Updating the literary west

This article provides a brief historical account of each of these literatures.The first truly Canadian literary works were written in French by explorers, missionaries, and settlers, and many of them became the inspiration for subsequent writings.

In this category fall the (1952) by Ernest Buckler, set in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis valley.

The explorer Joseph Howe, a journalist, a poet, and the first premier of Nova Scotia.

Two of the most potent influences on literary development were in evidence by the end of the 18th century: literary magazines and presses and a strong sense of regionalism.

Scott, who was a government administrator, has become better known for advocating the assimilation of First Nation peoples than for his poetry’s depiction of Canada’s northern wilderness. Emphasizing concrete images, open language, and free verse, these modernists felt that the poet’s task was to identify, name, and take possession of the land.

Perhaps the most original poet of this period was A. Klein wrote in “Portrait of the Poet as Landscape” (1948) that the poet is “the nth Adam taking a green inventory / in a world but scarcely uttered, naming, praising.” The bonds of a colonial frame of mind characterized by fear of the unknown, reliance on convention, a puritan consciousness—what (1965), called the “garrison mentality”—were being broken and cast off.

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