From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood: Children's Literature and the Construction of Canadian Identity

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Routledge, Dec 22, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 216 pages
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As Canada came to terms with its role as an independent nation following Confederation in 1867, there was a call for a literary voice to express the needs and desires of a new country. Children’s literature was one of the means through which this new voice found expression. Seen as a tool for both entertaining and educating children, this material is often overtly propagandistic and nationalistic, and addresses some of the key political, economic, and social concerns of Canada as it struggled to maintain national unity during this time. From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood studies a large variety of children’s literature written in English between 1867 and 1911, revealing a distinct interest in questions of national unity and identity among children’s writers of the day and exploring the influence of American and British authors on the shaping of Canadian identity. The visions of Canada expressed in this material are often in competition with one another, but together they illuminate the country’s attempts to define itself and its relation to the world outside its borders.

 

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Contents

From Nursery Rhymes to Nationhood
1
British and American Perspectives
13
Canadian Regionalism
33
Britain and Canada
43
America and Canada
65
The Figure of the French Canadian
79
The Figure of the Indian
95
The Making of Canadian History
115
Landscape and Environment
145
Conclusion
173
Notes
179
Selected Bibliography
185
Index
193
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About the author (2010)

Elizabeth A. Galway received her B.A. from  the University of Toronto, her M.A. from Durham University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Exeter, and is the author of articles on children’s literature, Canadian literature, and Victorian literature. She now teaches in the Department of English at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

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