Debunking the myth of Nova Scotians as "simple folk."
The popular conception of Nova Scotians as a pure, simple, idyllic people is false, argues Ian McKay. In The Quest of the Folk he shows how the province's tourism industry and cultural producers manipulated and refashioned the cultural identity of the region and its people to project traditional folk values.
McKay offers an in-depth analysis of the infusion of a folk ideology into the art and literature of the region and the use of the idea of the "Simple Life" in tourism promotion. He examines how Nova Scotia's cultural history was rewritten to erase evidence of an urban, capitalist society, class and ethnic differences, and women's emancipation. In doing so he sheds new light on the roles of Helen Creighton, the Maritime region's most famous folklorist, and Mary Black, an influential handicrafts revivalist, in creating this false identity.