Diasporic Literature in English Canada
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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What should we make of a book on diasporic literature in Canada that begins with an extended analysis of German filmmaker Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire? Or that explores Joy Kogawa’s groundbreaking Obasan in marvellous detail, but devotes just as much space and energy to Frederick Philip Grove’s Settlers of the Marsh, a novel (and novelist) that some might see as out of place in ...
Preface and Acknowledgements
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This book developed out of a number of questions and experiences I began mulling over in the late 1980s. That was the time when ethnic literature in English Canada was slowly beginning to establish its own ground; it was also the time when multiculturalism, already in its second decade as an official policy, entered a ‘new’ stage as Canadians began vigorously to express their opinions ...
Critical Correspondences: The Diasporic Critic’s (Self-)Location
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This book could be seen as the other of the manifesto on ethnicity that I wanted to write but never did. I realized this one day in the mid-nineties when I reread Robert Kroetsch’s ‘I Wanted to Write a Manifesto’ (1995). It was not what he says in that essay that put things into perspective for me; rather, it was the Möbius effect of his title that offered momentary relief from the critical impasse I had ...
One: Realism and the History of Reality: F.P. Grove’s Settlers of the Marsh
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In A Stranger to My Time: Essays by and about Frederick Philip Grove (1986), edited by Paul Hjartarson, Walter Pache argues that ‘It seems questionable whether “ethnicity” in Grove’s case is a relevant critical category’ (17). Indeed, Pache warns future readers of Grove that ‘it seems dangerous and misleading either to draw conclusions from [Grove’s] ethnic background or to assess his work in terms of ...
Two: Sedative Politics: Media, Law, Philosophy
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Between the 1920s, when Grove wrote his first novel in English, and the second half of the 1990s, when I am writing this, a lot has changed about the perception and status of ethnicity in Canada. Notably, the literature written by the descendants of the ‘New Canadians’ of Grove’s time and by later immigrants has gained a measure of both popular and academic legitimacy and of cultural and political ...
Three: Ethnic Anthologies: From Designated Margins to Postmodern Multiculturalism
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When we talk about ethnicity today, as Bannerji’s epigraph reminds us, we engage in a dialogue that has barely begun. It may take place in fits and starts, it may stutter as it looks for the critical idioms to express the cultural and political pressures of a given moment, or it may exude confidence because it has already carved out a niche for itself, but any discourse about ethnicity inevitably ...
Four: The Body in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan: Race, Gender, Sexuality
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Silence and speech are the two determining elements of Joy Kogawa’s Obasan: they correspond to oppression, the flagrant violation of human rights, and to revisionism, political activism that sets history straight. At least this is what many critics, irrespective of their methodological differences, seem to agree on. As Roy Miki puts it, ‘all [academics] tend to incorporate a resolutionary (not revolutionary) ...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2009
Series Title: TransCanada