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Representing the Canadian North: The English-Canadian travel book in the 1950s

This project explores the representation of the Canadian North in selected English-Canadian travel writing from the 1950s.

In my Ph.D. thesis, I explore the representation of the Canadian North in a selection of five English-Canadian travel books written during the 1950s. These are Farley Mowat’s People of the Deer (1952) and The Desperate People (1959), Richard Harrington’s The Face of the Arctic (1954), Pierre Berton’s The Mysterious North (1956), and Doug Wilkinson’s Land of the Long Day (1955). The historical context of my project is the first years of the Cold War and the increasingly important role of the Canadian North.

I study both the extra-textual circumstances of these travel books as well as the rhetorical and literary strategies that make up their visual and textual representations of the travelers, of the Canadian North, and of the Inuit. I will argue that these travel books draw upon as well as challenge established images of the Canadian North in their representations, thus negotiating new understandings of the Canadian North and of its significance to Canadian Identity.

Published Oct. 6, 2015 3:03 PM