Ethnic and Native Canadian Literature: A Bibliography

Description

445 pages
Contains Index
$135.00
ISBN 0-8020-5852-3
DDC 016.8088'9971

Year

1990

Contributor

Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R.G. Moyles is a professor of English at the University of Alberta,
co-author of Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British Views of
Canada, 1880-1914, and co-editor of The Collected Works of E.J. Pratt.

Review

In this multicultural country, we are rarely (or only dimly) aware of
the vast amount of literature written by Canadians of non-English
origin. Miska takes away whatever excuse we may have offered for this
ignorance by providing a comprehensive listing of ethnic literature for
“65 nationality groups and in more than 75 languages.” From Algerian
to Venezuelan, he offers us thousands of titles (full bibliographical
citations, often with annotations) of primary and secondary materials,
including some writers who are well known (Ostenso, Beissel, Grove) but
most of whom we have never heard of. And, although most of us will not
be able to read much of the literature cited, enough people speak every
language represented to make this a very valuable research tool,
especially since ethnic studies is becoming one of the most popular
academic pursuits.

My main criticism is that the section dealing with Native literature is
weak, seeming almost to be an afterthought. It deserves more than eight
pages. Dealing only with ethnic literature, leaving the Native element
for a later and fuller treatment, might have been wiser. Also
regrettable is Miska’s choice to cite only ethnic writers born outside
Canada, thereby omitting (or only barely mentioning) several
writers—like Lysenko and Salverson—whose works are at the centre of
ethnic studies. Ostenso (who was a child when her parents emigrated) is
included, while Lysenko (born shortly after her parents emigrated) is
not; this seems very odd, and does not contribute to scholarly progress.

In every other respect, however, this is an excellent compilation,
indicative of diligent and careful research.

Citation

Miska, John P., “Ethnic and Native Canadian Literature: A Bibliography,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/10846.