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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The first part of this chapter considers the history of thinking about the relationship between climate and identity, the concern for national character that partly develops from it, and the idea that a national literature is rightly understood as the expression of such a character. It then considers some of the efforts in the nineteenth and twentieth century to understand a Canadian literature within such a mold and the challenges such efforts have confronted. The last part of the chapter considers the attempts in recent decades to break the constraining mold and answer the challenges posed by Canadian identity by asserting that Canada has no identity, or only an ironic sense of identity, or an identity whose very meaning is multiplicity or heterogeneity. The author concludes by suggesting that such assertions themselves have a lengthy history in the discourse on national character.

Keywords: national character, Canadian literature, national literature, Canadian identity, climate

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