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You Can't Get There From Here : The Past as Present in Small-Town Ontario Fiction, Hardback Book

You Can't Get There From Here : The Past as Present in Small-Town Ontario Fiction Hardback


Rather than reading small-town representations in Canadian literature as portraits of a parochial past or a lost golden age, this book claims that they are best understood as sophisticated statements on the effects of modernity in an ever-more cosmopolitan world.

In Ontario, as urbanization increased over the past century, small towns became a popular literary trope, and Ryan Porter argues that literary small towns are reflections, and even sublimated explorations, of contemporary life. Referencing the theories of heritage scholars, who view popularly understood pasts as constructions shaped by changing sensibilities, You Can't Get There from Here argues that the literary small-town Ontario past is malleable, consisting of attempts to come to terms with the present in which the narrators find themselves.

The book focuses on four key Ontario authors - Stephen Leacock, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, and Jane Urquhart - as well as many secondary authors, and links the readings to much broader trends in actual Ontario towns and in popular culture.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literature: history & criticism
  • ISBN: 9781487504243

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