In the Interval of the Wave: Prince Edward Island Women's Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Life Writing

In the Interval of the Wave: Prince Edward Island Women's Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Life Writing

by Mary McDonald-Rissanen


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Taking its title from a poem by Prince Edward Island poet Anne Compton, In the Interval of the Wave is a close study of diaries written by Prince Edward Island women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Women from both rural and urban regions of the Island recorded their lives in a genre that allowed them to play with the conventions of the language they knew. For busy farm wives, their quotidian language, syntax, and choice of topic appear simple, whereas for the urban elite like Margaret Gray Lord and Wanda Wyatt, the erudition of their diaries suggests a more leisured existence. Mary McDonald-Rissanen argues that the initial reception of the text - its physical appearance, handwriting, gaps, and flood of words - provides interesting insights for understanding the circumstances of Prince Edward Island women from times past. Intertextual readings of the diaries alongside other cultural artifacts such as paintings, histories, folk stories, and songs embellish the idiosyncratic diary discourse. Diaries enabled women to write their voices, create a subjective identity, and redefine their place in the world. In the Interval of the Wave exposes lives lived and recorded in a special moment and place never far from the rhythm of the sea.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780773543898
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 07/30/2014
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mary McDonald-Rissanen was born and brought up in Prince Edward Island and lives in Finland where she teaches English, lectures, and conducts research on language and literature.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Prologue: In the Interval of the Wave xiii

1 The Tumbled Silence of Stone: Prince Edward Island Women's Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Life Writing 3

2 In Their Long-Belted Dresses: Images of Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Prince Edward Island Women 27

3 The Emerging Pioneer Subject: Entrepreneur Emma Chadwick Stretch's 1856-60 Letters and Ledger 58

4 A Rural Woman's Perceptions of Home and Beyond: Farm Wife Amy Darby Tanton Andrews "A Line a Day," 1910-1915 81

5 The Modern Professional Woman: Teacher Lucy Bardon Palmer Haslam's Unpublished Journals (1884-1943) 103

6 Urban Bourgeois Women and Their Everyday: Margaret Gray Lord (1845-1941) and Wanda Lefurgey Wyatt (1895-1998) 149

7 Travelling Women's Diaries: Mercy Ann Coles (1864), Violet E. Goldsmith (1901), Carrie Holman (1917), Vera Hyde (1929-30) and Lucy Palmer Haslam (1932) 184

8 Now Passion's Past: Life Writing, Women and Their Times 213

Notes 223

Bibliography 245

Index 263

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From the Publisher

“Through careful analyses of the materiality of the texts, as well as the language and style of particular diaries, McDonald-Rissanen provides a fascinating account of the subjectivities of these remarkable (if ‘ordinary’) women. Accessing a previously untapped archive, In the Interval of the Wave makes a solid contribution to scholarship on Canadian women’s life writing.” Linda Warley, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo

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