A Few Acres of Snow: Literary and Artistic Images of Canada

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Paul Simpson-Housley, G. B. Norcliffe
Dundurn, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 277 pages
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In 1759, Voltaire in Candide referred to Canada as "quelques arpents de neige." For several centuries, the image prevailed and was the one most frequently used by poets, writers, and illustrators. Canada was perceived and portrayed as a cold, hard, and unforgiving land. this was not a land for the fainthearted. Canada has yieled its wealth only reluctantly, while periodically threatening life itself with its displays of fury. Discovering its beauty and hidden resources requires patience and perseverance.

A Few Acres of Snow is a colletion of twenty-two essays that explore, from the geographer's perspective, how poets, artists, and writers have addressed the physical essence of Canada, both landscape and cityscape. "Sense of place" is clearly critical in the works examined in this volume. Included among the book's many subjects are Hugh MacLennan, Gabrielle Roy, Lucius O'Brien, the art of the Inuit, Lawren Harris, Malcolm Lowry, C.W. Jefferys, L.M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Bishop, Marmaduke Matthews, Antonine Mailet, and the poetry of Japanese Canadians.

 

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Contents

1 No Vacant Eden
1
Literary Geographer of a Nation
16
Charles William Jefferys and Canadian Identity
28
The Poetry of Charles Mair
48
5 Moral Frames for Landscape in Canadian Literature
58
The Geographical Context of Canadian Industrial Landscape Painting
71
7 Human Encroachments on a Domineering Physical Landscape
86
Landscape as Universe
99
Lucius OBriens Sunrise on the Saguenay
158
Geographical Attitudes in Gabrielle Roys The Cashier
171
Perspectives by Two Montreal Painters
180
City Houses of Four Canadian Painters
189
An Approach to Public Geography
203
18 The Manitoba Landscape of Martha Ostensos Wild Geese
217
19 Deriving Geographical Information from the Novels of Frederick Philip Grove
225
The Western Landscapes of Marmaduke Matthews
235

A Comparative Analysis
109
Half Nova Scotian Half New Englander Wholly Atlantic
122
Literature Place and Tourism in LM Montgomerys Prince Edward Island
137
PointeauxCoques by Antonine Maillet
148
Japanese Canadian Poetry and Landscape
243
Malcolm Lowry in British Columbia
258
Index
271
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About the author (1992)

Paul Simpson-Housley was born in Derbyshire, United Kingdom. He has pursued an academic career and has taught university in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Chile. Currently he is director of graduate geography and associate professor at York University in Toronto. His principal academic interests are literary landscapes and the psychology of geophysical disasters. His recently published books included Sacred Places and Profane Spaces: The Geographics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (1991), Geography and Literature: A Meeting of the Disciplines (1987), and The Psychology of Geographical Hazards (1987).

Glen Norcliffe is professor of geography at York University, Toronto. He grew up in the industrial north of England. Having completed his education at the universities of Cambridge, Toronto, and Bristol, in 1970 he joined the faculty of York University. his interests in industrial location and regional labour markets have taken him for extended periods to Kenya, France, and the United Kingdom. During the last decade his research interests have broadened to include the artistic representation of landscape, particularly the painting of modern industry.

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