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Comparative Cultural Studies and Michael Ondaatje's Writing

edited by Steven Totosy de Zepetnek

Publication Year: 2005

The papers in this volume represent recent scholarship about Booker Prize Winner Michael Ondaatje's oeuvre by scholars working on English-Canadian literature and culture in Canada, England, Japan, New Zealand, and the USA.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Comparative Cultural Studies

title page

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pp. 1-5

Michael Ondaatje's work represents in many ways the best of contemporary Canadian literature in English not only in the context of Canada itself but also on the international scene. In this, it is not without significance that Ondaatje is an immigrant to Canada and that much of his writing is about identity, history, and about people of...

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Exploring Transnational Identities in Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost

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pp. 6-15

Michael Ondaatje could be said to exemplify the type of transnational identity that provides the focus for this paper. Born to Dutch parents, in what was then Ceylon and is now Sri Lanka, his family ancestry has been described as a polyglot mixture of Dutch, English, Sinhalese, and Tamil; his paternal grandfather was a wealthy tea planter in Kegalle...

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Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Altered States of Narrative

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pp. 16-26

In his discussion of translation, George Steiner recalls Saint Jerome's representation of that process as "meaning brought home captive by the translator" (Steiner 298). From both within and without, former European colonies have been seen as "translations" of a distant and idealized original whose standards have been transplanted and reduced to...

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Representations of Buddhism in Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost

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pp. 27-37

Critical response to Michael Ondaatje's depictions of war-torn Sri Lanka have been polarized and politically charged. Early on, Arun Mukherjee condemned Ondaatje in the strongest terms for his supposed preoccupation with aesthetics at the expense of more pressing issues such as history and politics. Ondaatje, she contends, "does not get...

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Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Rewriting History

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pp. 38-48

Ondaatje's "English" patient starts his frequently interrupted and mediated I-narration with an acknowledgment of the influence and the power of the writing of history. He tells Hana, his devoted Canadian nurse, that "I am a person who if left alone in someone's home walks to the bookcase, pulls down a volume and inhales it. So history...

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Post-Nationalism and the Cinematic Apparatus in Minghella’s Adaptation of Ondaatje’s The English Patient

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pp. 49-61

Theories of the cinematic gaze, strongly influenced by the work of Lacan and Althusser, often denigrate visual pleasure as a politically compromised response. Christian Metz, for example, links film spectatorship to the pathological practices like fetishism...

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The Representation of “Race” in Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion

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pp. 62-72

With a few notable exceptions, Ondaatje's depiction of racialized subjects has received only limited attention (see, e.g., Turcotte; Mukherjee; Rundle; Lowry). While his identity as a Singhalese emigrant or Canadian immigrant is often noted (see, e.g., Kamboureli...

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The Motif of the Collector and Implications of Historical Appropriation in Ondaatje’s Novels

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pp. 73-82

Unlike his more recent publications, such as In the Skin of a Lion, The English Patient, and Anil's Ghost, Michael Ondaatje's early novels Coming Through Slaughter and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid are texts that collect and interrelate fragments...

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Touching the Language of Citizenship in Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost

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pp. 83-91

Sri Lanka is the "wife of many marriages" writes Ondaatje in his Running in the Family (64). An island that "seduced all of Europe,"it has been courted by many conquerors who, over time, have "stepped ashore and claimed everything with the power of their...

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Oral History and the Writing of the Other inOndaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion

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pp. 92-103

In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje deciphers and invents the signs of another world coexisting silently with Toronto's written history and the surface of its presentday reality. The novel defamiliarizes habitual perceptions of Toronto by superimposing...

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Reading Ondaatje’s Poetry

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pp. 104-114

In an interview with Sam Solecki in 1984, Michael Ondaatje responds to the interviewer's reference to his caginess in interviews, and to a question about whether this ever causes him regret, with the phrase: "Very few people want to talk about architecture...

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Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Questions of History

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pp. 115-132

In this paper, I discuss the historical background of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and Anthony Minghella's adaptation of the novel to film. Ondaatje's novel is fiction and the "truth" value of the historical background of this or any fictional text is of...

A Selected Bibliography of Critical Workabout Michael Ondaatje’s Texts

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pp. 133-139


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pp. 140

Bioprofiles of Contributors to Comparative Cultural Studies and Michael Ondaatje’s Writing

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pp. 141-144


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pp. 145-154

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490212
E-ISBN-10: 1612490212
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557533784
Print-ISBN-10: 1557533784

Page Count: 154
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Comparative Cultural Studies