518 pages, Paperback ISBN: 9781896133904 $19.95 CA
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About the BookThe Mountain and the Valley was published the same year and to as much acclaim as Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea and Steinbeck's East of Eden. Set in the early decades of the 20th century in the poor farming communities of Nova Scotia, Buckler's first novel stages a collision between two worlds. Buckler has been hailed as a "pioneer in Canadian writing" and a "pathbreaker for the modern Canadian novel" (Laurence and Atwood). But this edition breaks new ground by engaging with the author's relation to international currents and the novel's place on the international scene. The Mountain and the Valley is grounded in the local, but addresses questions of central/peripheral positioning which are identifiable in the "new" literatures of the post-colonial world as a characteristic anxiety of ex-imperial societies. The novel moreover reflects the philosophical interrogations of modernity transcending national boundaries. These questions involve a suspicion of an increasingly technologized and knowledge-based society, the problematic relations of the self with a reality which is arguably only a construction, and even the issue of how representation mediates our access to reality. Entering into a diachronic dialogue with writers and thinkers throughout the globe, from Emerson and Thomas Hardy to T.S. Eliot and Sartre, the novel illustrates not only the evolutions and loops in North American production, but also the overlapping of dominant and later, peripheral modernisms.
This edition buttresses the fresh view of Buckler's novel by providing a fuller version of the text than is available with the reprinted McClelland and Stewart NCL edition. It notably confronts the original American Henry Holt edition (1952) with Buckler's final typescript, in the interests of furthering textual authenticity and legitimacy. The significant variants are addressed and certain cuts in the text are restored. The Textual appendix endnotes not only comment on the modifications and criteria (ranging from commercial reasons to ethical or aesthetic ones), but also make certain passages which are not restored within the body of the text accessible to a specialized readership. The restored segments either illuminate culture-specific practices, or connect with modernist or authorial preoccupations and techniques.
This edition's multi-faceted explanatory notes also go beyond the traditional mandate of the genre. They innovate by engaging with aesthetic and philosophical considerations as well as historical, regional, and cultural issues. The abundant in-depth notes are complemented by Background/Context section, a biographical essay by Gwendolyn Davies, and a Criticism section which privileges recent publications and new scholarship. It contains reprints of landmark articles by Stephen Ross and Maia Bhojwani, but also contains a revisiting by Glenn Willmott of a former article to which he writes a response. It also provides essays commissioned especially for this book. Medrie Purdham's essay addressing the transtextual dialogism with Proust and the broader connections with an international literature of jealousy, and Travis Mason's fresh bioregional, ecocritical reading provide new insights.
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About the AuthorMarta Dvorak Professor of Canadian and postcolonial literatures at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, has authored Ernest Buckler: Rediscovery and Reassessment (2001) and edited Thanks for Listening: Stories and Short Fictions by Ernest Buckler (2004). Her most recent books, which include Tropes and Territories: Short Fiction, Postcolonial Readings, and Canadian Writings in Context (co-ed. with W.H. New, 2007) and Crosstalk: Canadian and Global Imaginaries in Dialogue (co-ed. with Diana Brydon, 2012), study writing and reading practices across cultural divides.