Statement of Purpose

The New Brunswick Literature Curriculum in English (NBLCE) is designed with a wide range of users in mind: high school students and teachers, university students and professors, and citizens who want to sample or immerse themselves in a reading program of New Brunswick literature. The NBLCE is therefore both a guided reading tool and a conventional curriculum.

Our primary goal is to introduce readers to the celebrated history of New Brunswick literature. Our secondary goal is to enhance knowledge of New Brunswick and what it has contributed culturally to Canada and the world. That students and citizens of the province do not know their own literature is a problem that has existed for a long time. In the colonial world in which New Brunswickers lived for centuries, writers from other empires were considered more important. And today, with globalism pressing upon us, some might wonder why a New Brunswick literature curriculum is important at all.

 

It is important because we live in multiple worlds, our own New Brunswick world being the first and most formative we encounter. The experience of that first encounter provides the seeds of our identity, and it forms the way we grow, respond to others, and meet the larger world. Reading the literature of our formative place enables us to recognize those processes of growth and identification. “The greater our knowledge,” said A.G. Bailey in his introduction to the first comprehensive history of education in New Brunswick (Katherine MacNaughton 1946), “the more effectively may we control the conditions that mould our lives” (iv). The same is true today.

 

The Literature of Acadie

 

Because the NBLCE is an English-language resource, we have included a sampling of Acadian literature in English translation. Doing so serves a number of purposes. It recognizes that Acadians are a large, vibrant, and essential community in the province; it acknowledges that Acadians have advanced far beyond English New Brunswickers in their cultivation and preservation of cultural enterprise; it celebrates the world-class achievement of Acadian writers; and it reaches across the divide in the province to declare that building bridges between both language communities is vital for our future.

 

Identity through Literature

 

Examining identity through literature emphasizes the multiple perspectives that shape our cultural memory. New Brunswick literature highlights the ways in which seemingly isolated or distant political and social events have had an impact on the lives of individuals. What, for example, were the effects of the Expulsion of the Acadians in 1755, and how does that history of disenfranchisement continue to affect Acadians today? How did Canadian Confederation change the lives, for better and worse, of ordinary New Brunswickers? How have New Brunswickers been affected by broad socio-economic trends like rural population decline, outmigration, and deindustrialization? What was it like to be a New Brunswicker working in a lumber camp in the nineteenth century or to live through the Great War? Answers to those and many other questions can be found in the province’s rich body of literature.

 

Reading our literature provides us with the self-knowledge to contribute meaningfully to our society. A confident and productive population is aware of its histories. A healthy and happy citizenry takes pride in its heritage. New Brunswick literature shows us where we've come from, who we are, and how we are likely to meet the future. It is with the aim of meeting that future that the NBLCE is offered.