Remnants of Nation: On Poverty Narratives by Women

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University of Toronto Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 348 pages
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"The Remnants of Nation" is a ground breaking book that introduces a new genre called 'poverty narratives' to study literature and popular culture in the larger context of economic and literary disenfranchisement. While issues of race, gender, and sexuality are now circulating in literary studies and their 'constructedness' is being debated, the relations of class, poverty, and narrative have not been thoroughly examined until now. Here, poverty is treated not simply as a theme in literature but as a force that in fact shapes the texts themselves.

Rimstead adopts the notion of a common culture to include more ordinary voices in national culture, in this case the national culture of Canada. Short stories, novels, autobiographies, and oral histories by Canadian women, including canonized writers such as Gabrielle Roy, Margaret Lawrence, and Alice Munro, are considered in addition to lesser known writers and ordinary women. Drawing on theoretical work from a wide range of disciplines, this book is a deeply radical reflection on how literature, popular culture, and academic discourse construct knowledge about the poor in wealthy countries like Canada and how the poor, in turn, can inform the way we think about nation, community, and national culture itself.

Given the scope of the study, Rimstead's work will appeal not only to literary scholars and Canadian social historians, but to students and instructors of women's studies, cultural studies, and sociology.

Winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize, English Language, awarded by the Association for Canadian and Qu bec Literatures


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Fictioning a Literature
Visits and Homecomings
Social Boundaries
On Knowing Poor Women
Negative Constructions of Identity
Organized Forgetting
Remnants of Nation
Contexts of Oppositional Criticism
Taking a Position
Outlawing Boundaries

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About the author (2001)

ROXANNE RIMSTEAD is Associate Professor, Departement des Lettres et Communciations, Université de Sherbrooke.

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