Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The present thesis proposes a consideration of ethnic literary writing as reshaping Canadian literature from a central position rather than a marginal one. In this sense, my emphasis is on delineating ethnicity, against the current negative trend, as positive difference, as spiritual enrichment. I present my readers with an articulation of "spirituality," the interior sum total of one's identity, as fundamental to cultural signification. As I see it, the most relevant contribution that the immigrant can make to his or her new country is a gift of this spirit, which will later translate into national radiance. The 1920s in Canadian literature were marked by an explosion of such gifts, materialized in the highly articulate immigrant voices that caused a rethinking of "mainstream" literature in relation to ethnic writing. The following chapters concentrate on two such competent literary voices, Frederick Philip Grove and Laura Goodman Salverson. Thus, I propose a reading of Settlers of the Marsh (1925) and The Viking Heart (1923) as novels of spiritual transfer that attempt to bring eloquent interpretations of otherness into coherent Canadian nation building. Like the two writers under my "investigation," I am assuming the insider's position, one that privileges me, as it does them, at least to imagine a negotiation of difference as positive growth.
Pivniceru, Alice, "The Gifts of Radiance. Contributions of Ethnic Writing to Canadian Literature." (2001). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6364.
McMaster University Library