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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 12: The Novel in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific Since 1950$
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Coral Ann Howells, Paul Sharrad, and Gerry Turcotte

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199679775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199679775.001.0001

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Multicultural and Transnational Novels

Multicultural and Transnational Novels

Chapter:
(p.375) 24 Multicultural and Transnational Novels
Source:
The Oxford History of the Novel in English
Author(s):

Isabel Carrera SuÁRez

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199679775.003.0027

This chapter examines the history of multicultural and transnational novels in Canada. Several decades after multiculturalism was established as a political structure and defining feature of the Canadian nation, the term is no longer appropriate to designate all writing outside the former Anglo-Protestant norm without evoking a hierarchy that belies Canadian self-definition, as sanctioned by the Multiculturalism Act of 1988. Canadian literature is therefore multicultural in its national dimension while, individually, authors and novels are Canadian. The term ‘transnational’, by contrast, raises altogether different questions, as it aims to transcend the nationalist project underpinning multiculturalism. The chapter first considers Canadian multicultural novels published during the period 1950–1970, a time of nation-building, before discussing the accelerated pace at which Canadian fiction began to evolve and diversify in the 1980s. It also analyses how the rhetoric of Canadianness changed in the 1980s and 1990s, embracing transnationalism and new intersectional theories of post-national and individual indentity.

Keywords:   multicultural novel, transnational novel, Canada, multiculturalism, Canadian literature, nation-building, Canadianness, Canadian fiction

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