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Remnants of Nation: On Poverty Narratives

Remnants of Nation is a ground breaking book that introduces a new genre called ‘poverty narratives’ to study literature and popular culture in the larger context of economic and literary disenfranchisement. While issues of race, gender, and sexuality are now circulating in literary studies and their ‘constructedness’ is being debated, the relations of class, poverty, and narrative have not been thoroughly examined until now. Here, poverty is treated not simply as a theme in literature but as a force that in fact shapes the texts themselves.rnrnRimstead adopts the notion of a common culture to include more ordinary voices in national culture, in this case the national culture of Canada. Short stories, novels, autobiographies, and oral histories by Canadian women, including canonized writers such as Gabrielle Roy, Margaret Lawrence, and Alice Munro, are considered in addition to lesser known writers and ordinary women. Drawing on theoretical work from a wide range of disciplines, this book is a deeply radical reflection on how literature, popular culture, and academic discourse construct knowledge about the poor in wealthy countries like Canada and how the poor, in turn, can inform the way we think about nation, community, and national culture itself.rnrnGiven the scope of the study, Rimstead’s work will appeal not only to literary scholars and Canadian social historians, but to students and instructors of women’s studies, cultural studies, and sociology.

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