British Journal of Canadian Studies

'A righteous cause': war propaganda and Canadian fiction, 1915–1921

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2011), 24, (1), 31–48.

Abstract

War fiction enjoys a long critical and historical legacy in Canada, although little attention has been paid to the many novels and stories published during and immediately after the First World War. The line between literature and propaganda in many works of this period is sometimes pronounced, sometimes difficult to distinguish. Popular novelists such as Gilbert Parker and Ralph Connor used their writings and widespread influence overtly to support the Allied propaganda effort. Others, such as Stephen Leacock, L.M. Montgomery and Harry M. Wodson, reflected the rhetoric of imperialism, total victory and Germanophobia that effective propaganda had made an intrinsic part of wartime discourse in Canada. By recovering, contextualising and analysing fictional works about war published between 1915 and 1921, this article seeks a deeper understanding of the complicated connections among war, propaganda, literature and Canadian society.

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Author details

Webb, Peter