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v2.1 Reference

Counterblasting Canada

Marshall McLuhan, Wyndham Lewis, Wilfred Watson, and Sheila Watson

In 1914, Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound—the founders of vorticism—undertook an unprecedented analysis of the present, its technologies, communication, politics, and architecture. The essays in Counterblasting Canada trace the influence of vorticism on Marshall McLuhan and Canadian Modernism. Building on the initial accomplishment of the magazine Blast, McLuhan's subsequent Counterblast, and the network of artistic and intellectual relationships that flourished in Canadian vorticism, the contributors offer groundbreaking examinations of postwar Canadian literary culture, particularly the legacies of Sheila and Wilfred Watson. Intended primarily for scholars of literature and communications, Counterblasting Canada explores a crucial and long-overlooked strand in Canadian cultural and literary history.

Contributors: Gregory Betts, Adam Hammond, Paul Hjartarson, Dean Irvine, Elena Lamberti, Philip Monk, Linda M. Morra, Kristine Smitka, Leon Surette, Paul Tiessen, Adam Welch, Darren Wershler.

About the Authors

Gregory Betts is the Chancellor's Chair for Research Excellence at Brock University, the Director of Canadian Studies, and an Associate Professor in English. He is the author of Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations (UTP 2013). Paul Hjartarson is Professor Emeritus in English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His most recent book, co-authored with S.C. Neuman and EMiC UA, is The Thinking Heart: The Literary Archive of Wilfred Watson (UAP 2014). Kristine Smitka teaches in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. To better understand the relationship between print and digital forms of publishing, her research focuses on the paperback book as a medium that defies the old vs. new media binary.


"Reading Counterblasting Canada one has the impression that this quartet—Lewis, McLuhan, and Wilfred and Sheila Watson—and their thinking about culture touched just about every discipline and genre available in the mid to late twentieth century. Finally, then, these collections not only open up new critical conversations about Watson and others, they remind us that our provocative predecessors are also mentors who might help us reimagine the liberal arts in the neo-liberal university." [Full review at]—Kait Pinter, The Bull Calf, 6.2

"[The essays] coincide and illuminate a narrative attentive to modernist and postmodernist discourses, patterns of influence, media theory, and the future of the humanities more generally.... While every essay is rich in theory and critical reflection, it is witnessing career- and life-altering conversations unfold on every page of this book that is sometimes most engrossing. Those conversations are made all the more impressive by the archival research peppered throughout.... The model of influence presented in Counterblasting Canada is compelling because it is partly a site of conflict.... Counterblasting Canada will have obvious appeal to communications, media studies, or Canadian literature scholars (especially those interested in the recent conversationsabout later modernism, intermodernism, and the like..." Canadian Literature 232 (Spring 2017) [Full review at]—Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten


9781772120370 : counterblasting-canada-betts-hjartarson-smitka
Paperback / softback
344 Pages
$54.99 USD

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