By Paul Simpson-Housley, Glen Norcliffe

In 1759, Voltaire in Candide mentioned Canada as "quelques arpents de neige." For a number of centuries, the picture prevailed and was once the only most often utilized by poets, writers, and illustrators. Canada was once perceived and portrayed as a chilly, tough, and unforgiving land. this used to be no longer a land for the fainthearted. Canada has yieled its wealth basically reluctantly, whereas periodically threatening existence itself with its monitors of fury. getting to know its attractiveness and hidden assets calls for endurance and perseverance. a couple of Acres of Snow is a colletion of 22 essays that discover, from the geographer's point of view, how poets, artists, and writers have addressed the actual essence of Canada, either panorama and cityscape. "Sense of position" is obviously severe within the works tested during this quantity. incorporated one of the book's many matters are Hugh MacLennan, Gabrielle Roy, Lucius O'Brien, the paintings of the Inuit, Lawren Harris, Malcolm Lowry, C.W. Jefferys, L.M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Bishop, Marmaduke Matthews, Antonine Mailet, and the poetry of jap Canadians.

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The detailed but rather static opening scene comes to life in the novel when Neil Macrae descends down into Halifax and "the throbbing life of the city" (5). As he walks the streets of Halifax, the reader sees the city through his eyes: its crowded streets bustling with wartime traffic; girls with English faces; sailors from a British cruiser; soldiers, dock workers, civilians. 8 Canadian readers were further rewarded with the following word-picture of Nova Scotia. The affection and warmth MacLennan felt for the landscape of his youth are conveyed to the reader as the lights dim and a cinematic panorama of the region unfolds: A growing moon, pale as the inside of an oyster shell, hung over the forests and harbours of Nova Scotia, and in this nocturnal glimmer the edges of the province were bounded by a wavering flicker of greyish white, where the sea broke over the rocks of the coast.

His panoramic overviews of the subcontinent fired the imagination of his readers and allowed them to soar beyond the towns and villages they lived in to experience the vast sweep of northern terrain that was their land. 5 His life-giving rivers flowed through prehistoric rock formations to reach the seas and his craggy coastlines reflected the rugged character of the people who lived there. In his next novel, Two Solitudes (1945), MacLennan gave Canadian readers symbolic images of nationhood when he described for them the scarlet maple trees of Quebec, which were "a miraculous upward rush of cool flame" (2); a grove of sugar maple on a summer night, like "a huge net of shadows suspended from the treetops" (179); or the Canada geese flying overhead in autumn and spring (56).

While the new technology improved public access to Canadian volumes and their illustrations, of even more importance was the emergence of a new genre, the illustrated magazine. George Edouard Desbarats applied the new technology to two illustrated newspapers, The Canadian Illustrated News (1869—83) and L'Opinion Publique (1870-83). In 1888, Desbarats and his eldest son, William Amable Desbarats, began publishing The Dominion Illustrated (1888-93). The implications for developing a Canadian consciousness were not lost upon them.

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