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October 19 , 2010

The Gloomy Prospect

Early Voices — Portraits of Canada by Women Writers, 1639–1914


This selection of writings by twenty-nine women, known and unknown, professional and amateur, presents a unique portrait of Canada through time and space, from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries, from the Maritimes to British Columbia and the Far North. There is a range of voices from high-born wives of governors general, to an Icelandic immigrant and a fisherman’s wife in Labrador. A Loyalist wife and mother describes the first hard weather in New Brunswick, a seasick nun tells of a dangerous voyage out from France, a famous children’s writer writes home about the fun of canoeing, and a German general’s wife describes habitant customs. All demonstrate how women’s experiences not only shared, but helped shape this new country.

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