Downtown Canada

Writing Canadian Cities

Edited by Justin D. Edwards & Douglas Ivison
Categories: Literary Criticism
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Hardcover : 9780802087201, 290 pages, November 2005

Table of contents

Douglas Ivison and Justin D. Edwards

'An Ordered Absence: Defeated Topologies in Canadian Literature'
Richard Cavell

Orient Dreams: Urbanity and the Post-Confederation Literacy Culture of Ottawa
Steven Artelle

Postcolonial Historicity: Halifax, Region and Empire in Barometer rising and the Nymph and the Lamp
Christopher J. Armstrong

La ville en vol / City in Flight: Tracing Lesbian E-Motion through Jovette Marchessault's Comme un enfant de la terre
Barbara Godard

Cities and Classrooms, Bodies and Texts: Notes Towards a Resident Reading (and teaching) of Vancouver Writing
Peter Dickinson

Lost in the City: The Montreal Novels of Regine Robin and Robert Majzels
Dominic Beneventi

Inside-Outside the Glass City: Toronto, the Canadian Immigrant City
Batia Boe Stolar

Divided Cities, Divided Selves: Portraits of the artist as Ambivalent Urban Hipster
Lisa Salem-Wiseman

Rewriting White Flight: Suburbia in Gerald Lynch's Troutstream and Joan Barfoot's Dancing in the Dark
Paul Milton

Dueling and Dwelling in Toronto and London: Transnational Urbanism in Catherine Bush's The Rules of Engagement
John Clement Ball

Justin D. Edwards and Douglas Ivison


The vast majority of Canadians live in cities, yet for the most part, discussions of Canadian literature have failed to actively engage with the country’s urban experience. Canada’s prevalent myths continue to be about nordicity and the wilderness, and, stereotypically at least, its literature is often perceived as being about small towns, rural areas, and ‘roughing it in the bush. ’ Downtown Canada is a collection of essays that addresses Canada as an urban place. The contributors focus their attention on the writing of Canada’s cities - including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Halifax - and call attention to the centrality of the city in Canadian literature. They examine how characters are affected by the urban experience in works by a group of authors as diverse as the country itself: Hugh MacLennan, Jovette Marchessault, Michael Ondaatje, Austin Clarke, and Gerald Lynch, to name just a few. Editors Justin D. Edwards and Douglas Ivison have brought together an esteemed group of international Canadian literary scholars, and together they have created a book that is timely and unique, questioning conventional assumptions about Canadian literature, and Canadian culture more generally.