The New Land
Studies in a Literary Theme
The essays in this volume were originally presented at a workshop held at the University of Calgary on August 1–5, 1977 and sponsored by the Calgary Institute for the Humanities. The phrase “the new land” underwent careful scrutiny and reassessment during the course of the conference, and the insights that resulted from the readings and discussions were of considerable value to participants and observers alike. Chronologically and thematically the essays cover a wide range: from La Nouvelle France as seen by the early missionaries and by the French Romantic writer Chateaubriand to variations on the new land theme in present-day Qußbec; from the Prairies as seen by an early homesteader-novelist from France, Constantin-Weyer, to the Manitoba of Gabrielle Roy, which in turn is contrasted to the Nebraska of Willa Cather; from a historical recreation of the Saskatchewan landscape and history by a gifted contemporary novelist Rudy Wiebe, to a paradisal celebration of British Columbia reflected in the later works of Malcolm Lowry. What emerged from all of this, among other things, was the articulation of a mythology about the new land that was far more complex and expansive than the one derived originally through an old–world perspective.