Old Provinces, New Modernisms: Toward an Editorial Poetics of the Maritime Little Magazine

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University of New Brunswick


As a territory located on Canada's geopolitical periphery—a territory lacking key points of access to large presses, arts capital, and cultural media—the Maritimes has been disproportionately served by alternative media like little magazines. Nevertheless, while there has been a substantial body of research dedicated to little magazine culture in Canada, its urban beginnings, and its contribution to the emergence of literary modernism, few studies have examined the development and influence of the little magazine in the Maritime Provinces. Taking as representative examples “The Fiddlehead” (1945– ), “Katharsis” (1967–1971), “The Square Deal” (1970–1971), “Sand Patterns” (1972–8), and “The Antigonish Review” (1970– )—little magazines which have distinguished themselves in the region for breadth of readership and authorship, editorial leadership, and cultural activism—this thesis examines the literary, cultural, and political functions of Maritime literary magazines from the qi.id-nineteenth century up to the 1980s. Paying close attention to the political, social, and economic environments in which these magazines have emerged and to which they have responded, this thesis sets forth an editorial poetics of the Maritime little magazine.