A National Awakening: Robin Mathews & the Struggle for Canadian Identity

Mosaic Press

A National Awakening: Robin Mathews & the Struggle for Canadian Identity

Regular price $24.95 now $17.95 Unit price  per 

Shipping calculated at checkout.

*Early Access! Pre-Order Now at a Special Price*

“Robin Mathews was a man for his times, rabble-rouser, shit disturber, provocateur, patriot, silver-tongued orator, and a fearless in-your-face public intellectual butting heads with Canada’s elites,” writes Daniel Drache, a contributor to this collection of original essays, discussing Mathews’ remarkable influence on the awakening of a distinctly Canadian identity.

Between the late 1960s and early 1990s, Robin Mathews engaged in public debates and provoked controversies about corporate takeovers, foreign control of Canada’s trade union movement, the news media, book and magazine publishing, university hiring practices and curriculum, and mass culture.

In these eight essays, recognized contributors including Daniel Drache, Pat Smart, Duncan Cameron, Susan Crean, Alvin Finkel, Misao Dean, Errol Sharpe, and Bill Law explore and document Mathews’ enormous influence on Canadian politics and culture. 

For more than two decades, Mathews was a force to be reckoned with as he criss-crossed the country, often at his own expense, talking to students, professors, politicians, and artists about the need to establish and support a unique Canadian identity and politics and, what he termed, “promoting cultural literacy.” His personal charisma coupled with his boundless energy is the narrative thread of this collection: an activist and public intellectual with the compelling idea to establish a public movement to transform Canada into a culturally literate and economically sovereign nation.

Mathews’ work led directly to the growth of Canadian studies in both English and French, the new hiring of Canadian candidates at universities across the country, the founding of the Great Canadian Theatre Company, the rise of the Canadian trade union movement, and the publication of his own substantial body of written work.


JOYCE WAYNE, the editor of this collection, studied with Robin Mathews in the English Department at Carleton University during the 1970s. She went on to become the editor of Quill & Quire, Editorial Director of non-fiction at McClelland & Stewart Publishers and a professor of journalism at Sheridan College. Her novels, The Cook’s Temptation and Last Night of the World were published by Mosaic Press. Recently, she has written a series of essays published in The Literary Review of Canada including “All the Kremlin’s Men,” which was chosen for Best Canadian Essays 2021.



$ 24.95 CDN | $21.95 USD

6 x 9 inches

112 Pages

ISBN PB: 9781771617529
PDF: 9781771617536
EPUB: 9781771617543
MOBI: 9781771617550