Edward McCourt's novels, for the most part, sank quickly into oblivion. This is due in part to the lukewarm critical reception he received by Desmond Pacey and others. Yet McCourt's novels and stories can be compared favourably to his contemporaries -- Mitchell, Layton, Ross, and Davies. He is usually labelled as a realist, but his plots and characterisation frequently deviate from the accepted realistic mode. His writing is an attempt to "effect some compromise" between realism and the Romance. Two of McCourt's novels -- Music at the Close and Walk Through the Valley -- are especially notable. There are parallels between McCourt's rigidly religious upbringing and the divisiveness and polarities he examines with great subtlety in his writing.
The basic outline of Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle, as well as of her earlier novels -- The Edible Woman and Surfacing -- is the actual structure of comedy, as in the Shakespearean sequence of social disorder, exile reintegration, and return to "natural" order. Atwood's term, "anti-comedy," is therefore misleading. All three novels rely heavily on opposites: order out of disorder personal wholeness out of mental collapse. The comic structure is embellished by twentieth century psychoanalytic paradigms, such as "neuroses" and "self-actualization."
Dans l'espace de la poésie québécoise moderne, on a longtemps cherché à comprendre la transition de la poésie suivant les lois de la prosodie classique à celle où le vers libre donna naissance à une nouvelle tradition. On souhaiterait donc être en mesure de dater incontestablement l'entrée du vers libre moderne au Canada. Celui-ci a souffert de quelques problèmes dont l'hésitation entre les styles poétiques et les maîtres de styles français (Verlaine, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Kahn et Moréas). Bien que l'on note que ce sont surtout les femmes poètes, dont Simone Routier, qui ont influencé l'utilisation du vers libre au Québec, ce sont Hector Saint-Denys-Garneau et Alain Grandbois que l'on déclare les maîtres québécois du vers libre. Ces derniers créent une oeuvre originale en utilisant le vers libre comme outil de style esthétiquement motivé, et en l'établissant comme norme de discours à l'intérieur de leur oeuvre.
The immigrant novel, as a genre of prairie writing, has been either ignored or scantily discussed by critics. Ontario-born writers, such as Ralph Connor, Robert Stead, and Nellie McClung endorsed (consciously or not) a largely Anglo-English ideal for the settlement of the prairies. Newer immigrant writers tended to undermine this English bias; Laura Salverson, Illia Kiriak, and Magdalena Rasheviciite-Eggleston portrayed in their writing the difficulties and prejudices European settlers had to endure in the face of English power and hegemony. The dilemma of identity, which may also be called "The Outsider Mentality," was a thematic concern for many immigrant writers,
William Osler was a physician and a man of letters in the mid-nineteenth century. His writings were influenced by the turbulence of the Anglican Church at the period, and by the philosophic disruptions engendered by Darwin. He transformed his waning idealism for religious faith into his love for medicine. He was important to medical reforms throughout North America. He believed that science, while distinct from what he termed "priest-craft," was not adverse to spirituality or even to religion "proper."
Susanna Moodie's Roughing it in the Bush employs certain fictional strategies. Susanna the author both implicitly and explicitly criticises Susanna the character for her deficiencies; this is usually done through the observations of other characters. The implication is that Moodie shaped her materials rather deliberately to a pre-conceived form rather than to a didactic account of pioneer life. The book, although episodic, has a larger unity that relies on fictional elements to reach fruition.
Robertson Davies' The Manticore mirrors the Canadian penchant for antithesis between the rational and the feeling, the bourgeois and the poor. The eighteenth century's love of reason finds its echo in the character of David Staunton, who appears to be modelled on that paradigmatic and therefore anonymous creature of reason. Staunton must encounter mysticism, passion, and dark psychological recesses in order to become more alive and humane. English Canada, like the character, loves Reason, and fears passion.
Mazo de la Roche's Delight is an ironic treatment of those romantic themes that its author treats with deadly seriousness in her other stories. Delight has two probable sources, both of which underline de la Roche's ironic stance in this novel -- a stance which some critics have missed. One source is that of one of her own earlier stories, "Canadian Ida and English Nell," and the other source is Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson. Delight is a good, light comedy, but at times de la Roche seems to have difficulty in sustaining the irony.
Charles G.D. Roberts' "Tantramar Revisited" was probably influenced by Sidney Lanier's "The Marshes of Glynn." There are similarities of rhythm, image, and metaphor between the two poems. On the other hand, it is conceivable that the similarities are coincidental: both poets were enamoured of similar verse styles, and both were familiar with similar landscapes, particularly marshlands.