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Reflections on the Margins of Literature

By François Paré
Translated by Lin Burman
Subjects Literary Criticism, Language Arts & Disciplines, Translation
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Paperback : 9780889202658, 185 pages, April 1997


For the past four centuries, five major languages have dominated Western literature. This domination has excluded or rendered marginal all other literatures — has, in effect, diminished literary diversity and endangered the existence of the literature of “smaller” cultures.

In an illuminating defence for their preservation, François Paré reflects on the diversity of cultures and languages in the world and on the fantastic richness of “smaller” literatures. He offers us memorable samples of this diversity and, in his original and thought-provoking style, tantalizes us with critical musings on the complexity of “marginal” literature and the regenerative power it can offer. Exiguity: Reflections on the Margins of Literature reflects Paré’s deep involvement with the development and preservation of minority cultures in Canada.


  • Winner of the 1993 Governor General's Award for Non-fiction in the original French edition


``This readable translation by Lin Burman makes available to English-language readers a novel and contemporary reflective approach to the state of some literatures in the world today. ...Paré succeeds in confronting the reader with a stimulating apologia for the voices from the edge. ...This book can be read and appreciated by advanced undergraduate and postgraduate research students from any literary discipline. It will be of particular interest to those studying the minority cultures of Canada and to those with an interest in literature beyond the beaten path of major languages. ...This is a radical book, both in the idea that mass cultural movements can produce the opposite effect and in the manner in which profound reflections are casually made. In the age of the sound-byte and the domination of the visual it is reassuring that Paré not only sees a future for the writers of smaller languages but predicates the maintenance of the intellectual spirit on their continuing survival and development. ''

- Pádraig O Gormaile, University of Galway, Ireland, Canadian Ethnic Studies