Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review

Canadian Literature is an academic quarterly that publishes peer-reviewed scholarly articles in French or English related to the field of Canadian literature, broadly defined. The journal’s deep commitment to Canadian writing does not stop there. We also publish book reviews of critical and creative works, poems, short notes, writings of importance that have been rediscovered in the archives, interviews with writers, and articles by writers about their craft.

In the spirit of its founding editor, George Woodcock, the journal enacts a broad concept of intellectual hospitality: “Canadian Literature seeks to establish no clan, little or large. It will not adopt a narrowly academic approach, nor will it try to restrict its pages to any school of criticism or any class of writers.” We seek the work of new and established writers from a variety of cultural and academic backgrounds, and we welcome creative approaches to language and ideas. Canadian Literature strives to make a profound contribution to the discipline and to the study of literature and the humanities today.

Since its founding in 1959, Canadian Literature has been widely acknowledged to be the leading journal in the field. Each year the journal publishes twenty-four peer-reviewed scholarly articles, several hundred book reviews, and selected poetry.  It has a global readership and a proven impact on the discipline. The journal is published by the University of British Columbia, housed in the Faculty of Arts, and supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Aid to Scholarly Publications grant.

Our mandate is to provide high-quality scholarly analyses of literatures produced in and about the lands referred to as Canada, critical reviews of significant books in the field of Canadian literature, and commentaries on current, significant topics.

Our current focus responds to the recent “acrimonious and polarizing public controversies” over the canonical and exclusionary publishing practices in Canadian literature (Nicholas Bradley, associate editor, 60th anniversary issue of CL). Increasingly, our article submissions and guest editors question the critical, geographic, national, cultural, and sociological terms that tend to define literatures produced on and about the lands known as Canada. In #239, past-editor Laura Moss highlights how Canadian Literature captures “the challenges of an ever-evolving field and changing publishing platforms” as we have “tried to be open and welcoming to many perspectives.” Continuing this legacy, current editor Christine Kim writes about how “the new directions that emergent culture point us in are always actively produced through their relations to residual and dominant culture.” Under her editorial guidance, Canadian Literature is currently “interested in looking closely at the multiplicity of emerging voices and forces and asking how they capture the attention of various audiences.” A guiding question for the journal is “what might happen to our conceptions of Canadian literature if we stopped seeing marginalized writers and critics as new and instead recognized the long histories from which they emerge?” In addition to our peer-reviewed articles and in order to capture timely, critical discussions, Canadian Literature now regularly features forums that contain shorter contributions on a specific topic, theme, author’s writing, or text. The forums are a response to our readers’ desire to access topical and timely dialogues on the cultural production of literatures in and about Canada. They contain contributions by established and newer scholars, creative writers, and other members of the literary and book publishing community. 

As of 2021, Canadian Literature has transitioned to a 12-month embargo. All issues before 238 are available freely online.

ISSN: 0008-4360

Print design: Sharon Engbrecht

Canadian Literature is indexed in Canadian Periodical Index, Canadian Magazine Index, The Humanities International Complete, and the MLA International Bibliography, among numerous others. The journal is indexed and abstracted by EBSCO, PROQUEST, and ABES. Full text of articles and reviews from 1997 is available from PROQUEST, Gale, and EBSCO. The journal is available in microfilm from University Microfilm International.

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