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HUMANITIES 579 wright Athol Fugard well before it was widely known in North America. He offered Centaur as a creative home to David Fennario, who produced during the time of his association with the theatre such plays as On the Job, Nothing to Lose, and Balconville. He brought plays by writers across Canada to Montreal and occasionally produced classics of world theatre. At the same time, the Centaur under his leadership seemed largely oblivious to new developments in theatre, including those going on elsewhere in Montreal To anyone with sufficient French to enjoy francophone theatre in the 1970s when it was energized by political debate, or in the 1980s when, enriched by music, dance, mime, and the visual arts, it achieved international recognition, the Centaur Theatre more often than not seemed at the time sensible, bland, safe, and boring. It avoided politics and was committed to a comfortable (and comforting) realist aesthetic. Its plays, when successful, tended to move audiences but not to challenge them. Half Man, Half Beast sets the record straight by providing some exceptions to these generalizations. It does not, however, offer enough to invalidate them. The Centaur under Podbrey never did succeed in making itself relevant to a younger generation of theatre-goers. Nevertheless, Podbrey shows the many ways in which the Centaur did evolve and respond to a changing political and demographic situation. There is no doubt that in the present period, when the anglophone community of Montreal has felt itself increasing!y threatened and beleaguered, the Centaur Theatre has for some anglophones become an important symbol ofcultural survival. At the same tune, one cannot help but hope that the Centaur under Podbrey's successor will become more than an emblem of endurance and less isolated than it has been from the rest of Montreal's thriving theatrical community. (LEANORE LIEBLEIN) Marlene Goldman. Paths of Desire: Images ofExploration and Mapping i11 Canadian Women's Writing University of Toronto Press. 256. $4s.oo cloth, $1g.oo paper A book-length study of contemporary Canadian women's writing is certainly timely. It is over ten years since the publication of Coral Ann Howells's PrivateandFictional Words and Lorna Irvine's Sub/version. In Paths ofDesire, Goldman begins not only to address this gap, but also to situate contemporary women's experimental fiction within current theoretical discourse. She sets out to offer 'close readings of individual texts interwoven with related discussions of contemporary theory.' Noticing how several writers 'invoke images of exploration and cartography to signal their interest in recoding traditional representations of female identity' - and here she nods to Frye's inevitable 'where is here?' - 580 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 Goldman chooses AudreyThomas's Intertidal Life~ SusanSwan's The Biggest Modern Woman of the World, Daphne Marlatt's Ana historic, Aritha Van Herk's Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address, and Places Farfrom Ellesmere, and Jane Urquhart's The Whirlpool. These are difficult waters to navigate because Goldman has to handle very different novels and writerly agendas held together by a tenuous similarity (references to map-making) and to steer her way among the stormy waves of postmodernism, feminism(s), metafiction, and genre bonndaries. In her introduction, Goldman astutely asks why contemporary women writers invoke figures of exploration and mapping to foreground problems associated with representing female identity. But the metaphor of mapping occasionally seems to force a connection among the novels and the theorists. It also leads into commonplace assertions about the role of mapping in women's oppression by patriarchal and colonial discourses and about so-called subversive strategies and remapping by these writers. Although issues of identity and representation are still, have always been, central to our literature, the question of maps and mapping deserves, if it is to be invoked, a more detailed discussion involving an understanding of the genre and history of maps. In referring to a historian of cartography, Brian Harley, Goldman begins to move beyond the by now familiar terrain of 'maps' into just such a discussion. When Goldman turns to individual novels, she is careful, as she says, 'to do justice to the complexity of the diverse and often contradictory positions' of feminism and postmodemism. She interprets Intertidal...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 579-581
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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