Saturday, August 11, 2012

Norry Comments on it in 1965

Sharon Harris brought my attention to this article by Russell Smith in this week's Globe and Mail.

Strange that Smith would complain about something that, in his estimation, has not only has existed since 1955, but has been critiqued since 1965. If Northrop Frye--not the most contemporary-minded and radical of our critics--found this trend problematic 35 years ago, why is this news today? What truth to power is he speaking? And what does it say about Smith's peers like Michael Redhill, Anne Michaels, Michael Crummey, Ross King, or Jane Urquhart,  who continue to uphold this tradition?

From Frye's "Conclusion to a Literary History of Canada":

Why do Canadians write so many historical romances ...? One can understand it in the earlier period: the tendency to melodrama in romance makes it part of a central convention of that time. But romances are still going strong in the twentieth century and if anything even stronger in our own day. They get a little sexier and more violent as they go on, but the formula remains much the same: so much love-making, so much "research" about antiquities and costume copied off filing cards, more love-making, more filing cards. There is clearly a steady market for this ....

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