Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature is a survey of Canadian literature by Margaret Atwood, one of the best-known Canadian authors. It was first published by House of Anansi in 1972.
A work of literary criticism, as Atwood writes in her preface to the 2004 edition, Survival was an attempt to deal with her belief that in the early 1970s, Canadian literature was still looking for a grounding in a national identity that would be comparable to that of Great Britain or the United States. The thematic approach of the book and its intended non-academic audience corresponds with a focus on contemporary Canadian literature as a point of entry. Therefore, the book does not provide an extensive survey of the historical development of Canada’s literature, but an introduction to what is Canadian about Canadian literature for readers as citizens of Canada. In Survival, literature emerges as central to the development of national identity, what she calls a sense of “here”.
In 1996, the work was republished. In 2004, the work was reprinted again alongside an introduction by the author. In 2012, a third reprinting occurred in a large type edition.
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