Journal Article

Religion, Literature and Canadian Cultural Identities

Jamie S. Scott

in Literature and Theology

Volume 16, issue 2, pages 113-126
Published in print June 2002 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2002 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
Religion, Literature and Canadian Cultural Identities

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For the most part, the essays in this special Canadian issue reverberate with an overtly politicised appreciation of literature's transformative potential, as they explore things literary and religious in Canadian writers and writings, from late nineteenth‐century Protestant celebrations of Canada's role in Great Britain's South African War to contemporary Native Canadian representations of the violence perpetrated upon and endemic to their communities. This introduction locates these essays among shifts in Canadian social and cultural identity, from the biculturalism of the French and English, through the multicultural mosaic of twentieth‐century immigration, to today's transcultural kaleidoscope. Three areas of religion and literature work press for greater consideration, each in its own way postcolonial in character: religion, literature and ecology; foregrounding Native Canadian writers and writing in a reassessment of the role of Christian missionaries in the colonial and imperial project; and developing interpretive strategies for articulating comparative studies in Canadian religions and literatures.

Snow, North, Wilderness: these stereotypes of Canada suggest a fierce uniformity—but even from earliest times, such generalisations have been inaccurate. To read Canadian literature attentively is to realise how diverse Canadian culture is—how marked by politics and religion, how influenced by differences of language and geography, how preoccupied (apparently) by the empirical world, but how fascinated by the mysterious and the uncertain.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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