The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past

The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past

by Winfried Siemerling


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Readers are often surprised to learn that black writing in Canada is over two centuries old. Ranging from letters, editorials, sermons, and slave narratives to contemporary novels, plays, poetry, and non-fiction, black Canadian writing represents a rich body of literary and cultural achievement. The Black Atlantic Reconsidered is the first comprehensive work to explore black Canadian literature from its beginnings to the present in the broader context of the black Atlantic world. Winfried Siemerling traces the evolution of black Canadian witnessing and writing from slave testimony in New France and the 1783 "Book of Negroes" through the work of contemporary black Canadian writers including George Elliott Clarke, Austin Clarke, Dionne Brand, David Chariandy, Wayde Compton, Esi Edugyan, Marlene NourbeSe Philip, and Lawrence Hill. Arguing that black writing in Canada is deeply imbricated in a historic transnational network, Siemerling explores the powerful presence of black Canadian history, slavery, and the Underground Railroad, and the black diaspora in the work of these authors. Individual chapters examine the literature that has emerged from Quebec, Nova Scotia, the Prairies, and British Columbia, with attention to writing in both English and French. A major survey of black writing and cultural production, The Black Atlantic Reconsidered brings into focus important works that shed light not only on Canada's literature and history, but on the transatlantic black diaspora and modernity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780773545083
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 05/08/2015
Pages: 560
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Winfried Siemerling is professor of English at the University of Waterloo, an associate of the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University, and co-editor of Canada and Its Americas: Transnational Navigations.

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