À la fin de 1986, Parotte note que la littérature acadienne ne semble plus être considérée comme un véhicule de projets collectifs. L'entreprise collective des années 70 cède la place à l'individualisme des années 80. Au "Je" collectif se substitue dorénavant un "Je" doté d'une voix individuelle. Ce nouveau style d'écriture en Acadie permet l'ouverture au monde, ou l'accès à une vision universelle, qui n'était pas toujours possible auparavant. Bien que l'écriture acadienne s'offre une plus ample vision du monde, on reste conscient d'un régionalisme ayant pour centre la ville de Moncton. La voix acadienne contemporaine rejoint désormais une multiplicité de lecteurs à l'extérieur du territoire acadien, lecteurs qui auparavant étaient exclus par cette fermeture au monde de l'écriture acadienne.
An important and recurrent theme in Maritime literature is what might be called the Kevin O'Brien syndrome, or dulce versus utile -- beauty versus usefulness. The lack of audacity, the puritanism, the contempt for educational and aesthetic development, the frontier high-jinks and frost-bitten imagination identified by writers and critics such as Archibald Lampman, A.J.M. Smith, E.K. Brown, Douglas Bush, Northrop Frye, and Margaret Atwood as typical of Canadian society and culture can be documented in Maritime literature from colonial times to the present. In fact, the mentality described, like the literature encoding it, finds some of its earliest and some of its most anguished articulations here -- not only in measured, academic reflections, but in a range of sardonic, despairing, or tragic dramatizations.
The very existence of Maritime women writers, let alone their emergence into prominence, is startling -- dazzling even -- given the tradition of Maritime fiction. For it is a tradition which has, to a remarkable degree, both excluded and maligned, or at least misrepresented, women in terms of their relation to the world of words -- spoken and printed. Women writers in the Maritimes have had to carry out two enormous tasks -- not only invading the predominantly masculine world of letters, but also wrestling with and countering the portrayal of their own sex as one implacably hostile to literature and literary culture. Three female Maritime writers representative of those who have accomplished these tasks are Nancy Bauer, Susan Kerslake, and Antonine Maillet.
As A.W. Pollard has stated, each book is "an event in the spiritual history of the country and city and therefore a record of the publishing of books ought to be kept". Yet, New Brunswick literature to this day remains virtually untouched by bibliographers. This article looks at the state of bibliography in the province -- primarily concerned with works written in English -- and suggests ways in which the state of bibliography can be improved.
A study of the positions which Thomas Hill -- Loyalist editor, Orange Lodge supporter, and Tory -- unwaveringly enunciated and defended in his editorial pages is central to any understanding of the literary, social, and political history of New Brunswick -- the development of Responsible Government, the Orange Lodge and its part in the province's long-standing religious antipathies, the evolution of the party system, and freedom of the press. The pages of the Loyalist, with their poetry, short stories, and reviews, provide a cultural snapshot of the period. In sum, Hill's causes and interests were the causes and interests of New Brunswick in the mid 1800s. Yet he remains slightly served by provincial historians. A biographical study of Hill's Fredericton years recreates the context in which his values developed and the perspective from which Hill viewed those elements of provincial life he laboured so consistently to conserve or improve.
Janice Tyrwhitt's "The Man from Desolation Creek" is brilliant journalism in that it gives the facts about Alden Nowlan's life in a human, readable way but, at the same time, so glosses over their deeper implications that a casual reader's feelings or imagination need never be disturbed. Yet it is these very facts, working on Nowlan's feelings and imagination, that produced the wonderfully bitter-sweet texture of his work. In other words, Tyrwhitt's article, designed for a popular audience, emphasizes such graphic details as would interest a non-literate public, but it ignores Nowlan's writing. Michael Brian Oliver's study, Poet's Progress, although it does on occasion use pertinent biographical details, is resolutely academic and literary. It is essentially thematic and it attempts to fit its subject into an already widely accepted thesis in current Canadian literary criticism. However, Nowlan can be seen as a regionalist rather than a modernist based on the poet's basically unchanging Maritime attitudes to two very important aspects of that region: women and outsiders.
A.G. Bailey talks about: whether sociocultural environment or the individual is responsible for innovation; New Brunswick as a crossroads of mental interaction; his interest in history; his early life in Quebec; what first stirred his interest in poetry; his time at the University of Toronto; writers that have influenced and excited him over the years; his time as a journalist; doing his PhD in History and Anthropology; the Nameless Society; working at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John; the founding of the History department at the University of New Brunswick; his work improving the UNB library and establishing its archives collection; and initiating the Bliss Carman society and The Fiddlehead.
Dr. Frye speaks of his childhood and adolescence in Moncton and the effect that had on his later life and career; of the influence of Canadian radio; of his time working at the Moncton Public Library; of his decision to attend university in Toronto; of his decision to write critically instead of creatively; of the influence of his Aunt Mary; of his socialization into religion and literature; of his early education and its effects on his own educational theories; of his music teacher, George Ross; of the serenity, sanity, and emotional stability of music; of his mentors, Professor Krug and E.J. Pratt; of his time at the Success Business College in Moncton; of his typing ability and its effects on the spatialization of literature; of the "genuine primitive," the reader who is innocent of literary conventions; of coming to terms with his own literary-religious sensibility; of Sir Hubert Parry; of the relationship between aesthetic and religious experience; and his favouring of the city over nature.
Skala recounts her first and subsequent meetings with Charles G.D. Roberts whom she met when he was in his late seventies, and she in her teens. Roberts was a man of paradox, an author of emotionally-distanced verse yet a man of strong sentiment. He was a chameleon, a person who was everything to everybody; he played the role of gentle poet, mentor, and editor; he was a husband, father, and friend. He wrote about unique characters, animal or human, and he was quite naturally an elitist, though his "elite" could have been chosen from all ranks of society, and, indeed, from all societies. Also discussed are some of the critical views on Roberts' work, praiseworthy and not, as well as Roberts' own critical assessment of Skala's early verse.