Unruly Penelopes and the Ghosts
Narratives of English Canada
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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This work is the result of a three-year international research project on contemporary Canadian fiction funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education with the participation of Canadian literature specialists from Spain, Canada, and the UK. The project’s title was “Penelope’s Embroidery: Literary Tradition, Cultural Identities...
INTRODUCTION: Why Penelopes? How Unruly? Which Ghosts? Narratives of English Canada
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In “Notes from the Cultural Field: Canadian Literature from Identity to Commodity,” Barbara Godard interrogates the changing paradigms in Canadian literary discourses between the 1950s and the 1990s, a period of immense transformation not only in the spatial composition of the social imaginary of the nation...
ONE: Rewriting Tradition: Literature, History, and Changing Narratives in English Canada since the 1970s
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To establish a context for this historical analysis of changes in literary discourse in English Canada over the past forty years, what better place to begin than with Margaret Atwood’s deconstruction of the traditional image of history as an authoritative and objective account of the past? This most representative writer...
TWO: (Reading Closely) Calling for the Formation of Asian Canadian Studies
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Since the late 1970s Asian Canadian culture has gradually begun to muster critical attention as a distinct field of cultural production that interrogates the representational politics of its historically minoritized communities, as well as the political and formal questions raised by these communities’ cultural productions. From...
THREE: When Race Does Not Matter, “except to everyone else”: Mixed Race Subjectivity and the Fantasy of a Post-Racial Canada in Lawrence Hill and Kim Barry Brunhuber
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This essay offers a close reading of two contemporary novels that illustrate how African Canadian mixed race writers unsettle and problematize any fixed notion about Canadian identity and Canadian culture and literature by exposing the crevices of institutional Canadian multiculturalism through the experience...
FOUR: Of Aliens, Monsters, and Vampires: Speculative Fantasy’s Strategies of Dissent (Transnational Feminist Fiction)
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The revisionist work of an important number of racialized cultural writers and critics in recent decades has exposed to the light many of Canada’s obscured secrets. The introduction of the Multiculturalism Act in July 1988 was a public gesture of the Canadian state towards the inclusion of its diasporic Others...
FIVE: The Production of Vancouver: Termination Views in the City of Glass
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Many contemporary studies have examined from a wide spectrum of angles the ways in which texts and other artworks document and enact the socialization of a particular space (Anderson, Bhabha, Colley, Grosz, Lindner). A major dimension of that process of socialization would be the production of local...
SIX: Jane Rule and the Memory of Canada
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Canada has reached that moment in its national history when the movement toward acquiring a sense of identity is beginning to curve back on itself.1 One could cite a score of novels published over the last decade and a half—from Anne Marie McDonald’s Fall on Your Knees (1996) to Dionne Brand’s...
SEVEN: Confession as Antidote to Historical Truth in River Thieves
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The novel River Thieves by Michael Crummey recreates the world of the nineteenth-century white settlers who met the last Beothuk in Newfoundland. Despite the sweeping historical plots the novel contains, the logic that glues the events depends more on the demands of domesticity upon the characters than...
EIGHT: Indigenous Criticism and Indigenous Literature in the 1990s: Critical Intimacy
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This essay focuses on literary history, criticism, and fiction by Indigenous writers in the 1990s. It takes for granted Sami scholar Rauna Kuokkanen’s belief, citing Thomas King’s short story “Borders” in her 2007 book Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes, and the Logic of the Gift, that in their...
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Richard Cavell is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia and the author of McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography; the editor of Love, Hate and Fear in Canada’s Cold War; and the co-editor, with Peter Dickinson, of Sexing the Maple: A Canadian Sourcebook; as well as more...
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Publication Year: 2012