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Universal anonymity

Throughout this century, Canadian literature has struggled to establish its own identity. Now, says Naim Kattan, its multiple identities are a model for the future

By Naïm Kattan   July 1996

Is there a Canadian literature? Throughout this century, Canadian writers have failed to make a clear choice between Europe and the US. Those who wrote in English considered themselves part of an empire, with London their metropolis. French-speaking Canadians, too, remained loyal to an empire. They entrenched themselves in religion-Catholics who used their language as a safeguard against Protestant materialism.

This loyalty was not always reciprocated: for Canadian writers, the road to London or Paris was one way. They were the neglected, forgotten children. And if Canadians of both languages remained loyal to their countries of origin, they also came…

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