David Arnason fonds

Call Number: Mss 197, Mss Sc 171, Pc 183 (A.98-57)

Title: David Arnason fonds.

Dates: 1925-1980.

Extent: 5.3 m of textual records. -- 5 photographs.

Biographical sketch: David Arnason was born in Gimli, Manitoba, on 23 May 1940, to Baldwin and Gudrun Arnason. He received a Bachelor's degree (1961), a Certificate in Education (1963), and a Master's degree (1969) from the University of Manitoba, and a Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick (1983-1984). He began lecturing at the University of Manitoba in 1973. He is currently the chair of both the Icelandic and the English departments with a full professorship. His many accomplishments include acting as founder and editor of The Journal of Canadian Fiction, general editor of the MacMillan Themes in Canadian Literature series, editor of Turnstone Press, and member of the advisory board of Anansi Press. Arnason also began working for the CBC in the early 1970s as a book and theatre reviewer. His work included radio adaptations of books, such as including Frederick Philip Grove's Settlers of the Marsh. Arnason has been and continues to be a prolific writer of short stories, poetry, and novels. His most recent book is The Pagan Wall (published in 1992 by Talon Books). Arnason is married to Carol Dahlstrom and has three children.

Arnason is the author of several publications including poetry books Marsh Burning and Skragg and the non-fiction works The Icelanders and The New Icelanders. His works of fiction include: 50 Stories and a Piece of Advice, The Circus Performer's Bar, The Happiest Man in the World, The Pagan Wall, The Dragon and the Drygoods Princess, If Pigs Could Fly, King Jerry, and The Demon Lover. Arnason's plays include Section 23/L'article 23, Welcome to Hard Times, The Hard Life Cabaret and Dewline. He is a frequent contributor to CBC radio working on adaptations of Tom Jones, The Tin Drum and Settlers of the Marsh. Arnason was the editor of Dorothy Livesay's Right Hand, Left Hand.

Custodial history: After Arnason met with Linda Morra, researcher and Doctoral Candidate, University of Ottawa, in September of 1999, he allowed her to copy the material in MSS SC 171. Arnason donated this material to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections later that year. MSS 197 was donated in 1998.

Scope and content: A portion of the fonds (MSS SC 171) consists of Arnason's Ph.D. thesis titled, The Development of the Prairie Realism: Robert J.C. Stead, Douglas Durkin, Martha Ostenso and Frederick Philip Grove (1980). Included are four copies of a transcript of Arnason's interview with author Martha Ostenso's younger brother, Barry Ostenso, who was 84 years old at the time. It was conducted in Brainerd, Minnesota on August 16, 1977. One transcript includes additional notes by Arnason on the interview. The fonds also consists of photocopies of newspaper clippings pertaining to Douglas Durkin and Martha Ostenso during the Second World War and between 1960 and 1969. The fonds includes maps of the rural area west of Lake Manitoba, Oeland and Gare Farm. Photocopies of photographs of actors acting out scenes included in Ostenso's book Wild Geese (1926) and a copy of Ostenso's story The Storm from The American-Scandinavian Review are included. Letters regarding the transfer of Martha Ostenso's papers to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections from 1991-1993 are also included.

MSS 197 is divided into 12 series including: CBC material, correspondence, Dorothy Livesay material, Arnason manuscripts, manuscripts by others, academic material, reviews & publicity for books, Arnason's articles, articles by others, Arnason's poetry, songs & stories, miscellaneous and photographs.

Source of supplied title: Title based on provenance of fonds.

Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.

Related material: David Arnason and Wayne Tefs fonds (MSS 111, TC 69).

Finding aid: Printed finding aid available in Archives reading room and online finding aid available at link below:

MSS 197, PC 183 (A.98-57).