Damn na­tion

The Walrus - - FRONT PAGE -

I agree with the ar­gu­ment in An­dré For­get’s es­say (“The Search for the Great Cana­dian Novel,” the­wal­rus. ca) that more Cana­dian nov­els should deal with “the breadth of a par­tic­u­lar so­ci­ety” and with class more gen­er­ally. I also agree that pre­dictabil­ity is a bad thing when it comes to lit­er­ary fic­tion. What struck me most was For­get’s sug­ges­tion that English Cana­di­ans don’t “see them­selves as par­tic­i­pat­ing in a na­tional so­ci­ety at all.” To this I would re­spond, “Fair enough.” Hav­ing spent sev­eral years writ­ing a dis­ser­ta­tion on ideas of “the na­tion” in Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture, I’d go even fur­ther and say that that old, of­ten mis­un­der­stood term ( na­tion) doesn’t mean­ing­fully ap­ply to Canada. And it shouldn’t de­ter­mine what we ex­pect of our lit­er­a­ture.

Carl Watts

Mon­treal, QC

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