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Authors and Audiences: Popular Canadian Fiction in the Early Twentieth Century

Author: Clarence Karr
Country: Canada
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (Montreal and Kingston)
Date: 2000
Pagination: xx + 317 pp.
Format: Jacketed hardcover
Trim: 6” x 9”
ISBN 0-7735-2076-7

Authors and Audiences: Popular Canadian Fiction in the Early Twentieth Century is a book-length study by Clarence Karr that was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2000. In it, Karr discusses the creation and reception of the work of L.M. Montgomery alongside four of her contemporaries: Ralph Connor, Robert Stead, Nellie L. McClung, and Arthur Stringer.

From the Back Cover

Authors and Audiences explores the cultural milieu of the 1890s through the 1920s, the period that led to the development of the golden age of hardcover fiction. Clarence Karr describes the relationships between authors, literary agents, and publishers in Toronto, London, New York, and other centres. He examines the relationship between authors and the movie industry and discusses the reception of fiction by critics and readers. In the first Canadian study to use fan mail to highlight readers’ interactions with author and text, Karr places the careers of authors such as Nellie McClung, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Arthur Stringer in an international setting. He shows how, despite living a considerable distance from the leading cultural production centres of New York and London, they became internationally recognized and read.

From the Dust Jacket

From the 1890s through the 1920s, the best-selling fiction of Ralph Connor, Robert Stead, Nellie McClung, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Arthur Stringer was internationally recognized. In this intriguing cultural history of the conception, production, and reception of popular fiction, Clarence Karr challenges the common assumption that best sellers are a conservative cultural influence, reflecting and promoting traditional values. By focusing on a society and its cultural leaders at a period when they were coming to grips with modernity, Karr provides a new perspective on popular culture and the interaction between readers and popular authors.


Preface (vi–xii)

Acknowledgments (xiii–xiv)

1. Five Authors in a Modern World (3–25)

2. The Golden Age (26–40)

3. Apprenticeships, Writing, and Careers (41–57)

4. Authors, Publishers, and Agents (58–79)

5. Ralph Connor, the Sky Pilot (80–93)

6. Robert Stead, Philosopher and Artist (94–107)

7. Nellie McClung and Pearlie Watson (108–23)

8. Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne (124–37)

9. Arthur Stringer, the Debonair Businessman (138–51)

10. Readers and Reading (152–69)

11. Books and Movies (170–88)

12. Being Canadian (189–204)

Conclusion: Journeys’ End (205–20)

Notes (221–306)

Index (307–17)


“The first Canadian scholarship that vigorously pursues the audience or the reader as a means to understand the role of fiction in Canadian culture.” —David Marshall, Department of History, University of Calgary.

This page last updated on 11 December 2022. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.