Writing Unemployment: Worklessness, Mobility, and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Canadian Literatures
This landmark study explores the cultural and literary history of unemployment in Canada from the 1920s to the 1970s, which were crucial decades in the formation of our current conception of Canada as a nation. Writing Unemployment asks how writers with diverse political affiliations participated in and protested against the discursive framing of unemployment. It argues that Depression-era conceptions of unemployment shaped later twentieth-century understandings of both worklessness and citizenship.
By examining novels, short stories, poetry, manifestos, and agitprop, Jody Mason situates the literary history of the cultural left in a broader context, challenges the dominant literary-historical narrative of the pioneer settler, and contributes to new scholarship on Canada’s modern period. By bridging close textual readings with book and publishing history, economic and sociological analysis, and original archival research, Writing Unemployment offers new ideas on work by many of Canada’s most important writers.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 272 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
Choice Magazine vol 51:03:2013
‘Jody Mason’s impressive new book deploys joblessness, along with the attendant political and cultural strategies developed to combat it.’
Canadian Literature Spring 2014
‘Writing Unemployment is a fascinating blend of cultural materialism, literary studies, and labour history… The Theoretical and methodological breadth of Jody Mason’s argument is impressive… A rich powerful and useful book.’
Labour/Le Travail vol 74:2013
‘Writing Unemployment offers its readers diverse points of entry into reading the literatures of labour. Its rigorous scholarship and theoretical acuity are evident everywhere. Jody Mason crosses disciplinary boundaries to great effect and, in doing so, challenges ways in which scholars have so far assessed leftist Canadian literature. This study is especially remarkable for its deft incorporation of a vast array of government, political, and economic documents and its highly original and engaging insistence on critical attention to the means and modes of aesthetic production.’
Dean Irvine, Department of English, Dalhousie University and Director, Editing Modernism in Canada
Author InformationJody Mason is an assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Carleton University.
Table of contents
1. Towards A Politics of Mobility: Vagabonds, Hobos, and Pioneers
2. The Politics of Unemployment in Leftist Periodical Cultures, 1930–39
3. Novel Protest in the 1930s
4. The Postwar Compact and the National Bildungsroman
5. New Left Culture and the New Unemployment
Conclusion: Unemployment in Neoliberal Canada
PrizesGabrielle Roy Prize awarded by Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures - Short-listed in 2014
Subjects and Courses