The Urban Condition: Literary Trajectories through Canada’s Postmetropolis

Eva Darias-Beautell (Ed.)

by Silvia Caporale-Bizzini (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Eva Darias-Beautell (Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), Jeff Derksen (Simon Fraser University, Canada), Ana María Fraile Marcos (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain), Isabel González-Díaz (Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), María Jesús Hernáez Lerena (Universidad de La Rioja, Spain), Aritha van Herk

Purchase this book

$ 90
Availability: Available through resellers
currency displayed based on your location
(click here to change currency)

Examining the centrality of the city in Canadian literary production post-1960, this collection of critical essays presents an interdisciplinary representation of the urban from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. By analysing contemporary Canadian literature (in English), the contributors intend to produce not only an alternative picture of the national literary traditions but also fresh articulations of the relationship between (Canadian) identity, citizenship, and nation.
Since the 1960s, metropolitan regions across the world have experienced radical transformation. For critical urban studies scholars, this phenomenon has been described as a ‘restructuring’. This study argues that in Canada this ‘restructuring’ has been accompanied by a literary rearrangement of its canon, consisting of a gradual shift of focus from the wild or rural to the urban.
Alluding to the changes within contemporary Canadian cities, the term ‘postmetropolis’ locates the contributors’ shared theoretical framework within a critical postmodern paradigm. Centered on a particular selection of poetic or fictional texts, each essay pushes the theoretical framework further, suggesting the need for new tools of interpretation and analysis. This book presents an urban literary portrait of Canada that is both thematically and conceptually coherent. Using a range of interdisciplinary methodologies, it adeptly navigates a range of urban issues such as surveillance, asylum, diaspora, mobility, the queer, and the post-political.
This book will be of interest to those studying or working on Canadian literature, both in Canada and internationally, as well as to those scholars engaged in investigations that intersect literature and urban studies.


Chapter 1 The Urban Condition of Canadian Literature
Eva Darias-Beautell

Chapter 2 Troubling the Postpolitical City: Space, Politics, and Identity in The Young in One Another’s Arms and What We All Long For
Jeff Derksen

Chapter 3 The Traffic of Affects in Michael Helm’s Cities of Refuge
Ana Fraile-Marcos

Chapter 4 Cities of Belonging: Shifting Perceptions of the Urban in Italian Canadian Writers
Silvia Caporale-Bizzini

Chapter 5 Walking in the Queer City: Urban Life as Transformative Social Space in Ivan E. Coyote's Loose End
Isabel González Díaz

Chapter 6 Cityspace and Digital Poetry: Reading and Walking in Don Austin’s Hypertext ned after snowslides
María Jesús Hernáez Lerena

Chapter 7 Invisible Restlessness in the Yearning City: The City Classified and Consumed; or Joyfully Resonant
Aritha van Herk

Chapter 8 Unexpected Architexture: The Diagonal City in Timothy Taylor’s Story House
Eva Darias-Beautell


Works cited



Eva Darias-Beautell is Associate Professor of American and Canadian literature at the University of La Laguna (Spain). She has been Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Toronto, Ottawa and British Columbia, London, Berkeley, and Masaryk. Her books include Division Language and Doubleness in the Writings of Joy Kogawa (1998), Shifting Sands: Literary Theory and Contemporary Canadian Fiction (2000) and Graphies and Grafts: (Con)Texts and (Inter)Texts in the Fictions of Four Canadian Women Writers (2001). She has co-edited with María Jesús Hernáez Lerena Canon Disorders: Gendered Perspectives on Literature and Film in Canada and the United States (2007), and edited Unruly Penelopes and the Ghosts: Narratives of English Canada (2012). Dr. Darias-Beautell has directed six fully-funded international research projects on Canadian and American literatures, with a focus on the issues of multiculturalism, literary theory, gender, and the canon, including “The City, Urban Cultures and Sustainable Literatures: Representations of the Anglo-Canadian Post-Metropolis.” She currently leads the international research network “TransCanadian Networks: Excellence and Transversality from Spain about Canada towards Europe” and is the co-principal investigator (with María José Guerra Palmero) of the research project “Justice, Citizenship, and Vulnerability. Narratives of Precarity and Intersectional Perspectives”.

postpolitical city; Canadian literature; politics of identity; Jane Rule; Dionne Brand; urbanism; spatial justice; Michael Helm; Cities of Refuge; refugees; humanitarianism; analytical reason; Affect theory; knowledge; aesthetics; creative writing; violence;
contemporary Canadian literature; Italian Canadian literature; spatial theory; migrant subjectivities; urban spaces; gender binary vs. gender variance; Ivan Coyote; J. Halberstam; Michel de Certeau; queer time and space; resistance; spatial practices; transformative practices; transgender narratives; hypertext literature; Newfoundland; walking; digital poetry; Canadian cities; memory; flâneur; trauma; city; consumption; restlessness; mapping; performance; Canadian space; urbanity; walking the city; urban habitat; literary representations; Timothy Taylor; architecture; urban literature; Vancouver; transformative reading; spatial studies


Language and Linguistics


Series in Literary Studies

Related services

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

The Urban Condition: Literary Trajectories through Canada’s Postmetropolis





Number of pages


Physical size



2 B&W

Publication date

June 2019