Trees in Emily Carr

PUBLICATIONS: Trees in Emily Carr

Excerpt from: Hoogland, C. (2004). The Trees in Emily Carr’s Forest:

The Book of Small as Aesthetic and Environmental Text. 
Canadian Children’s Literature.

Summary: Emily Carr’s fictionalized remembrances of her childhood experiences in The Book of Small provide insight into Carr’s artistic interpretation of the Canadian, West Coast, landscape. Her choice to convey her artistic (aesthetic) approach to experience through a child character demonstrates her belief that the child and the artist approach experience in similar ways. The language in The Book of Small emulates a child’s (or poet’s) experimentation of the links between perception and language. Language is used not simply to describe, but to evoke the action and the quality of the encounter. Carr’s autobiographical fiction has implications for contemporary attitudes toward childhood and toward the environment, both of which play important roles in children’s literature. Renewed literary interest in this great Canadian modernist artist is shaping the “Canadian aesthetic” in ways that may influence how “setting” in Canadian children’s literature is constructed and received.

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