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Periodicals in Early Nineteenth-Century Lower Canada: A Study of Samuel Hull Wilcocke’s the Scribbler in the Field of Cultural Production Open Access


Other title
Romantic Magazines
Lower Canada
Wilcocke, Samuel Hull
Periodical Theory
Nineteenth Century
Bourdieu, Pierre
British North America
Canadian Periodicals
Romantic Periodicals
Periodical Form
Colonial Periodicals
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Patterson, Geordan C. D.
Supervisor and department
Hamilton, Susan (English and Film Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Fiamengo, Janice, University of Ottawa (English)
Simpson, Mark (English and Film Studies)
LaForest, Daniel (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Sinnema, Peter (English and Film Studies)
Devereux, Cecily (English and Film Studies)
Department of English and Film Studies
Canadian Literature
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation takes as a case study Samuel Hull Wilcocke’s periodical the Scribbler (1821-1827) to examine the field of cultural production in Lower Canada into which the Scribbler emerged and existed. I study the influence that the government and the merchant class had over print publication in this early period, the existence of British Romantic aesthetics in the periodicals of early Canada, and the ways in which a periodical can propose and perform an understandings of community and nationhood. In chapter One, I analyse the historical circumstances of the field of cultural production in Lower Canada from 1817-1828, especially in its relationship to the fields of power and economy. I investigate the growing persuasive power and symbolic capital that print accrued during the fur trade companies’ pamphleteering war. I explain how both Lord Dalhousie and the merchants were involved in literary production to serve their own ends, and how Wilcocke positioned himself rhetorically against these two posits by first appropriating the pamphleteering style and then the language of diplomacy. In chapter Two, I describe the Scribbler’s position-taking through its materiality and form. Specifically, I examine the influence of the Romantic construction of the editorial persona on the Scribbler and the Romantic magazines’ particular method of maintaining variety while celebrating subjectivity. I posit that British Romanticism had a greater impression on Canadian literature than scholars have hitherto acknowledged. In chapter Three, I argue that Wilcocke cultivates a sense of belonging in the Scribbler’s readership as well as promoting a proto-nationalist identity as part of an attempt to increase his cultural capital. The Scribbler performs the active participation of readers in order to inspire and solidify its centrality to the community. I examine the implications of the recognition of local writing and the attention paid in text to Canada as a place worthy of existence beyond its definition as an empirical outpost or a mercantile trading spot. I argue for periodicals as sites of political imaginings and the powerful ramifications that a periodical’s attempt to position itself in the field of cultural production can have on the construction of collective identity.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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