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H-Canada, H-Net Reviews


Gillian Roberts’s Prizing Literature: The Celebration and Circulation of National Culture examines the role of literary prizes in the perception of Canadian authors and in evaluations of their contributions to Canadian cultural capital. The book is six chapters in length, of which the first frames the terms and the scope of Roberts’s analysis. In it, she positions national and international literary prizes in terms of the roles they play in hospitality. The next four chapters are dedicated to each of the study’s authors, whose canonical texts (paradoxically or not) es- chew nationalistic narratives. In the last chapter, “Con- clusion, or Discrepant Invitations,” Roberts opens with a reading of Yann Martel’s What Is Stephen Harper Reading? (2009) before entering into a discussion about the uneasy fit of Aboriginal literature in Canadian cultural identity.


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