E. J. Pratt’s "Towards the Last Spike" deserves critical reconsideration. Pratt’s epic poem documents the history of the Canadian railway, but not, as critics have generally conceded, in a blanket celebration of the nation’s achievements: rather, Pratt allows the darker moments of railway history into his retelling, challenging the unifying impulse of projects of national definition.
Was Ever an Adventure Without its Cost?: The Price of National Unity in E. J. Pratt’s Towards the Last Spike” originally appeared in Strategic Nationalisms. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 200 (Spring 2009): 37-54.
Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.