'Come on back to the war': Germany as the other national other in Canadian popular culture

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This essay argues for bringing the methodology of post-colonial studies to bear on mainstream Canadian popular culture, towards a rethinking of Canada's ideological affinities with nations traditionally considered as Canada's 'Others,' the United Kingdom and the United States, through the mobilizations of popular culture for militarized nation-building. This argument identifies Germany's role in popular Canadian literature as a recurring national 'Other' against which Canadian nationalism develops, sensitized to the discourse of national security. Representations of Germany as a chronotope of distant war and natural evil recur among some of the most internationally famous works of Canadian literature. Those read here include Anne of Green Gables, 'In Flanders Fields,' Never Cry Wolf, The Handmaid's Tale, the oeuvre of Leonard Cohen, and Neuromancer. The essay concludes with thoughts on the ironies and implications of transnational stereotype and state policy in the popular uses of literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-781
Number of pages18
JournalUniversity of Toronto Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2009


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