The Program

Congress Event

Edges of cultural memory: Recognition and commemoration of early Canadian writers


Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 16:30 - 18:00


Hickman Building - 105

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What do expressions of cultural memory tell us about the enduring value of authors in the public sphere and the roles of writers in shaping national consciousness or community identity? While we are familiar with textual recognition through reprints of their writings, editions of their letters, and critical studies and biographies, we also come across writers’ faces on postage stamps, their words on our currency, and their names on streets, parks, festivals, and prizes. The posthumous presence of some authors is maintained in restored houses and commemorative sites as well as with plaques that mark their lives or work. In this keynote address, Carole Gerson considers the patterns and significance of such recognition by exploring various facets of Canadian cultural memory, including the intertextual revival of early writers as literary characters, and the commemoration of writers through plaques and historic sites.