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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

  • Author / Creator
    Patterson, Geordan C. D.
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R39W8N
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of English and Film Studies
  • Specialization
    • Canadian Literature
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Hamilton, Susan (English and Film Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • LaForest, Daniel (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Devereux, Cecily (English and Film Studies)
    • Fiamengo, Janice, University of Ottawa (English)
    • Sinnema, Peter (English and Film Studies)
    • Simpson, Mark (English and Film Studies)