Charles G.D. Roberts's animal stories are regularly discussed as an attempt to create a new kind of animal character, one that is not an anthropomorphic copy of human psychology nor a one-dimensional allegory, but instead a "real" animal based on accurate observation and up-to-date science. However, since no realism is transparent, Roberts's stories cannot be expected to neutrally reproduce reality, despite their modernist techniques. Indeed, what Roberts's "animal biographies" choose to signify as "real" -- human, masculine selfhood concerned with hierarchical power structure, as well as a unified autonomous human personality as universal phenomenon -- is as important as the ways in which these notions are signified. The stories function as ideology and do the work of politics; they occupy a place in the critical narrative of the development of realism in Canadian fiction by constructing the reader as subject, "naturally predatory," material, and male.
While much has been made of Robert Kroetsch's use in his poetry of an archaeological model derived from sources including Heidegger, Williams, Olson, and Foucault, in his long poem Seed Catalogue, the poet makes use of a horticultural model. A close reading of Seed Catalogue reveals the poem's central question -- "How do do you grow a poet?" -- serving as a guide to Kroetsch's workings through his own genesis as a prairie writer in a literary landscape dominated by fiction. Seed Catalogue's hybrid form is evidence of the beginnings (or seeds) of, the numerous models for, and the various methodologies employed in the service of such development.
One characteristic of Don McKay's poetry is his striking use of metaphor; it demands a heightened state of attention and imagination that serves to stretch language beyond the merely descriptive. In considering both post-structuralist and phenomenological approaches to metaphor and poetics, a survey of some of the poems from McKay's collections Birding, or desire and Night Field reveals McKay's views of language and poetry as similar to those of Heidegger. Further, McKay's metaphors are shown as both informing and being informed by the poems that contain them. The use of metaphor in McKay's poetry acts a springboard into what can be best described as wilderness. Metaphor, in these instances, can be considered analogous in many ways to nature poetry.
Stan Dragland presents a possible pedagogy for the teaching of poetry, one that involves creative writing and reading as its central tenets. The suggested pedagogical approach -- one that champions neither traditional forms nor open filed poetry exclusively -- is firmly grounded in a Canadian cultural context, taking into account the image of Canada as cultural shape-shifter as well as what Don McKay refers to as "wilderness" and others label "nordicity." At the same time, Dragland acknowledges the difficulties in transferring any pedagogical approach across individual instructors' differences, let alone institutional or cultural ones.
Claire de Lamirande manie l'ironie comme ressort rhétorique, outil particulièrement subversif au féminin. Dans ses œuvres des années soixante et soixante-dix, l'ironie se manifeste d'abord de façon évidente, révélant l'âpreté et l'amertume des personnages d'Aldébaran ou la fleur (1968). Ce mal de vivre se métamorphose dans ses œuvres ultérieures (Le Grand élixir, 1969; La Baguette magique, 1971; La Pièce montée, 1975) en autocritique. Ici, l'ironie implicite est plus intériorisée, et souligne une tendance marquée dans l'écriture fictionnelle au féminin de cette époque. Dans son roman historique, Papineau ou l'épée à double tranchant (1980), l'auteure représente par l'ironie l'aspect quotidien et banal de l'Histoire. La mise en abyme d'un récit fictif qui se penche sur le passé réel crée une ironie constructionnelle, illustrant en outre la dextérité de l'auteure. À la fois pionnière et prophète du mouvement féministe, de Lamirande affile une voix originale de résistance et commande l'ironie tant du point de vue social que stylistique.
An undercurrent of obscurity flows throughout much of Alice Munro's fiction. In fact, recent Munro criticism has noted the author's increasing involvement with a poetics of uncertainty and a rhetoric of mistrust. Modality -- recognized as one of the most fruitful areas of intersection between linguistic and literary styles -- provides the basis for an examination of the stylistic approach taken in three of Munro's early stories: "Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You," "Royal Beatings," and "Half a Grapefruit." Close study of these early narratives considering both epistemic and deontic modality reveals that the epistemic commitment encoded in the stories is often weak, that Munro uses modality to encode gossip, and further, that often the boundaries between epistemic and deontic meaning are unclear, resulting in a pervasive narratorial ambiguity. Such stylistic analysis of the role of modality in these texts also leads to the discovery that knowledge is most often the theme of these narratives.
The link between Canadian women's novels of self-development and notions of "wilderness" has become exceptionally strong over the past few decades. Despite this, Joan Barfoot's feminist wilderness novel, Gaining Ground, has garnered little critical attention. However, Barfoot's modification of Frye's garrison mentality in an expressly feminist context is worthy of consideration. Also of note are the ways in which Barfoot's narrative deals with Atwood's notions of the archaeological, as outlined in Survival, as well as the manners in which Barfoot's writing is clearly informed by Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. A close reading of Gaining Ground in these contexts suggests that the reasons for the disjuncture between the strongly feminist content of the novel and the lack of critical attention paid it might lie in its presentations of separation and the abandonment of children: the ease of which creates a real sense of discomfort and highlights the charges against the feminist movement that it has failed to outline a place for children.
Katherine Govier's Between Men is a complex fiction combining elements of the novel of feminist empowerment, historical fiction, contemporary romance, the academic novel, and historiographic metafiction. It develops and weaves -- braids -- three narrative lines together into a composite, intertwined narrative that blurs the boundaries between history and fiction. Govier's use of the "Metafictive Braid" is central to this project of feminist historiography. Analysis of characterization -- particularly the main character in the novel -- reveals its presentation of both false and true guides, as well as its function in driving and determining the plot: a contemporary rewriting of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, which becomes a story of self-recovery instead of self-loss. Govier's novel is a complex feminist work that closely examines the worlds of public and private history.
Fiction writer Diane Schoemperlen discusses her novel In the Language of Love, with Darryl Whetter focussing on the importance of form, structure, character, and gender, as well as the effect that motherhood had on her writing of the book. Truth, memory and story, along with the idea of the writer as a liar are also discussed, as are thoughts on writing and the novel by writers such as Kundera, Woolf, and Kroetsch. Schoemperlen also comments on the experience of writing a novel versus writing other forms of fiction, and on her place in the Canadian writing community.