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Old August 12th, 2016, 08:05 PM   #11

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OK, Douglas Coupland can also be considered a major figure in Canadian literature!
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Old August 12th, 2016, 08:10 PM   #12

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I would agree that Canadian literature is underappreciated. But I also think it is true of all literature.
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Old August 12th, 2016, 09:44 PM   #13

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OK, Douglas Coupland can also be considered a major figure in Canadian literature!
Disagree.
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Old August 14th, 2016, 05:52 PM   #14

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Disagree.
I would say his works lack the depths of major literary works, but don't they reflect the way we are today?
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Old August 15th, 2016, 10:04 PM   #15

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I would say his works lack the depths of major literary works, but don't they reflect the way we are today?
Only the shallowest most undesirable parts of Canadian society-the ones I don't associate with (and I'm no intellectual).
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Old August 15th, 2016, 11:06 PM   #16

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Oh boy High school again!
Not at all my strong suit and I cannot at all comment on French Canadians. The ones I recall were Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale) and Timothy Findley (The Wars).

The themes which I find most prevalent in Canadian Literature are Pastoralism (countryside and farms; the idyllic rural life), period pieces about 1812 or the Victorian Era especially in the form of everyday life, many events that shaped Canadian history such as the Great Depression, WW1 and WW2 and more recently a surge of American trends such as thrillers and modern ideas/values. But also things like Feminism, Environmentalism and Dystopia have found a place in our literature throughout the past century.
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Old August 16th, 2016, 01:09 PM   #17
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Can't think of any Canadian writers, except for Margaret Atwood (writer of what I consider to be the worst book I ever read, a Handmaid's Tale). Maybe there is some good Canadian literature out there but it isn't hugely well-known. To be honest I don't think I've ever read any English language books that weren't either British, Irish or American, and the Irish only because of Irish teachers and family members.

I suppose that's because Canada is not only a very new country (half the age of the USA) but also an incredibly diverse one: a quarter of the population are French speakers, and several million are immigrants with a native language other than English (indeed, a majority of those living in Toronto, the largest city and main cultural centre, are of recent non-Anglophone background as I understand).

Also Canada is not really known as a major cultural contributor. It has a thriving popular music industry, but apart from that it is a very working class country with a large amount of its population working in forestry, natural resources, agriculture and other outdoor manual jobs. Such people obviously tend not to be bookworms. When you take away all the people who are unlikely to become famous Anglophone authors, Canada has a very small pool of writers.

In terms of stats, Canada publishes less than 20,000 books per year: even taking account of its population, that's a very small number for a developed Anglophone country. The Netherlands publishes about the same, but has half the population.
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Old August 17th, 2016, 11:35 AM   #18

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.....it is a very working class country with a large amount of its population working in forestry, natural resources, agriculture and other outdoor manual jobs.....
Appalling ignorance noted

I suspect this is close to the view Copperknickers has of Canada & Canadians.


Last edited by whalebreath; August 17th, 2016 at 11:49 AM.
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Old August 17th, 2016, 08:40 PM   #19

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Can't think of any Canadian writers, except for Margaret Atwood (writer of what I consider to be the worst book I ever read, a Handmaid's Tale). Maybe there is some good Canadian literature out there but it isn't hugely well-known. To be honest I don't think I've ever read any English language books that weren't either British, Irish or American, and the Irish only because of Irish teachers and family members.

I suppose that's because Canada is not only a very new country (half the age of the USA) but also an incredibly diverse one: a quarter of the population are French speakers, and several million are immigrants with a native language other than English (indeed, a majority of those living in Toronto, the largest city and main cultural centre, are of recent non-Anglophone background as I understand).

Also Canada is not really known as a major cultural contributor. It has a thriving popular music industry, but apart from that it is a very working class country with a large amount of its population working in forestry, natural resources, agriculture and other outdoor manual jobs. Such people obviously tend not to be bookworms. When you take away all the people who are unlikely to become famous Anglophone authors, Canada has a very small pool of writers.

In terms of stats, Canada publishes less than 20,000 books per year: even taking account of its population, that's a very small number for a developed Anglophone country. The Netherlands publishes about the same, but has half the population.
Interesting book stats and opinion. I never actually read a Handmaid's Tale. Timothy Findley I found to be extremely slow. His books turned into a slugging match between boredom and my having to write a book report.

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Appalling ignorance noted

I suspect this is close to the view Copperknickers has of Canada & Canadians.

I was thinking South Park
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Old August 17th, 2016, 09:32 PM   #20

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To gain some insight into Canadian culture have a read here

The Lonely End of the Rink
Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip led Canadians deep into the mysteries of their national identity. Now they’re saying goodbye.



Should you ever need to endear yourself to a Canadian, say how sad you were to hear about Gord. Canada has fixated on Gord Downie this summer as he makes his final journey across the country, an incurable tumor growing rapidly inside his left temporal lobe. When the tour wraps up this weekend, we’ll all return to our daily lives nervously watching Trump. But for Canadians anywhere in the world, Saturday night is the Gehrig speech. It’s the O.J. verdict and the M.A.S.H. finale. It’s every second of sudden-death overtime we’ve ever played against Russia.

Downie’s band, the Tragically Hip, is one of those enormous entities that cannot be understood outside its homeland. In Canada, we just call them the Hip, and Downie is simply Gord. And I am betraying something sacred by attempting to explain what he means to us. Gord is the country’s spirit animal in the only way a 52-year-old white man might legitimately be classified as a “spirit animal.”

Gord emerged from a tradition of scrappy, sensitive Canadians, drawn to the disappearing backwaters where beer tastes like “half fart and half horse piss.” He is, first and foremost, a poet. (One of his most famous songs is called “Poets.”) But Gord is also a hockey player. He articulates the esoteric inner mythologies the latter has never felt comfortable saying aloud.

The Hip formed in Kingston, Ontario, in 1984, and their first three albums were made for hockey players. Their sound is ubiquitously referred to as “blues-tinged.” The early hits with titles like “Small Town Bringdown,” “Highway Girl,” “Blow at High Dough,” “Three Pistols,” and “New Orleans is Sinking,” became the meat and potatoes of Canadian commercial radio.

Lurking deeper in these early albums, though, were the sort of visceral narratives that made CBC listeners pay attention. The song that converted many of us was “38 Years Old,” an urgent ballad about a group of prisoners who escape from Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security prison in Ontario. “They mostly came from towns with long French names,” Gord sang. “But one of the dozen was a hometown shame.” He then slipped into the point of view of the prisoner’s younger brother, with such verisimilitude that fans would leave flowers on Downie’s porch in Kingston, convinced the story was autobiographical.

As the Hip traveled deeper through Canada, playing their songs about Ontario’s boonies, Gord began piecing together this bigger history hidden “on the back of hockey cards” and weird roadside plaques. For a period of time, it felt like the Hip were just always out there. “Looking for a place to happen,” Gord would say, “making stops along the way.”
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