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By Paul Simpson-Housley, Glen Norcliffe

In 1759, Voltaire in Candide observed Canada as "quelques arpents de neige." For numerous centuries, the picture prevailed and was once the single 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 now not a land for the fainthearted. Canada has yieled its wealth in basic terms reluctantly, whereas periodically threatening existence itself with its monitors of fury. gaining knowledge of its good looks and hidden assets calls for persistence and perseverance. a couple of Acres of Snow is a colletion of 22 essays that discover, from the geographer's standpoint, 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. integrated 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 "gleaming obelisks" of the mountains create an image that suggests antiquity from a more mythological perspective. All this is written in rolling, sonorous phrases that evoke the solemnity of the Bible and are underlined by the poetic effect given by a generous use of alliterative sound imagery. The vowels in phrases such as "sending the shadow of the mountain deep into"; the sharp glide consonants of "turning the frozen St. Lawrence crimson"; the initial plosives of "lining it with the blue shadows of the trees and buildings along its banks"; or, perhaps most effective of all, the whistling wind heard through the glides and fricatives of "snow over which the wind passed in a firm and continuous flux" (ending in a crisp consonant cluster echoing the crackle of cold snow) - all this creates for the reader a crystal-clear image of a landscape charged with movement and excitement and natural beauty.

Pierce I960) This he did with considerable energy and vigour. Indeed, one of the most powerful — some would say insidious — legacies of Jefferys's illustrations of educational materials is that his work has constituted the dominant source for the development of a consensual image of Canada's history.

1 In doing so, he helped Canadians to formulate the self-image upon which their national identity is based. 2 Although his readers already knew Canada to be a vast and beautiful land, MacLennan's evocative images had a profound effect on how Canadians came to perceive themselves in their landscape. The emergence of an indigenous literature is a prerequisite for national self-understanding, just as it is clear that a nation's self-perception is in turn profoundly affected by such literary expressions.

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