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304 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 'harmless' Germans and examines whether the interned individuals fit these constructs in order to measure the success of the government's internment policy. G. Bassler and A. Sauer introduce a historical perspective regarding German-Canadian identity. Without dwelling on past achievementswithin a relatively recent field of inquiry, they succeed in depicting how rich the field of German-Canadian studies really is and how much work still remains to be done. While Bassler encourages further exploration of the changing boundaries of this identity and recommends further scrutiny of the phenomenon of camouflaged or submerged identity in the postwar years, Sauer is more direct in pointing out some of the remaining blind spots of German-Canadian Studies. Among other things, it will be necessary to examine the issue of German-Canadian identity'outside the parameters of etlmicity as secular identification,' and also to focus on the considerable intra-ethnic conflicts (e.g., political Left versus Right) within the group. Last but not least, it is high time to recast the issue of agency and to 'shed the image of German Canadians as pennanent victims.' (HELFRIED w. SELIGER) Marino Tuzi. The Power ofAllegiances: Identity, Culture and Representational Strategies Guernica 1997. 198. $20.00 Part of the story of Canadian literature in the last sixteen years or so has been the new acceptance, even prominence, of writers who would have once been labelled and dismissed as 'ethnic writers.' These writers did not suddenly, magically, appear; for example, the Italian Francesco Bressani wrote a book on his experiences in New France in 1653. But international changes in literary politics and theory focused attention on minority writers. Postcolonialism and subaltern studies brought academic legitimacy ; they bestowed (in Edward Said's words) 'permission to narrate' to those who had previously been unheard or ignored. In his book The Power ofAllegiances: Identity, Culture and Representational Strategies, Marino Tuzi draws on these theories, as well as NewHistoricism, to define and explain ethnic literature and to argue that works written by contemporary Canadian writers of Italian background should indeed be considered as etlmic texts. He analyses the shared themes and narrative strategiesofsix Italian-Canadianfictional texts: Frank Paci's BlackMadonna, C.D. Minni's Other Selves, Nino Ricci's Lives of the Saints, Maria Ardizzi's Made in Italy, Darlene Madott's Bottled RosesI and my The Lion's Mouth. And he labels them as counternarratives, 'steeped in endless uncertainties and ambiguities.' Tuzi states that Italian-Canadianwriting is concerned'with the 'interface of cultures,' with marginality, disjunction, and difference reflecting the experience of Italian immigrants. HUMANITIES 305 Tuzi opens his book with a shortsociological history of Italian immigration to Canada, noting the accompanying shifts in family structure. Yet, he strenuously rejects the simplistic sociological interpretation of ethnic fiction, which would view Italian-Canadian writing as the presentation of the problems of immigrants. That approach, he insists, overlooks the subtleties and complexities of presentation, privileging content over form. Likewise, though Tuzi argues that the six texts are 'imaginative expression of Italianness in Canada,' he tries to avoid the concept of a fixed Italian identity. He resists cliches, stereotypes, and essentialism, yet notes that an essentialist ethnicity can be a means of resistance. In analysing the texts, he stresses the contradictions and complexities, repeating that there is no fixed set of signs and no single meaning. He takes his position from that of Francesco Loriggio: 'Ethnic literature rustoricizes the aesthetic, and it is the historicizing, the reimmerging [sic] of the literary back into the historical which is its aesthetic gesture.' Tuzi's book will be of value to anyone concerned with the theoretical issues of minority writing. However, it would have been more effective if it had sOW1ded less like a thesis, with its myriad of supporting quotations. Likewise the 'Theoretical Afterword,' where Tuzi lays out the theoretical basis for his inquiry, would have been better placed at the beginning rather than the end. Tuzi gives no overviews or summaries of the fictional text, which, if you do not know the books well, makes them blend into each other. Likewise, since he analyses them to show their counternarrativity, 'their endless uncertainties and ambiguities,' to some degree they all...


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pp. 304-305
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