I’ll stick with good old storytelling
- Scott McIntyre
This semester’s John V. Clyne lecture series at Green College is presented by Scott McIntyre and focuses on the history of publishing in building Canadian literary culture. Founding partner of Douglas & McIntyre Publishers, Scott’s three lectures look at the role of publishers in shaping Canadian public literary culture.
In the first of his lectures, Scott offered his audience a history of publishing houses in the United Kingdom and the United States from the early twentieth century. Interspersed with personal anecdotes from his own years in the industry, Scott traced the development of publishing houses from their origins as small, independently run businesses though the two world wars and into the present day.
For Scott, publishers were the guiding figures in a revolution in literary culture that happened after World War II. With the profound belief that anything was possible, the Western world saw an “explosion of books” and what Scott describes as The Golden Age of book publishing.
But despite the resilience of these independent stores through the depression of the thirties and World War II, there eventual demise came with the approach of the twenty-first century and a changing retail landscape. Pressure from companies such as Amazon meant that alliances between publishing houses, between the UK and the USA, became necessary to expanded the small scale independent houses into large scale business conglomerates.
For Scott, publishing was and always will be a social profession. A space to encourage creativity. Under the ever increasing demands of modern day society, books and stories seem more necessary than ever.
Scott McIntyre’s second lecture will explore the history of Canadian publishing and the development of Canadian literature. In the Shadow of Two Empires: Creating a Canadian Literature took place on Tuesday November 19th at 5-6:30pm. See here for the series poster.
Mairi Stirling Hill
Department of English Language and Literature, UBC