“The art of making artists”: Canadian Modernism, F.R. Scott, and the New Deal


Federal One, the American New Deal program that funded artists during the Great Depression, provided a complicated model for Canadian writers, who recognized that the framework presented both substantial benefits and real dangers to the artist in need of work. A reconsideration of Canadian modernism with New Deal tensions in mind demonstrates that Canadian artists were acutely aware of the inevitable ideological conflict that surfaces when artists must attempt to satisfy an impossible balance between personal artistic and political commitments and government-imposed regulations. The work of F.R. Scott, in particular, highlights the ambiguities of the New Deal proposal; reading Scott in relation to the New Deal provides fresh insight on both the artistic concerns of the time and the multiple influences that would come to shape Canada’s commitment to government sponsored art.

This article ““The art of making artists”: Canadian Modernism, F.R. Scott, and the New Deal” originally appeared in Spectres of Modernism. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 209 (Summer 2011): 31-46.

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