Reinventing the Self in the Canadian Multicultural Space(s): Frederick Philip Grove’s Search for Identity

Rocco De Leo


Space crucially influences how individuals who live (in) it construct their personal identities. This issue has been fundamental to the making of contemporary Canadian culture: by looking at or imagining their place, Canadian authors become the writers of two homelands who find their space in the global cross-border English-speaking culture as well as in the Canadian multi-ethnic or post-ethnic society. These authors become mapmakers as they introduce new sources of thought into a different space, and try to find their Self from a culture they have left behind. This essay takes into consideration the figure of Frederick Philip Grove, a cultivated European immigrant who left Berlin in 1909 to start a new life in North America and became a well-known Canadian fiction writer. The paper will concentrate on how he explored Western prairie pioneer life and its vibrant multi-cultural communities, and to what extent the Canadian natural and cultural realm Grove inhabited continuously influenced the definition of individuality he captures in his autobiography In Search of Myself (1946).


space; Canada; landscape; experience; autobiography; fiction

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