University of Ottawa Press

  • This volume comprises a reprinting and gloss of the original text of the 1933 Communist play Eight Men Speak. The play was banned by the Toronto police after its first performance, banned by the Winnipeg police shortly thereafter and subsequently banned by the Canadian Post Office. The play can be considered as one stage-the published text-of a meta-text that culminated in 1934 at Maple Leaf Gardens when the (then illegal) Communist Party of Canada celebrated the release of its leader, Tim Buck, from prison. Eight Men Speak had been written and staged on behalf of the campaign to free Buck by the Canadian Labour Defence League, the public advocacy group of the CPC.In its theatrical techniques, incorporating avant-garde expressionist staging, mass chant, agitprop and modernist dramaturgy, Eight Men Speak exemplified the vanguardist aesthetics of the Communist left in the years before the Popular Front. It is the first instance of the collective theatrical techniques that would become widespread in subsequent decades and formative in the development of modern Canadian drama. These include a decentred narrative, collaborative authorship and a refusal of dramaturgical linearity in favour of theatricalist demonstration. As such it is one of the most significant Canadian plays of the first half of the century, and, on the evidence of the surviving photograph of the mise-en-scene, one of the earliest examples of modernist staging in Canada.

  • Swinging the Maelstrom is the story of a musician enduring existence in the Bellevue psychiatric hospital in New York. Written during his happiest and most fruitful years, this novella reveals the deep healing influence that the idyllic retreat at Dollarton had on Lowry. This long-overdue scholarly edition will allow scholars to engage in a genetic study of the text and reconstruct, step by step, the creative process that developed from a rather pessimistic and misanthropic vision of the world as a madhouse (The Last Address, 1936), via the apocalyptic metaphors of a world on the brink of Armageddon (The Last Address, 1939), to a world that, in spite of all its troubles, leaves room for self-irony and humanistic concern (Swinging the Maelstrom,1942-1944).

  • Miriam Waddington's verse is deceptively accessible: it is personal but never private, emotional but not confessional, thoughtful but never cerebral. The subtlety of her craft is the hallmark of a modernist poet whose work opens to the world and its readers. She details intoxicating romance and mature love, the pleasures of marriage and motherhood, the experience of raising two sons to adulthood, and the ineffable pain of divorce. As she moved through life, she wrote clearly and uncompromisingly about the vast sweep of Canada, her travels to new lands, the passage of time, the death of her ex-husband, the loss of close friends and, later, of growing old.

  • Hugh Garner's Best Stories received the Governor General's Literary Award for English-language fiction in 1963. The collection consists of twenty-four stories composed between the late 1930s and the early 1960s and reflects the immense flux of the mid-century, from the Great Depression to the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and second-wave feminism. Garner takes on issues ranging from anglophone-francophone conflict in Canada to racism in the American South, from the disenfranchisement of First Nations people to the mistreatment of the mentally disabled. Best Stories is not only notable for the devastating precision of its prose, but also for its contribution to the Spanish Civil War literary canon. This new edition brings short fiction by Garner into conversation with the wider canon of Canadian and transnational leftist and proletarian literature.

  • A young Canadian marches over the Pyrenees and enters into history by joining the International Brigades-men and women from around the world who volunteered to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. This new edition of Ted Allan's novel, This Time a Better Earth, reintroduces readers to the electrifying milieu of the Spanish Civil War and Madrid, which for a short time in the 1930s became the epicentre of a global struggle between democracy and fascism. This Time a Better Earth, first published in 1939, tells the story of Canadian Bob Curtis from the time of his arrival in Spain and the idealism and trials of the international volunteers. Allan's novel achieves the distinction of being both a work of considerable literary and historical significance and a real page-turner.
    This is the first installment of a series of titles to be published in the Canadian Literature Collection under the Canada and the Spanish Civil War banner. This is a large-scale project devoted to the recovery and presentation of Canadian cultural production about the Spanish Civil War (spanishcivilwar.ca), directed by Bart Vautour and Emily Robins Sharpe.

  • Double-Voicing the Canadian Short Story is the first comparative study of eight internationally and nationally acclaimed writers of short fiction: Sandra Birdsell, Timothy Findley, Jack Hodgins, Thomas King, Alistair MacLeod, Olive Senior, Carol Shields and Guy Vanderhaeghe. With the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature going to Alice Munro, the "master of the contemporary short story," this art form is receiving the recognition that has been its due and-as this book demonstrates-Canadian writers have long excelled in it. From theme to choice of narrative perspective, from emphasis on irony, satire and parody to uncovering the multiple layers that make up contemporary Canadian English, the short story provides a powerful vehicle for a distinctively Canadian "double-voicing". The stories discussed here are compelling reflections on our most intimate roles and relationships and Kruk offers a thoughtful juxtaposition of themes of gender, mothers and sons, family storytelling, otherness in Canada and the politics of identity to name but a few. As a multi-author study, Double-Voicing the Canadian Short Story is broad in scope and its readings are valuable to Canadian literature as a whole, making the book of interest to students of Canadian literature or the short story, and to readers of both.

  • Carroll Aikins's play The God of Gods (1919) has been out of print since its first and only edition in 1927. This critical edition not only revives the work for readers and scholars alike, it also provides historical context for Aikins's often overlooked contributions to theatre in the 1920s and presents research on the different staging techniques in the play's productions.
    Much of the play's historical significance lies in Aikins's vital role in Canadian theatre, as director of the Home Theatre in British Columbia (1920-22) and artistic director of Toronto's Hart House Theatre (1927-29). Wright reveals The God of Gods as a modernist Canadian work with overt influences from European and American modernisms. Aikins's work has been compared to European modernists Gordon Craig, Adolphe Appia, and Jacques Copeau. Importantly, he was also intimately connected with modernist Canadian artists and the Group of Seven (who painted the scenery for Hart House Theatre).
    The God of Gods contributes to current studies of theatrical modernism by exposing the primitivist aesthetics and theosophical beliefs promoted by some of Canada's art circles at the turn of the twentieth century. Whereas Aikins is clearly progressive in his political critique of materialism and organized religion, he presents a conservative dramatization of the noble savage as hero. The critical introduction examines how The God of Gods engages with Nietzschean and theosophical philosophies in order to dramatize an Aboriginal lover-artist figure that critiques religious idols, materialism, and violence. Ultimately, The God of Gods offers a look into how English and Canadian theatre audiences responded to primitivism, theatrical modernism, and theosophical tenets during the 1920s.

  • Meet Me on the Barricades is Harrison's most experimental work. The novel includes a series of fantasy sequences that culminate in a scene heavily indebted to the Nighttown episode in James Joyce's Ulysses (the novel was published a year before James Thurber's better-known short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"). The novel is also Harrison's only foray into satire-an especially unexpected turn given that the Spanish Civil War literary canon, and particularly works of literature written in the midst of the war, tend towards earnestness rather than irony. Harrison's novel is thus a unique book, significant for its self-consciousness as a modernist novel and as a political document. Out of print since its single publication run in 1938, this critical edition recovers Harrison's important commentary on the heated "culture wars" of the 1930s and the Spanish Civil War. With an original critical introduction and extensive textual and editorial notes, this edition draws on original archival research to situate the novel within the modernist and leftist North American canons. Meet Me on the Barricades is a densely allusive text that layers global politics, revolutionary theory, classical music, literary theory, world history, and anti-Stalinism, as well as emergent biological discourses about sex. It recounts a few days in the life of P. Herbert Simpson, a middle-aged, weak-hearted oboist with the New York Symphony Orchestra and leftist fellow traveller. Simpson is subject to wild hallucinations that are sometimes daydreams, sometimes drunken delirium, and on occasion intricate dreams while asleep. He imagines escaping his unrewarding marriage with a prudish, domineering wife through a passionate fantasy of a Russian girlfriend, and escaping his day job in the symphony to fight on the front lines of the Spanish Civil War.

  • This book traces the remarkable journey of Hébert's shifting authorial identity as versions of her work traveled through complex and contested linguistic and national terrain from the late 1950s until today. At the center of this exploration of Hébert's work are the people who were inspired by her poetry to translate and more widely disseminate her poems to a wider audience.
    Exactly how did this one woman's work travel so much farther than the vast majority of Québécois authors? Though the haunting quality of her art partly explains her wide appeal, her work would have never traveled so far without the effort of scores of passionately committed translators, editors, and archivists. Though the work of such "middle men" is seldom recognized, much less scrutinized as a factor in shaping the meaning and reach of an artist, in Herbert's case, the process of translating Hébert's poetry has left in its wake a number of archival and other paratextual resources that chronicle the individual acts of translation and their reception.
    Though the impact of translation, editions, and archival work has been largely ignored in studies of Canadian literary history, the treasure trove of such paratextual records in Hébert's case allows us to better understand the reach of her work. More importantly, it provides insight into and raises critical questions about the textually mediated process of nation-building and literary canon formation.

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