‘CanLit’ and today’s Canadian Writer – an Opinion
Book used in U of T’s 2018 course “The CanLit Boom of the 1960s”
“(University) humanities departments see themselves increasingly as having a revolutionary social-justice role that is just as important as – even inseparable from – their educational mandate. This discourages the old-fashioned role of writer as gimlet-eyed observer.
Because of this occupational proximity, the influence academics now have over the creation of poems and stories is greater than it has ever been. Writers are constantly held to account by their academic colleagues for ideological misgivings. There is a sense that the objections of a graduate student in sociology or geography must be addressed. Academics are not so much our critics as our policemen. And they are in the office next door.
This is how we have come to the point at which CanLit no longer means a national literature but rather a kind of administration.”
Russell Smith, Opinion, ‘CanLit isn’t what it used to be‘, Globe and Mail July 24th (quoted extract chosen by Ian Keith Anderson)