NCL 107 – Headwaters of Canadian Literature by Archibald MacMechan


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Headwaters of Canadian Literature  was not included in Series One.


Headwaters of Canadian Literature Archibald MacMechan (New Canadian Library N107) front coverSeries Two

From the Back Cover:

Archibald MacMechan’s important pioneering work of criticism, Headwaters of Canadian Literature, had two-fold importance when first published in the 1920’s.

First, it helped convince some well-read Canadians that their country did, indeed, have a literature and an incipient literary tradition. Second, it lent that literature added impetus by defining its tradition and by applying perspective, straightforward and uncompromising critical standards to the works it dared proclaim worthy of such attention.

The value of MacMechan’s work today derives partly from the first aspect, which affords an historical perspective on the beginnings of Canadian literature. It also rests very much on the second aspect, providing still valid insights, appreciations and criticisms of works which remain vital elements in the Canadian cultural climate. A further value of MacMechan’s work is noted by M.G. Parks, in the introduction: “His attempt to see Canadian literature whole, to think of English-Canadian and French-Canadian as contributing to one literature, is…a model…for a synthesis still contemplated but unachieved.”


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