Literary Theory and Canadian Literature
Publication Year: 1987
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers
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Introduction: The Presence of Text
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Future Indicative: Literary Theory and Canadian Literature. University of Ottawa Symposium. April 25 to 27, 1986. The title worked well—as a rubric under which to gather; as a non-proscriptive label of activities; as a summary of the symposium's achievement. As a book title it works well, too. The implications...
Writer Writing, Ongoing Verb
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Based on the conversation between George Bowering and Robert Kroetsch, joined by conference participants, which launched the Future Indicative symposium. The chairperson was John Moss....
Structuralism/Post-Structuralism: Language, Reality and Canadian Literature
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My dilemma is that of Scheherazade, for I speak under the threat of forced closure. Like hers, mine is an endless tale, the saga of the "new new criticism" of Canadian literature. Such is the evolving nature of my subject that, even as I speak, it slips away from me. The thread of my narrative will be unravelled when...
The Question of the Corpus: Ethnicity and Canadian Literature
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There are, of course, many reasons why ethnic writing should interest anyone whose field is literature, even before he or she makes the association with the Chinatowns or the Little Italys or the native groups that are or may be part of his or her everyday...
Reading for Contradiction in the Literature of Colonial Space
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I have been writing of cadence as though one merely had to hear its words and set them down. But that's not true, at least not in my experience. There is a check on one's pen which seems to take hold at the very moment that cadence declares itself. Words arrive, but words have...
Signs of the Themes: The Value of a Politically Grounded Semiotics
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For a number of years I have been researching the images of native peoples in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand literatures. I was surprised by the uniformity of these images, both across different cultures and across time. At first I thought this primarily a reflection of genre. But then I recognized..
Importing Difference: Feminist Theory and Canadian Women Writers
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Leaving Regent's Park, Peter Walsh blames Clarissa Dalloway for "what she had reduced him to—a whimpering, snivelling old ass. But women, he thought, shutting his pocket-knife, don't know what passion is" (Woolf 1964, 89). At this moment, when...
"Listen to the Voice": Dialogism and the Canadian Novel
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The importance of Mikhail Bakhtin for literary scholarship does not reside in his often carelessly applied notions of carnival and polyphony. Bakhtin's primary significance lies in his dialogism, that theory of discourse which enables him to establish, chart, and identify so many of the ways in which literary forms coincide with other diachronic systems of human communication. His theory of discourse...
Lacan: Implications of Psychoanalysis and Canadian Discourse
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This paper is an enactment of theory. It constitutes a series of beginnings about the implications and appropriations of theory: the implications of the relationship between psychoanalysis and (Canadian) literature, the ways in which each of these...
Reconstructing Structuralism: The Theme-Text Model of Literary Language and F. R. Scott's "Lakeshore"
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The Theme-Text model of literary structure, a theory developed by Alexander Zholkovsky and Ju. K. Sc'eglov, combines certain traditional critical concepts—rigorously redefined—with a set of systematic postulates for their practical use. In recent years, arguments and counterarguments advanced by structuralists and...
History and/as Intertext
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The context of this examination of history and/as intertext is what I see as the paradoxes, not to say contradictions, of what we seem to want to call "postmodernism" in both artistic practice and theoretical discourse. Postmodernism in both areas is fundamentally paradoxical: in both, we find masterful denials...
Language and Silence in Richardson and Grove
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Settling and writing the New World means coming to terms with its ontological status and constructing its discourse. There is a pause or stillpoint in the migration from the fixed and placed culture of Europe to the new setting, in this case...
Rewriting Roughing It
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Susanna Moodie did not write Roughing It in the Bush. In fact, Roughing It in the Bush was never written. Susanna Moodie and Roughing It in the Bush are interchangeable titles given to a collaborative act of textual production whose origin cannot....
Bakhtin Reads De Mille: Canadian Literature, Post-modernism, and the Theory of Dialogism
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A number of Canadian critics—Frank Davey, Bruce Powe, and Paul Stuewe among them—have recently argued that Canadian criticism has reached an impasse. While the thematic criticism which has characterized writing on Canadian literature...
The Reader as Actor in the Novels of Timothy Findley
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When the novelist experiments with narrative techniques the reader, necessarily, becomes actively engaged in the process of discerning patterns and perceiving meanings. Within the context of reader response theory this paper explores the narrative layering in the novels of Timothy Findley and the structuring....
Blown Figures and Blood: Toward a Feminist/Post- Structuralist Reading of Audrey Thomas' Writing
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Blank pages, comic strips, quotations, jokes, dreams, rhymes, newspaper clippings, ads, etymologies, multiple selves, silence: what we have traditionally referred to as the writing of Audrey Thomas is obsessed with the contextual, contradictory meanings, and meaningless-nesses, of words, with the ways...
Reconstructing the Deconstructed Text: A Reading of Robert Kroetsch's What the Crow Said
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How do we read a novel which is self-consciously postmodern? If, as Paul de Man suggests, "a literary text simultaneously asserts and denies the authority of its own rhetorical mode, and . . . poetic writing is the most advanced and refined mode of deconstruction" (1979, 17) then, as Leitch says, "literary texts deconstruct...
Present Tense: The Closing Panel
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The function, I suppose, of a final panel, at the end of a conference, is to have the last word. But if there's one thing that we can learn from contemporary movements in theory, from that moment of theory in which we now find ourselves, it is that...
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Page Count: 258
Publication Year: 1987
Volume Title: 13
Series Title: Reappraisals: Canadian Writers