Linda Leith

Introducing Hugh MAcLennan's Two Solitudes

Hugh MacLennan’s classic “novel of Canada” was a publishing phenomenon when it was launched in New York in 1945, though it is rarely read today. 

Linda Leith revisits the novel as a Quebec writing in the wake of the massive social changes that shook Quebec and in Canada in the latter half of the twentieth century. Chronicling the novel’s equanimity in the face of its own account of the eventual assimilation of francophone Canadians, it also notes the marginalization of all those of its characters who are neither French and Roman Catholic nor English and Protestant.”

Canadian Fiction Studies No. 10
ECW Press, 1990
ISBN: 1-55022-018-7

“Linda Leith’s study certainly enriches the beginner’s appreciation of Two Solitudes, but it offers a stimulating interpretation for specialists, as well… While offering an interpretation of MacLennan’s novel that takes full account of contemporary political and formal concerns, Leith helps us appreciate, in historical as well as literary terms, the real value of MacLennan’s ‘attempt to find a form to accommodate the duality of the Canadian experience.’ Written in a clear and lively style, it is a valuable contribution to the field.”

            — Patrick Coleman, Québec Studies, 1991 


Introducing Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes has been translated into French by Hélène Rioux as Deux Solitudes : Une lecture du roman de Hugh MacLennan (XYZ Éditeur, 2014).

   “Two Solitudes has been taken for granted for too long. We need to keep an eye on it, and every once in a while we need to reconsider it in the light of our own day. Times change and writing changes. There will always be more that needs to be said about MacLennan’s novel, and if this re-reading stimulates other to re-read the novel for themselves it will have done what it set out to do.”

              — Linda Leith, Introducing Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes