Writing Alberta

Building on a Literary Identity


Writing Alberta

Alberta writing has a long tradition. Beginning with the pictographs of Writing-on-Stone, followed by Euro-Canadian exploration texts, the post-treaty writing of the agrarian colonization period, and into the present era, Alberta writing has come to be seen as a distinct literature. In this volume Melnyk and Coates continue the project of scholarly analysis of Alberta literature that they began with Wild Words: Essays on Alberta Literature (2009). They argue that the essays in their new book confirm that Alberta's literary identity is historically contingent with a diverse, changing content, that makes its definition a work-in-progress. The essays in this volume provide contemporary perspectives on major figures in poetry and fiction, such as Robert Kroetsch, Sheila Watson, Alice Major, and Fred Stenson. Other essays bring to light relatively unknown figures such as the Serbian Canadian writer David Albahari and the pioneer clergyman Nestor Dmytrow.
Writing Alberta: Building on a Literary Identity offers a detailed discussion of contemporary Indigenous writers, an overview of Alberta historiography of the past century, and the fascinating autobiographical reflections of the novelist Katherine Govier on her literary career and its Alberta influences. This Collection demonstrates that Alberta writers, especially in the contemporary period, are not afraid to uncover, re-think, and re-imagine parts of Alberta history, thereby exposing what had been lain to rest as an unfinished business needing serious re-consideration.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Half Title Page 2
Series Page 3
Full Title Page 4
Copyright Page 5
Table of Contents 6
INTRODUCTION: Writing Alberta: Continuities,Interventions, and Lacunae 8
1: My Alberta Home 26
2: “My Bones Have Known this Land Long Before Alberta Was Born”: Intersections in Indigenous Geography and Indigenous Creative Expression 36
3: Strategies for Storying the Terrible Truth in John Estacio’s and John Murrell’s Filumena and Betty Jane Hegerat’s the Boy 52
4: Alberta’s Environmental Janus: Andrew Nikiforuk and Chris Turner 78
5: Alberta in the Alberta Novels of David Albahari 98
6: Science and the City: The Poetics of Alice Major’s Edmonton 124
7: Double Vision in Betty Lambert’s Jennie’s Story 142
8: Seeing Seeing, and Telling Telling: Framing and Transparency in Robert Kroetsch’s The Hornbooks of Rita K. and James Turrell’s “Twilight Arch” 156
9: The Mythological and the Real: Sheila Watson’s Life and Writing 168
10: Gwen Pharis Ringwood and Elsie Park Gowan: Writing the Land 1933-1979 182
11: Writing Alberta’s History 208
12: Fin de Siècle Lunacy in Fred Stenson’sThe Great Karoo 230
13: The “Father” of Ukrainian-language Fiction and Non-fiction in Alberta: Rev. Nestor Dmytrow, 1863-1925 256
Contributors 276
Campus Alberta Collection 281
Back Cover 282