Timothy Findley's Famous Last Words uses formal innovations, such as the framing story of Freyberg and Quinn, to position the reader as an active and critical agent. The framing story turns the reader's tendency to identify with Quinn and Mauberley into an object of critical inquiry; it invites the reader to examine the Mauberley-like tendencies in him/herself. The ambivalence of imagination -- either "our greatest gift" (Findley) or a means to envision perfection, with its accompanying tendency towards fascism -- and the foregrounding of the element of "story" in history forces the reader to "collaborate" in the text, with all of the associated negative and positive connotations of that word. Famous Last Words, like a piece of Brechtian theatre, presents a complex play between confident assertions about the truth of history and a recognition that all analyses of history are limited by their historical and ideological origins.
Ayant comme point de départ l'article "Reticence in Carol Shields" de Kent Thompson, Léger tente d'examiner la nouvelle "Mrs. Turner Cutting the Grass" de Carol Shields (tirée du recueil Various Miracles) selon la théorie de polyphonie romanesque de Bakhtine. Selon ce dernier, le discours, ou l'opposition sociale des voix, est un élément essentiel de la polyphonie; pourtant, l'écriture de Shields a plus souvent recours à un discours indirect plutôt qu'à un dialogue entre les personnages. D'après Hirschkop, deux caractéristiques de la polyphonie incluent la distinction entre la voix de l'auteure et celles de ses personnages ainsi que la stratification linguistique d'une société. Peut-on donc affirmer, dans la traduction, que la nouvelle de Shields comprend ces facteurs? Les voix multiples du texte-source sont-elles perdues dans la langue d'arrivée?
Poet Brian Bartlett's paean of praise captures his experience of "living with" Tim Lilburn's poems from Moosewood Sandhills, an exploration of three years of life in the sandhills along the South Saskatchewan River. Contrasting the difference between reading as "looking at something and living with it" (from Joseph Wood Krutch's The Desert Year), Bartlett opts for a multi-layered approach to the poems, drawing parallels with Thoreau's Walden, Roethke's "North American Sequence," and Wallace Stevens's The Palm At the End of the Mind, and giving close readings to lines. He celebrates Lilburn's combination of religious asceticism with intense visual imagery of natural phenomena, and his dichotomies of abstract and sensuous language, all of which create an unusual, demanding book.
In The Whirlpool, Jane Urquhart subverts the Arachne and Ariadne myths, associating the images of weaving with constructs of female imprisonment and death. The whirlpool, a symbol of death by drowning, and the trope of the drowned poet/demon lover also create imprisoning myths for the female characters. The protagonists, Maud and Fleda (with the aid of male catalysts, David and Patrick), escape the frame of the symbolic borders of marriage and female imprisonment and reconstruct their identities.
Buckler's protagonist, David, in The Mountain and the Valley, suffers from an inability to hear correctly the polyphonic world of the valley people and his surroundings, generate his own voice, and enter into a dialogue with those around him. As David grows older, he silences himself and withdraws into isolation, in search of transcendence through a non-existent meta-language divorced from the dialogue of life. He chooses to suspend time, to exit the temporal-spatial world, the heteroglot world that Bakhtin describes and this novel explores.
Although Anne Hébert's "La Fille Maigre" is not a direct response to "Contre une dame trop maigre" by the French baroque poet Jean Auvray, the poems are inverted versions of each other. Auvray's male speaker despises the thin woman, the "carcasse d'os," whom he both embraces and repulses as a symbol of death. Hébert gives voice to the woman, who reconfigures her bony body (bones used as metonymy for the essential woman) as a means to enter the lover whose heart is absent. In Auvray, sex powers the text; in Hébert, it is text that powers sex. Hébert's speaker rearticulates her body as subject and gives the essential woman a voice.
Main Brides can be read as a text that displaces the narrative quest(ion) for/of identity. Rather than dis-covering Lydia's identity, peeling away surfaces for some hidden truth, Gail Scott uses her "narrator" as a fantasizing focalizer in whom a layering or sampling of identities replaces the concept of fixed identity. Lydia becomes an intertextual construct that produces other texts; Lydia's focalization creates a narrative in which identities are not dis-covered as truths but acted out.
Recalling and invoking Byron's achievements in poetry and drama, Richardson constructs in his novels a dark and disturbing New World wilderness haunted by shadowy Canadian Cains. Wacousta's essential lineaments are those of the Byronic hero/Gothic hero-villain. Unlike James Fenmore Cooper and Walter Scott's innocent and optimistic heroes, Wacousta is a paradoxical, passionate, problematic figure, an embodiment of Northrop Frye's Romantic tragic lover, wandering in a nightmarish Canadian borderland.
Constructed within the transformations of Maritime culture after World War I, Raddall's early historical novels are more than naive attempts to transcend contemporary activities. In His Majesty's Yankees, a powerful patriarchal master-narrative structures the narrative and fuels the text's conservative vision; in Roger Sudden, the celebration of a conservative system is fused with a modernist anxiety about the failures of conventional signifying practices and the instability of traditional social values. Both historical romances illustrate the ideological shifts of their day.
Alistair MacLeod talks about his work on his novel, No Great Mischief If They Fall (recently published as No Great Mischief), and compares short story writing to a "hundred-yard dash" while novel writing is a walk to Montreal (presumably from Windsor). He claims that some of the best writing being done in Canada is by short-story writers. The writer situates himself in the realist tradition and cites the importance of landscape, orality, and "the ring of authenticity" to his work.
John Moss discusses his book, Enduring Dreams, a work of creative non-fiction about his "personal and philosophical" exploration of the Arctic. He explores the connection between landscape, the written word, and narrative procedure. He claims the book is a metaphysical response to landscape.