Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women's Authorship

By Linda M. Morra

© 2014

Calling upon the archives of Canadian writers E. Pauline Johnson (1861–1913), Emily Carr (1871–1945), Sheila Watson (1909–1998), Jane Rule (1931–2007), and M. NourbeSe Philip (1947– ), Linda M. Morra explores the ways in which women’s archives have been uniquely conceptualized in scholarly discourses and shaped by socio-political forces. She also provides a framework for understanding the creative interventions these women staged to protect their records. Through these case studies, Morra traces the influence of institutions such as national archives and libraries, and regulatory bodies such as border service agencies on the creation, presentation, and preservation of women's archival collections.

The deliberate selection of the five literary case studies allows Morra to examine changing archival practices over time, shifting definitions of nationhood and national literary history, varying treatments of race, gender, and sexual orientation, and the ways in which these forces affected the writers’ reputations and their archives. Morra also productively reflects on Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever and postmodern feminist scholarship related to the relationship between writing, authority, and identity to showcase the ways in which female writers in Canada have represented themselves and their careers in the public record. 

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.7in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2014

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Quick Overview

Using five case studies, Linda M. Morra explores the ways in which women’s archives have been uniquely approached and shaped by socio-political forces.

Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women's Authorship

By Linda M. Morra

© 2014

Calling upon the archives of Canadian writers E. Pauline Johnson (1861–1913), Emily Carr (1871–1945), Sheila Watson (1909–1998), Jane Rule (1931–2007), and M. NourbeSe Philip (1947– ), Linda M. Morra explores the ways in which women’s archives have been uniquely conceptualized in scholarly discourses and shaped by socio-political forces. She also provides a framework for understanding the creative interventions these women staged to protect their records. Through these case studies, Morra traces the influence of institutions such as national archives and libraries, and regulatory bodies such as border service agencies on the creation, presentation, and preservation of women's archival collections.

The deliberate selection of the five literary case studies allows Morra to examine changing archival practices over time, shifting definitions of nationhood and national literary history, varying treatments of race, gender, and sexual orientation, and the ways in which these forces affected the writers’ reputations and their archives. Morra also productively reflects on Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever and postmodern feminist scholarship related to the relationship between writing, authority, and identity to showcase the ways in which female writers in Canada have represented themselves and their careers in the public record. 

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘This minutely researched and thoroughly engaging study expands scholarly understanding of how literary archives are shaped by national institutions.’


    Cristina Ivanovici
    British Journal of Canadian Studies vol 29:02:2016

    ‘Morra hopes that her book will encourage researchers to think more broadly about archives’ formations, their locations, and the relationships they organize and epitomize. Her case studies provide a sustained engagement with these issues, although each could be read as a fascinating stand-alone piece.’


    Andrea Beverley
    English Studies in Canada vol 41:04:2015

    ‘Through its range of genres and cultural periods, meticulous scholarship, and respect for the public life of women writers’ documents, Unarrested Archives recalibrates perspectives on what might be uncovered and what must be preserved.’


    Patricia Demers
    BC Studies February 2016

    ‘An excellent introduction to textual feminism as a materialist practice…. This book will remind readers of why we need feminism in the second decade of the twenty-first century.’


    Tanis MacDonald
    Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature vol 35:01:2016

    The Unarrested Archive contains five excellent studies of Canadian women writers and their personal and literary archives. This book will make an important contribution to Canadian literary and cultural studies.”
    Carole Gerson, Department of English, Simon Fraser University

    “This isn’t just a book of exhaustively researched case studies about women, archives, and CanLit; it represents a vital and compelling response to the transformation of archival studies that is presently taking place across multiple disciplines.”
    Dean Irvine, Department of English, Dalhousie University

    “Linda Morra’s Unarrested Archives reminds us that the arrival of a writer’s fonds in an archive marks the inauguration of another public life – one structured by the legal and political complex of the archive itself. Theoretically sophisticated and meticulously researched, the case studies that compose Morra’s study trace how five Canadian women writers and their works have been reinvented, appropriated, and at times eclipsed by the national, institutional, and private archives where their collections are housed. A notable contribution to theorizing on Canadian literature, women’s writing, and archives, this book will be of interest to scholars, archivists, and anyone with an interest in the legal and political terrain of contemporary archives.”


    Kate Eichhorn, Culture and Media Program, The New School
  • Author Information

    Linda M. Morra is an associate professor in the Department of English at Bishop’s University and the current president of the Quebec Writers’ Federation. She edited the collected letters of Emily Carr and Ira Dilworth published with the University of Toronto Press (2006), and edited and annotated Jane Rule’s Taking my Life (2011).
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    1. The Archive of Embodiment: Pauline Johnson’s “ A Cry from an Indian Wife”

    2. Her “Eye” Was Her “I”: Emily Carr, Autobiography, and the Archive of Kinship

    3. “It’s What You [Don’t] Say”: Sheila Watson, the Imminent Narrative, and the Archive of Displacement

    4. Jane Rule and the Archive of Activism: Negotiating Imaginative – and Literal – Space for a Nation

    5. The Minor Archive: M. NourbeSe Philip and Mediations of Race and Gender in Canada

    Conclusion

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