Theorists and critics concerned with the recovery of a woman's tradition in literature must expand the realm of what is considered worthy of literary examination to include material by women once thought valuable only as social history -- journals, diaries, letters, memoirs, autobiographies, and essays. Since these documents are just now beginning to be examined by literary scholars, it is an appropriate time to establish some frameworks for this task: one must identify the generic influences of the accounts; one must discover the context of each account; and, finally, one must be aware of the possibility of influence from other non-public texts, such as private letters, reports, and journals. This framework is applied to two nineteenth-century travel journals written ten years apart by two sisters who travelled with the Hudson's Bay Company from England to the Red River Settlement: Frances R. Simpson and Isabel (Simpson) Finlayson.
An old tale, begun after Confederation and lingering on until the 1950s -- a once-powerful, establishment fairy-tale -- compels our literary attention, especially now that its ideology has largely been disparaged and repudiated: the "old tale" of Canadian Empire and Imperialism. We can clearly see the effects of this ideology on Canadian literature stemming from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, including that by Leacock, Haliburton, Howe, O'Dell, Stansbury, McLachlan, Goldsmith, the Confederation Poets (including Isabella Valancy Crawford and Pauline Johnson, but excluding Bliss Carman), Pratt, MacLennan, and Richler.
Isabella Crawford was very much caught up in the social and political currents of her time, as can be seen in her poems "Moloch," "War," "Wealth," "A Hungry Day," "A Fragment," "Malcom's Katie," "Erin's Warning, "Coming Days," "The Helot," Hugh and Ion, and those written in response to the Northwest Rebellion. Her opposition to the "Imperialistic idea" was consistent and unequivocal, and she repeatedly criticized what she perceived to be the complicity of the intellectual, political, industrial, and religious communities in the ruthless expansion of the second empire. She hated war, poverty, and hypocrisy, and if her political philosophy was not exactly Liberal, it was certainly anti-Tory. Crawford's poems of social and political criticism employ indirection and irony, often attacking conditions and large institutional structures, such as poverty, war, science, and commerce, rather than specific individuals, companies, or government offices. When her targets do become more specific, she resorts more and more to indirection and ambiguity.
Few Canadian poets write of nature as objectively as A.J.M. Smith does in the ten poems which make up section two of Poems, New and Collected: "To Hold in a Poem," "Sea Cliff," "The Creek," "Swift Current," "Walking in a Field, Looking Down and Seeing a White Violet," "Wild Raspberry," "Birches at Drummond Point," "Tree," "The Lonely Land," and "The Convolvulus." Smith carefully avoids imposing or implanting human shapes and characteristics on nature. He embraces the Imagist practice of "seeing the thing in itself," which he refers to as "nakedness of vision," but he subjects what he sees to analysis. Where he differs from the Imagists, he resembles Thomas Traherne, whose notion of "pure seeing" includes analysis and leads to felicity.
The dislocation of the speaking subject in Mavis Gallant's Green Water, Green Sky is achieved by Gallant's manipulation of point of view, time, and language; the narrative enacts in form, as well as suggests in content, a Lacanian perspective on reality. Gallant's late modernist text takes modern concerns with representation and combines them with more contemporary social concerns. In other words, Flor and the decentralized speaker stand in opposition to what is reductively ordered and patriarchal, in life and language respectively. And, since Gallant's novel is an example of a kind of (feminine) writing which is voiced by a decentralized speaker, a peripheral figure who is linguistically removed from traditional (masculine) authorial subjectivity, just as Flor is psychically removed from patriarchal domination, her text demonstrates a different discourse -- it is a matriarchal discourse of dislocation.
According to Bakhtin, carnival humour links degradation with affirmation. It does this by employing an oral humour, one that emphasizes defecation, procreation, and the sequences of birth and death. What the Crow Said and The Studhorse Man link us intertextually to Bakhtinian carnival, since Kroetsch's humour, in its degradatory use of anus and penis, hence defecation and procreation, is essentially carnivalesque. Furthermore, according to Barthes, intertext points the way to the sociality of language just as Bakhtin shows us the sociality of the oral humour of the carnival. Thus, since unravelling an intertext is at least partly an attempt to find the cultural and authorial origins of that text, and since Kroetsch's use of, and interest in, Bakhtinian humour demand of us an intertextual reading of the two novels, the humour of What the Crow Said and The Studhorse Man leads us on a search, through intertext, for the origins of text itself.
We can clearly see Anne Hébert's rehabilitation of Eve as a malevolent female archetype in two poems sharing the identical title of 'Eve' but separated chronologically by a period of eighteen years. Whereas the first of these poems makes no specific allusion to Eve as the first sinner, but simply presents her awakening sexual desire, the second, by ironically and angrily evoking the original sin traditionally imputed to Eve and associated with that desire, constitutes an explicit and impassioned cry of revolt; here the feminine lyrical voice, in full consciousness of woman's wrongful persecution throughout history, invokes Eve as a female saviour, thereby subverting her usual status as a malevolent female archetype.
Dans le roman féminin québécois des années soixante, l'absence d'héroïnes possédant une perception positive de leur identité est un problème important. À l'encontre des romancières d'une décennie plus tôt, ces auteures refusent de garder la sexualité féminine sous silence. Par le mépris d'elles-mêmeS et par le dégoût de leurs corps, les protagonistes dont parle Brown intériorisent le mythe de l'infériorité féminine. Celles-ci, dont la haine du corps découle de la puberté, de la grossesse, de l'accouchement et de l'identité, se définissent en fonction d'archétypes masculins, ce qui renvoie à une image passive, morcelée et dominée de la femme. Donc, cette répression du corps féminin soulève les dangers d'accepter une infériorité sociale et sexuelle et d'intérioriser la haine de soi et des autres femmes.
In Gabrielle Roy's works (Rue Deschambault, La Petite Poule d'Eau, Ces enfants de ma vie, La Route d'Altamont, Alexandre Chenevert, and La Rivière sans repos), the dissatisfaction with the representational code and the consciousness of the problem of writing are omnipresent. As her characters discover the inadequacy of the linguistic signifier, their urgent need for, and possibility of, self-expression are constantly undermined. Yet, these characters ardently desire to communicate, to create, to tell their stories. They want to be heard, recognized, loved; they want to be significant and immortal. It is through their relentless struggle with the linguistic medium, through their unceasing exploration of both the limitations and the creative power of language, that these characters, like their creator, will achieve a degree of immortality, a sustained form of personal identity.
The opening passage of Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle is paradigmatic, for it illuminates a specular play of openness and closure, of sameness and difference, of multiple voices and resounding silences. As Atwood's work progresses, the text, like the heroine's life, opens, spreads, and multiplies beyond boundaries. The open form of Lady Oracle is integrally related to a problem which has influenced modern feminist theory: the problem of articulating what has been silenced by a language which reduces the other to the same. In her attempt to express a female language which has been repressed, Atwood does not begin outside the boundaries of phallocentric discourse; instead, she presents what Linda Hutcheon refers to as an "unmasking of dead conventions by challenging, by mirroring."
Ayant plus qu'une fonction uniquement topographique ou étant plus qu'une représentation littéraire d'un espace réel, le littoral africain dans Trou de mémoire d'Hubert Aquin devient une unité descriptive d'ordre affective et idéologique. Le roman démontre deux catégories de la discursivisation du littoral africain: la perception à travers la métaphorisation anthropomorphique et les valeurs sociopolitiques mettant en place le discours de l'auteur. Ce discours nous renvoie, par l'entremise de la métaphore, à la réalité historique, colonialiste des peuples québécois et africains occidentaux. Ce n'est donc pas, comme l'écrit Gilbert Durant, un "espace perceptif" qu'Aquin nous présente, mais bien un "espace représentatif à fonction symbolique."