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date: 16 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the concern with eclipsed or forgotten histories in the post-1950 Canadian novel. In the wave of cultural nationalism following World War II, Canadian authors struggled to give voice to Canadian experience and history, sometimes by championing, often by critiquing, the sacred cows of mainstream culture and politics. This led to a strong “counter-memorial” tradition in Canadian fiction, marked by a recuperation of history. The experience of cultural inauthenticity and amnesia was felt by authors emerging from the mainstream, who turned to local histories to mythologize or “story” Canadian experience, as well as by authors who viewed themselves outside the mainstream due to ethnicity, race, or sexual identity. The counter-memorial impetus played an important role in opening up Canadian culture to a broad range of social and historical perspectives, an endeavour that was important to understanding Canada within a context of multiple and shifting identities and locations.

Keywords: Canadian fiction, Canadian history, counter-memorial, multiculturalism, cultural nationalism, Canadian novel

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