The Rez Sisters (1986)
Thomas King, Green Grass Running Water (1993)
Chapter 2: Wilderness, Cities, Regions
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)
Ethel Wilson, Swamp Angel (1954)
Carol Shields, The Republic of Love (1992)
Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man (1994)
Alice Munro, 'A Wilderness Station'
Margaret Atwood, 'Wilderness Tips'
Chapter 3: Desire
Martha Ostenso, Wild Geese (1925)
John Glassco, Memoirs of Montparnasse (1970)
Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers (1966)
Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces (1996)
Dionne Brand, Land to Light On (1997)
Chapter 4: Histories and Stories
E. J. Pratt, Brébeuf and His Brethren (1940)
Margaret Atwood, The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970)
Margaret Laurence, The Diviners (1974)
Daphne Marlatt, Ana Historic (1988)
Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion (1987)
Student Resources
Electronic resources and reference sources
Questions for discussion
Alternative primary texts for chapter topics
Guide to Further Reading

About the Author

Faye Hammill is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Strathclyde. She is the author of Literary Culture and Female Authorship in Canada1760-2000 (2003), co-editor of the Encyclopaedia of British Women'sWriting 1900-1950 (2006), and editor of The British Journal of Canadian Studies.


It is surprising, given the popularity of Canadian literature course in Britain, that up until now there has been no critical overview of that literature in either English or French produced by a British scholar. Thank goodness for Faye Hammill's cleverly constructed guide for students ... This book is a 'must' for any student or curious reader of Canadian literature.
- Coral Ann Howells, University of Reading, British Journal of Canadian Studies its thematic and critical approach to the texts, and especially in its rich and very well-documented section on further readings, questions, and alrternative primary texts, Hammill's Canadian Literature remains a good resource book for undergraduate students taking a course in Canadian literature, as well as for instructors in search of fresh ideas and themes for designing their classe or for including Canadian texts in their existing curricula.
- H-Net

Also in this series