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In search of the city

In his Geist column, author and literary critic Stephen Henighan laments the fact that CanLit has largely turned itself away from the subject of city life. Citing the growing importance of film as well as “structural changes in the publishing industry to promote the historical romance as the novelistic form best adapted to the international market,” Henighan notes that “in the race to capture the attention of an increasingly visual world, the urban novel is at a disadvantage because, unlike the historical romance, it does not feature the epic battles, gory massacres, blizzards or ships trapped in ice that whet the appetites of film producers.” Many of Henighan’s arguments here will be familiar to readers of his essay collection When Words Deny the World, but they bear repeating.

Related links:
Stephen Henighan’s Geist column on CanLit and city life