Canadian Literature and Poetry in English

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Early Canadiana

Digital Collections

Early Canadiana Online

A digital collection of works in English and French published from the time of the first European settlers up to the early twentieth century.

The collection includes colonial, provincial and federal government publications, Jesuit relations texts, and an English Canadian literature collection with over 800 works of drama, poetry and fiction, biography and exploration written before 1900.

It also contains early dailies, weeklies, specialized journals and mass-market magazines published up to 1930.

Available Online
Early English Books Online

Full-text digitized works printed in British North America and the United Kingdom between 1473 and 1700. Books about Canada mainly consist of exploration narratives and missionary accounts.

Available Online
Eighteenth-Century Collections Online

Full-text digitized works printed in Great Britain in the eighteenth century, encompassing an early historical stage of Canadian writing.

Available Online
Nineteenth-Century Collections Online


Available Online
North American Women’s Letters and Diaries: Colonial to 1950
Alexander Street Press

Twenty-seven diaries and other types of writing from Susanna Moodie, Letitia MacTavish Hargrave, Catherine Parr Traill, and others.

Available Online
Toronto Public Library Digital Archive

Includes a range of digitized primary source materials, including historical maps, books, and assorted ephemera (postcards, advertisements, flyers, and tickets).

Available Online


Canadian Literature in English: Texts and Contexts
Sugars, Cynthia, and Laura Moss, editors

The anthology includes important writings by canonical and non-canonical Canadian authors, published since the sixteenth century to 1920.

PR9184.3 .S93 2009
The Search for English-Canadian Literature: An Anthology of Critical Articles from the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
Ballstadt, Carl, editor

Essays, prefaces, and editorials published between 1823 and 1926 in a variety of works including the major literary periodicals of the time.

Among the authors are Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Sara Jeannette Duncan, Daniel Wilson, Goldwin Smith, G. Mercer Adam, Pelham Edgar, J.D. Robins, J.D. Logan, and Charles Mair.

PR9184.6 .S4
Early Voices: Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639– 1914
Downie, Mary A. et al, editors

A collection of first-person accounts of women’s experiences of Canada, representing a multitude of Canadian regions, national origins, and social classes. Includes writings by Anna Brownell Jameson, Catharine Parr Traill, Emily Carr as well as lesser known names.

HQ1453 .E33 2010


Bibliography of Canadiana Published in Great Britain, 1519– 1763
Waldon, Freda Farrell, and William F. E. Morley

The chronological arrangement of approximately 865 titles and editions in this comprehensive bibliography of printed works published in Great Britain to 1763 (the Treaty of Paris) includes books, pamphlets, maps, broadsides, and broadsheets which concern in some way any part of the present area of Canada.

Each entry includes a bibliographic description, a statement of format, pertinent references to other catalogs or bibliographies, notes about the work, and locations of known copies in Canadian libraries.

Z1365 .W34 1990
A Bibliography of Canadian Imprints, 1751–1800
Tremaine, Marie

A bibliography of books, handbills, pamphlets and other printed materials published in the provinces of Canada, compiled by Marie Tremaine, a prominent Canadian bibliographer.

In 1999, book-history scholars Patricia Fleming and Sandra Alston published a supplement to the bibliography.

Available Online

Z1365 .T7

Early Canadian Printing: A Supplement to Marie Tremaine’s A Bibliography of Canadian Imprints, 1751–1800
Lockhart Fleming, Patricia and Sandra Alston

Corrects the original publication by Tremaine and includes new content new with updated scholarship. An analytical bibliography of previously unrecorded eighteenth-century Canadian imprints and a source for the study of early print culture in the Maritimes, Quebec, and Ontario.

Available Online

Z1365 T7 1999

English Canadian Literature to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources
Moyles, R.G.

Provides a list of all the important primary and secondary sources of this period including: general reference guides; literary histories and criticisms; anthologies; major and minor authors; literature of exploration, travel and description, and selected nineteenth-century journals.

Z1375 .M68
Canada’s Early Women Writers: Texts in English to 1859
Gerson, Carole

This bibliographical study presents 152 women-authored English-language texts relating to Canada that were published from 1728 to 1859, including the works of Frances Brooke, Anna Jameson, Susanna Moodie, and Catherine Parr Traill.

Included are monographas that appeared before 1860, and personal life-writings (letters, diaries, travel journals) written before 1860 that were published later.

Z1376 .W65 G47 1994
The Republic of Childhood: A Critical Guide to Canadian Children’s Literature in English
Egoff, Sheila A.

A collection of critical essays, which are organized by genres and topics in Canadian children’s fiction and nonfiction: oral tradition, Inuit and Indigenous legends, early Canadian children’s books, folktales, fantasy, historical fiction, the realistic animal story, history and biography, poetry and plays, illustration and design, picture books and picture storybooks.

Each essay traces the development of the genre or subject and is accompanied by a list of books, published up to the mid-1970s. Second edition.

PN1009 .A1 E3 1975


Dictionary of Canadian Biography

The Biography provides authoritative biographical information about significant figures of Canada’s past who died between the years 1000 and 1930, or whose last known date of activity falls within these years.

There are detailed articles on Canada’s major historical figures, and short articles on minor personages who have hitherto found no place in reference works or general histories.

Available Online

F1005 .D49

Canadian Writers, 1890–1920
New, W.H., editor

Studies the effects of a post-Confederation nationalism on literary endeavour in Canada.

Available Online

PR9180.2 .C37 1990

Canadian Writers Before 1890
New, W.H., editor

French and English writers who flourished between the seventeenth century and the 1980s are covered in the bio-critical resource. Writers came from all walks of life including explorers, missionaries, civil servants, travel writers, lawyers and journalists.

Available Online

PR9180.2 .C38 1990

Canada’s Early Women Writers
Gerson, Carol

Includes biographical and publication information for more than 470 women who lived in Canada or wrote about Canada, and authored an English-language book or pamphlet of fiction or poetry that was published before 1940.

Available Online

History, Literary Interpretation & Criticism

The Cambridge Companion to Canadian Literature
Kröller, Eva-Marie

A comprehensive introduction to major writers, genres and topics in Canadian literature, including exploration and travel writing.

Available Online

PR9184.3 .C34 2017

The Cambridge History of Canadian Literature
Howells, Coral Ann and Eva-Marie Kröller, editors

A complete history of Canadian writing from its beginnings, including the literature of settlement and the history of Canadian publishing and the literary marketplace in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Available Online

PR9184.6 .C26 2009

A History of English-Canadian Literature to the Confederation: Its Relation to the Literature of Great Britain and the United States
Baker, Ray Palmer

Provides an historical background to the beginnings of Canadian literature and the emergence of a Canadian nationality.

Available Online

PR9184.3 .B3
Reference & Stacks

Home Ground and Foreign Territory: Essays on Early Canadian Literature
Fiamengo, Janice, editor

A collection of essays on early Canadian literature in English by renowned experts in early Canadian literary studies, including D.M.R. Bentley, Mary Jane Edwards, and Carole Gerson.

Aiming to be both provocative and scholarly, it encompasses a variety of perspectives, subjects, and methods, with the aim of reassessing the field, unearthing neglected texts, and proposing new approaches to canonical authors.

Available Online

PR9184.3 .H65 2014

Transatlantic Upper Canada: Portraits in Literature, Land, and British-Indigenous Relations
Hutchings, Kevin

Examines the writings of Haudenosaunee leaders John Norton and John Brant and Anishinabeg authors Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Peter Jones, and George Copway, as well as European figures John Beverley Robinson, John Strachan, Anna Brownell Jameson, and Sir Francis Bond Head.

Hutchings argues that, despite their cultural differences, many factors connected these writers, including shared literary interests, cross-Atlantic journeys, metropolitan experiences, mutual acquaintance, and engagement in ongoing dialogue over Indigenous territory and governance.

Available Online

PR9185.2 .H88 2020

Emigration, Nation, Vocation: The Literature of English Emigration to Canada, 1825–1900
Hanson, Carter F.

Explores English and Canadian fiction and nonfiction and the manner in which they describe early Canadian settlement. Writers examined in the book include Frederick Marryat, John Mackie, Elisabeth Strickland, Agnes Strickland, Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie, and F.M. Delafosse.

PR9185.6 .I45 H36 2009
Canadian Women in Print, 1750–1918
Gerson, Carole

Historical examination of women’s engagement with multiple aspects of print over some two hundred years in Canada, from the settlers who wrote diaries and letters to the New Women who argued for ballots and equal rights.

Available Online

PR9188 .G47 2010

Literary Culture and Female Authorship in Canada 1760–2000
Hammill, Faye

Six women writers from six different periods and how they portray Canadian women authors: Frances Brooke, Susanna Moodie, Sara Jeannette Duncan; L.M. Montgomery, Margaret Atwood, and Carol Shields.

PR9188 .H35 2003
Far off Metal River: Inuit Lands, Settler Stories, and the Making of the Contemporary Arctic
Cameron, Emilie

Explores how Samuel Hearne’s account of the Bloody Falls massacre has shaped the ongoing colonization and economic exploitation of the North.

Available Online

E99 .E7 C2177 2015

reviewed & updated 11 November 2021 | compiled by Agatha Barc

Last updated: October 26, 2023