Making new worlds 4. The centre cannot hold: garrisoning Canada

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McLaren, John (1990) Making new worlds 4. The centre cannot hold: garrisoning Canada. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)


Contains a discourse on the pattern of development of ‘new literatures’ emerging in Canadian literature. The cultural problem in the settler societies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand is one of adapting imported traditions to local reality. This reality is produced by the new land, the hopes and expectations brought by the settlers with their tradition, and continuing domination by the original home countries or their metropolitan successors: that is, by land, labour and capital. They resemble the United States in the importance given to the land among these factors in their development. Land, the physical environment, is the element which is new. For intending emigrants, it represents the opportunities denied in their homeland. Once in the new country, it constitutes at once the most obvious difference and the greatest challenge. Whether as frontier, wilderness or bush, the land changes the settlers and produces the kind of people they recognize as truly representative of the new society. At the same time, however, it challenges the values they bring with them, and so offers itself as a resource where the human spirit can be redeemed from evil. Canadian literature presents the history of a new culture growing from the conflicts between a particularly unyielding environment and a highly determined structure of imported institutions and expectations.

Item type Other
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Collections > McLaren Papers
Keywords literature, new worlds, culture, identity, settler societies, fiction, novels, poetry, mythology, writers, MCLAREN-BOXD10-DOC7
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