CanLit’s Colonial Habit

““For the past couple of years, something called ‘the appropriation debate’ has been raging in Canada,” Margaret Atwood said, while giving the Clarendon Lectures at Oxford University, 26 years ago. She traced the debate a lot farther back, to Toronto’s Sunday Globe of May 22, 1892, in which E. Pauline Johnson wrote a long essay on “The Indian girl in modern fiction”—a critique of the figuration of the “Indian maiden” who dies for love of a white man. So the debates that have been raging lately in Canadian literature are not exactly new. They have taken on a new force and a new rage, however.”

Stephen Marche – Literary Review of Canada – November 2017


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