Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Too often, Canadian story cycles have been dismissed as failed novels or have simply been ignored. In my view, Canadian story cycles, as well as the sketch books that feed into this tradition, represent a remarkable achievement. A broad gradation of story cycles stands between the boundaries delimited by the short story miscellany on one side and the novel (or the discontinuous, but single, fictional narrative) on the other side. Such works signify the emergence in Canada, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, of a valuable form that has not yet attracted sufficient critical attention.;The introductory and concluding chapters of this dissertation present a general view of the Canadian story cycle. The introduction draws together the scattered critical remarks that have been made about this form, and comments on its history, the literary influences on the four main authors whom I discuss, Forrest L. Ingram's theories about the story cycle, and some matters of composition relating to my principal authors. The conclusion considers the story cycle in the context of related forms such as quasi-fictional collections, autobiographies, and discontinuous long poems. Numerous examples of Canadian story cycles are also mentioned, and their common features are identified.;The four central chapters of my dissertation offer detailed analyses of a reasonably representative range of contemporary Canadian story cycles: Hugh Hood's Around the Mountain: Scenes from Montreal Life, Jack Hodgins' Spit Delaney's Island: Selected Stories, Clark Blaise's A North American Education: A Book of Short Fiction, and Alice Munro's Who Do You Think You Are?. These analyses, and the more general commentary in my introduction and conclusion, are supported by relevant information derived from interviews and correspondence with Hood, Hodgins, Blaise, Munro, and other figures such as Kent Thompson, John Metcalf, and Douglas Gibson. Each of my analyses gives special emphasis to the overall design of the individual book, to what Munro terms "the buried links between the stories," and to the relations between parts of each cycle and the whole.



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