In 1759, Voltaire in Candide referred to Canada as "quelques arpents de neige." For several centuries, the image prevailed and was the one most frequently used by poets, writers, and illustrators. Canada was perceived and portrayed as a cold, hard, and unforgiving land. this was not a land for the fainthearted. Canada has yieled its wealth only reluctantly, while periodically threatening life itself with its displays of fury. Discovering its beauty and hidden resources requires patience and perseverance.
A Few Acres of Snow is a colletion of twenty-two essays that explore, from the geographer's perspective, how poets, artists, and writers have addressed the physical essence of Canada, both landscape and cityscape. "Sense of place" is clearly critical in the works examined in this volume. Included among the book's many subjects are Hugh MacLennan, Gabrielle Roy, Lucius O'Brien, the art of the Inuit, Lawren Harris, Malcolm Lowry, C.W. Jefferys, L.M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Bishop, Marmaduke Matthews, Antonine Mailet, and the poetry of Japanese Canadians.