For those of us who take seriously the various and imbricated post-isms that underwrite and overdetermine our critical utterances, the task of writing literary history, even in as narrow a fragment as that demarcated by my title (and imposed by the word-limit of this forum), is both exciting and daunting. Competing claims and imperatives - to be as thorough as possible in coverage (and of what?) or to make strategic choices for the sake of a coherent narrative? to speak in lists or to historicize the scene(s) of writing?- mark my task in such ways as to signal at once the discursive richness and methodological fraughtness of contemporary literary critical gestures, the demands and rewards of an increasing attention to the multiple imbrications of the literary and the social (in their broadest senses). Committing the critical self to text and to limited text, is, for me, enormously difficult, and the difficulty is compounded by the object of this survey - the most explosive, prolific, and diverse decade in the history of women's writing in English in Canada.
Pennee, Donna Palmateer, Canadian Women's Literary Discourse in English, 1982-92, Kunapipi, 6(1), 1984.