As readers approach bp Nichol's long poem The Martyrology, they commence by reading (of) Nichol's death, itself utterly senseless and unrepresentable and yet fully inscribed in a poem whose final form is what it is exactly because of it. Yet, Nichol's death, like the materiality of the letter, constitutes the most fundamental point of resistance to the poem's reading; that is, according to Paul de Man's theory that language is ultimately not human, Nichol's death -- its unthinkability, its refusal to be understood -- disfigures The Martyrology, defacing or marking the text precisely by unmasking its readability as a humane figure imposed upon a monstrously indifferent otherness. Moreover, as one continues to read the poem and examine its inhuman language, one can see a connection between Saussure's understanding of how signifying systems in language operate and the exorbitant treatment of language in Nichol's work (especially in Book 5), for, by dismembering words into letters, Nichol brings out the relationship between meaningfulness and the literal, material properties of language.
What one sees in the fiction of Timothy Findley is not a movement from fictional worlds into fiction itself. Rather, what binds the fiction together is Findley's complex thematic concept of fascism. This is not to say that all the works have the same theme, but they share strikingly similar moral dimensions: all of his books (The Butterfly Plague, Famous Last Words, Can You See Me Yet?, The Last of the Crazy People, Not Wanted on the Voyage, The Telling of Lies, Dinner Along the Amazon, Stones, and The Wars) strive to show the pitfalls that fascist thinking places around us -- its infectiousness, its poison, and its attraction -- not just as a society, but also within the family and the individual.
Since the publication of Margaret Atwood's Survival in 1972, an enhanced awareness of victimization and power has been reflected by many Canadian women writers of fiction who have presented complex images of women as powerful. Aritha Van Herk's Judith and The Tent Peg take a strident feminist stance, presenting images in which women are seen to have androgynous power, power combined from men's and women's traditional sources of power; for Van Herk, freedom of choice seems to be the ultimate power. Alice Munro, in her short stories "The Beggar Maid," "Simon's Luck," and "Lichen," takes us beyond the issue of male versus female power by presenting images in which forces outside the control of men or women have the ultimate control, levelling the power struggle to an insignificance in the larger scheme of things while attributing great power to artistic creation -- a human being's ability to liken. Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Cat's Eye see a woman's power in terms of her ability to voice her life and emotions so as to win an emotional response; because the power to feel and to create feeling is for Atwood's heroines woman's true power, artistic creation becomes the symbol of woman's greatest power.
Robert Choquette et Alfred DesRochers, deux poètes québécois bien connus, étaient des écrivains soucieux de leur propre carrière littéraire, mais ils étaient aussi des animateurs au niveau de la culture québécoise du milieu du vingtième siècle. Leur correspondance démontre les divers aspects de leurs activités littéraires, de leur réflexion sur la culture québécoise et de leur vision de la poésie au Québec. Cette correspondance permet de découvrir des aspects peu connus de la période littéraire des années 20 et de ces deux poètes. On y découvre des discussions portant sur les problèmes de la diffusion de la poésie québécoise, en particulier celle produite en région.
John Mills has complained that Robertson Davies's novel World of Wonders has no real focus, is not clearly about anything. However, Davies's use of the uncanny in World of Wonders is too specific and too extensive to be insignificant. His admiration for Freud has been well documented, and he seems here to direct us to Freud's paper "The Uncanny." Davies uses the uncanny deliberately. His purpose is the same as Eisengrim's purpose: he uses the uncanny to evoke a strong, subjective response in us -- to make us feel the violation Willard commits, to make us feel the wonder Mungo Fetch creates. Davies tries to create for us the magic of illusion. Yet, at the same time, he tries to dispel that illusion by continually referring to other texts and to his own text as a fiction. Thus, Davies refuses "truth" status for his fiction and forces us instead to participate in its creation and interpretation.
In Mavis Gallant's novels -- Green Water, Green Sky, "Its Image on the Mirror," and A Fairly Good Time -- structure and language, the emotional and empathic elements of the fiction, serve to involve the reader in the experiences of each mournful character. When silence seems to be the only option for a character, Gallant either uses a narrator to elegize on behalf of that character (as in Green Water, Green Sky), or provides the character with a displaced form of self-expression (as in "Its Image on the Mirror" and A Fairly Good Time). In all of these novels, then, the silent cry of each protagonist is ultimately voiced. Yet, there is a judgmental quality to Gallant's fiction, in that the uninvolved reader is implicated alongside the non-comprehending, unempathetic characters in Gallant's critiques. In the end, we are urged to take responsibility for our own readings, both of the literary realities of the fiction and of the literal reality it serves to illuminate -- we are urged to listen for that silent cry.
Pauline Johnson can be considered one of those authors who make it difficult to separate their writings from their biographies or from the public personae they have created. Not only did she mine her own past for content and for image, presenting that image, carefully groomed and trimmed, on the concert stage, but she asserted that her genetic history (her father was Mohawk) gave her the privilege of addressing certain subjects. Her poetry, prose, and published persona can all be considered pieces of an aesthetic whole.
When compared, the plots of Thomas Head Raddall's The Nymph and the Lamp and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre appear to be quite similar, yet neither Raddall himself nor any Raddall scholars have ever included Brontë among Raddall's influences. This may be because, even though The Nymph and the Lamp borrows heavily from Jane Eyre's plot, it shares none of the latter novel's feminist spirit. Moreover, Raddall's novel is not only similar in plot to Jane Eyre, it may also be a calculated response to the earlier book, for the messages of the two novels are substantially opposite: where Brontë expounds a progressive feminist cause, Raddall's cause is conservatively (even regressively) patriarchal. Hence, Raddall's borrowing from Brontë's novel is, in a sense, ironic as it undermines and subverts the feminist message of Jane Eyre.
Despite being a novel dismissed by critics as of little interest, Hugh Garner's Waste No Tears is worthy of examination because of the strong relationship between it and three of Garner's better known short stories. In the case of "The Yellow Sweater," it appears that the novel borrowed heavily in elements of plot and character from the story. In the case of "Lucy" and "Mama Says to Tell You She's Out," the stories show a recycling of plot situations and character interactions first developed in Garner's least known early novel.
Marshall McLuhan has offered the Deconstructionist argument that Canada is a "hidden ground" existing as a cipher between two logo-centres. Canada is a gap in the text, showing up geographically, but washed clean of history. Yet, Linda Hutcheon has suggested that the historiographic impulse to address other national histories can be seen as Canada's entry into the world community. Recourse to other histories of production inevitably leads one to the metaphor of scatology, for production invariably leads to waste, and a culture can thus be known by its waste. The historicizing writer, then, can often destroy gaps by using scatology as a sign of presence. In David Williams' first two books, The Burning Wood and The River Horsemen, scatology traces the marginalizing of the Native that haunts Canadian history; in Eye of the Father, Williams, by using scatology, presents a careful response to the notion of the Canadian self as a depleted and innocent sign.
En entrevue, Laurier Melanson se dit fier d'être francophone, même s'il aura vécu plusieurs années dans un milieu anglophone. Il écrit en français et en anglais afin de posséder une vision plus juste du monde. Il avoue que ses aventures au théâtre et en musique ont joué un rôle important dans sa carrière littéraire. Il n'a commencé à écrire sérieusement qu'après l'âge de cinquante ans. Il écrit par besoin non seulement monétaire, mais aussi par besoin de s'entendre dire ce qu'il pense. Melanson écrit autant des pièces radiophoniques, qui atteignent un public assez restreint, que des romans. Bien qu'il soit classé comme écrivain comique, il peut être tout aussi sérieux; comme Marcel Proust, Melanson est capable d'insérer le rire dans le tragique.