Chapter

Annals of Ice: Formations of Empire, Place and History in John Galt and Alice Munro

Katie Trumpener

in Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652143 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637744.003.0003
Annals of Ice: Formations of Empire, Place and History in John Galt and Alice Munro

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This chapter reviews Scotland's most complex nineteenth-century colonial novel, John Galt's half-forgotten 1831 Bogle Corbet, or the Emigrants, against Alice Munro's fiction. Galt and Munro inhabit very different temporal, political and literary moments, yet describe the same area, in present-day Ontario, while sharing an interest in the local texture of historical experience, using annalistic accretion to ground new forms of historical fiction. In Bogle Corbet, most ambitiously, Scotland appears as part of a worldwide imperial-industrial circuit. Bogle Corbet echoes the template of cultural encounter that Columbus established and Shakespeare allegorised. Munro grapples not with Galt's content but with his formal innovations, not with his ignorance, pre-emptory dismissal or suppression of Canadian history, but with the myriad possibilities his novels open up — for local history, a corrective, complex historiography, new forms of fictional meditation.

Keywords: John Galt; Alice Munro; Bogle Corbet; historical fiction; Scotland; Canadian history

Chapter.  6351 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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