Canadian literature

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Criticism of Canadian literature has focused on nationalistic and regional themes. Critics against such thematic criticism in Canadian literature, such as Frank Davey, have argued that a focus on theme diminishes the appreciation of complexity of the literature produced in the country, and creates the impression that Canadian literature is sociologically-oriented.

While Canadian literature, like the literature of every nation state, is influenced by its socio-political contexts, Canadian writers have produced a variety of genres. Influences on Canadian writers are broad, both geographically and historically.

Canada's dominant cultures were originally British and French, as well as aboriginal. After Prime Minister Trudeau's "Announcement of Implementation of Policy of Multiculturalism within Bilingual Framework," in 1971, Canada gradually became home to a more diverse population of readers and writers. The country's literature has been strongly influenced by international immigration, particularly in recent decades.

Canadian literature collectively is often called CanLit or Canlit.

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Characteristics of Canadian literature

Canada’s literature, whether written in English or French, often reflects the Canadian perspective on: (1) nature, (2) frontier life, and (3) Canada’s position in the world, all three of which tie in to the garrison mentality. Canada's ethnic and cultural diversity are reflected in its literature, with many of its most prominent writers focusing on ethnic life.[citation needed]


Categories of Canadian literature

Because of its size and breadth, Canadian literature is often divided into sub-categories.[citation needed]

  • The most common is to categorize it by region or province.
  • Another way is to categorize it by author. For instance, the literature of Canadian women, Acadians, Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and Irish Canadians have been anthologized as bodies of work.
  • A third is to divide it by literary period, such as "Canadian postmoderns" or "Canadian Poets Between the Wars."

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