New Directions in Early Canadian Literature

In her Foreword to Recalling Early Canada (2004), Carole Gerson laments that “we do not have many wide-ranging volumes of critical studies dedicated to early Canadian literary culture” (ix). Indeed, much of the important scholarly work on early Canadian literature that began in the 1970s and 1980s has been supplanted by succeeding waves of post-modern, post-colonial, and now contemporary Canadian literary scholarship. But research in the areas of Colonial and Confederation literature has recently expanded in a number of exciting ways. The History of the Book in Canada project, for instance, firmly established book history as a vibrant new area of research, while studies by D.M.R. Bentley (2004), Nick Mount (2005), and Gerson (forthcoming 2009) have stressed the need for early Canadian literary history to be set in an international context. Similarly, Kym Bird (2004) has shown that theatre research plays a central role in our understanding of early Canadian literary culture.

We invite articles on authors, texts, genres, and contextual issues that will not only help bring attention to the study of early Canadian literature, but will also help address the gap in scholarship. Essays may focus on new readings of established early Canadian texts or consider little known texts by well-known authors. We are also interested in articles that address neglected and emerging areas of critical investigation, such as early First Nations writers, digital archives, and early Canadian cultural production.

Essays should follow the submission guidelines of the journal: Cover letters should indicate that the article is to be considered for this special issue.