I have three research projects currently underway:
I am collaborating with Drs. Kuttainen and Liebich on a project titled ‘The Transported Imagination: Australian Interwar Magazines and the Geographical Imaginaries of Late Colonial Modernity.’ This project explores three quality culture and leisure magazines from the interwar period – The Home (1920-42), The BP Magazine (1928-42), and MAN (1936-74) – and their role in transporting the public imagination outward beyond the shores of Australia and upward or downward on the scales of cultural hierarchy. Focusing on their relationships to mobility and travel, it connects Australian interwar periodical print culture to distinct geographical imaginaries and reads through them shifting relations to place, value, and modernity. The Pacific of late colonial modernity emerges as a complex, contentious, and particularly significant space in the geographical imaginaries of these magazines.
My work on ‘L.M. Montgomery’s Short Fiction and Early Twentieth-Century Periodical Cultures’ focuses on the voluminous periodical short fiction career of L.M. Montgomery (1874-1942). It aims to build towards a wider understanding of Montgomery’s literary outputs and her successful transnational navigation of the North American literary marketplace, drawing attention to her presence in emerging middlebrow print cultures of the early twentieth-century. Montgomery is best remembered today for her novel Anne of Green Gables (1908) and its sequels. However, in the preceding decade Montgomery achieved tremendous success in the field of periodical short fiction, publishing over 300 stories. Despite Montgomery’s conspicuous – and voluminous – presence in this literary market, critical studies of Montgomery remain focused on her novels and journals, ignoring the issues of cultural hierarchy and authorial prestige which emerge in new forms when her short fiction is also taken into account. I am currently turning my findings from recent archival trips to Canada into a series of journal articles.
Alongside these projects, I have begun focusing on Gwethalyn Graham (1913-65), a leading literary figure in Montreal’s intellectual community throughout the 1940s. Graham was the recipient of two Governor-General’s Awards, her novel Earth and High Heaven (1944) even making it to number one on the New York Times bestseller list, yet she still remains relatively obscure in contemporary Canadian literary scholarship. My work attempts to reposition Graham not only as a significant feminist author of the inter-war years, but also as a vocal commentator on anti-Semitic tensions in French Canada. Significantly, the majority of Graham’s writing took place outside the realm of fiction. Throughout the 1940s Graham frequently spoke out in magazines such as Canadian Forum, Saturday Night, Chatelaine and Maclean’s on issues surrounding the war, refugees, and women’s place in Canadian society and the workplace. This work thus builds upon my current research interests through its focus on material periodical cultures and Graham’s navigation of Canadian middlebrow culture. I presented an early version of this work at the Discourse & Dynamics: Canadian Women as Public Intellectuals conference in October 2014.