The Virtual Research Environment of the Canada and the Spanish Civil War project is a long-term, multi-phase project that will provide integrated public access to the large amount of diverse Canadian cultural materials concerning the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).

The conflict animated Canadian public discourse, and inspired approximately seventeen hundred Canadians to travel to Spain where many joined the International Brigades as armed volunteers in the anti-fascist cause. The artistic community in Canada also adopted Spain as one of the most rigorously represented subjects of the time. Even a partial record of poets who have written on the events surrounding the Spanish Civil War reads like an anthology of modern poetry in Canada: Patrick Anderson, Louis Dudek, Ralph Gustafson, Leo Kennedy, A.M. Klein, Irving Layton, Kenneth Leslie, Dorothy Livesay, P.K. Page, E.J. Pratt, F.R. Scott, Raymond Souster, A.M. Stephen, Miriam Waddington, Patrick Waddington, Joe Wallace, George Woodcock, among others. Spain also plays an integral role in novels dating from wartime to the present, by authors such as Ted Allan, Dennis Bock, Stephen Collis, Mark Frutkin, Hugh Garner, Charles Yale Harrison, June Hutton, Malcolm Lowry, Hugh MacLennan, and Mordecai Richler. Aside from the many published and unpublished novels, short stories, poems, and journalistic pieces, large amounts of life writing about Spain—memoirs, diaries, letters, and testimonials—exist in both published and archival sources. Long after the fascist victory, literary scholars, historians, and general audiences around the globe have continued to look to the Spanish Civil War as a marker of both tremendous hope and bitter disappointment. While American and British scholarship on the conflict has persisted, Canadian cultural texts have remained dispersed, difficult to access, and in some case completely undocumented. Our project begins to remedy this unfortunate critical disparity by developing a long-term research agenda for the recovery and remediation of Canadian responses to the conflict. We envision “Canada and the Spanish Civil War” as a project that aims to alleviate this critical gap, representing the first scholarly effort to collate this Canadian material for public consumption in a systematic way.

Co-Directors: Dr. Bart Vautour (Dalhousie University) and Emily Robins Sharpe (Keene State)