Progressive Heritage: The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada

Progressive Heritage: The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada

by James Doyle
     
 

Most critics and literary historians have ignored Marxist-inspired creative literature in Canada, or dismissed it as an ephemeral phenomenon of the 1930s. Research reveals, however, that from the 1920s onward Canadian creative writers influenced by Marxist ideas have produced a quantitatively substantial and artistically significant body of poetry, drama, fiction,

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Overview

Most critics and literary historians have ignored Marxist-inspired creative literature in Canada, or dismissed it as an ephemeral phenomenon of the 1930s. Research reveals, however, that from the 1920s onward Canadian creative writers influenced by Marxist ideas have produced a quantitatively substantial and artistically significant body of poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction.

This book traces historically and evaluates critically this tradition, with particular emphasis on writers who were associated with, or sympathetic to, the Communist Party of Canada. After two chapters surveying the work of anti-capitalist writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the book concentrates on the development of Marxist-inspired writing from the 1920s to the end of the twentieth century.

Besides devoting attention to both social and theoretical backgrounds, this study provides critical commentary on work by prominent writers who spent part of their literary careers as Communist Party members, including Dorothy Livesay, Patrick Anderson, Milton Acorn, and George Ryga, as well as less well known but more fervent Communists such as Margaret Fairley, Dyson Carter, Joe Wallace, Stanley Ryerson, and Jean-Jules Richard. Although primarily concerned with the older generation of Marxists who flourished between the 1920s and the 1970s, the book also includes a chapter on the post-1970s "New Left."

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Focusing on writers associated with, or sympathetic to, the Communist Party of Canada, Doyle (English, Wilfrid Laurier U., Canada) outlines the literary production of anti-capitalist Canadian writers from the 1920s to the 1970s. The evolving relationship between theory and practice is analyzed in terms of the debates between writers and the works they produced. Although Canadian Marxist Communists are the main topic, some analysis of the Canadian New Left is included in the final chapters. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780889204027
Publisher:
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date:
04/17/2002
Pages:
330
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 475.00(d)

Meet the Author

James Doyle is professor emeritus of English at Wilfrid Laurier University. Author of five other books, including The Fin de Siècle Spirit (1995) and Stephen Leacock: The Sage of Orillia (1992), he has contributed many times to scholarly journals, particularly on Canadian-US literary relations and political radicalism in Canadian literature.

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