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Uncertain Mirrors realigns magical realism within a changing critical landscape, from Aristotelian mimesis to Adorno’s concept of negative dialectics. In between, the volume traverses a vast theoretical arena, from postmodernism and postcolonialism to Lévinasian philosophy and eco-criticism. The volume opens and closes with dialectical instability, as it recasts the mutability of the term “mimesis” as both a “world-reflecting” and a “world-creating” mechanism. Magical realism, the authors contend, offers another stance of the possible; it also situates the reader at a hybrid aesthetic matrix inextricably linked to postcolonial theory, postmodernism, Bakhtinian theory, and quantum physics. As Uncertain Mirrors explores, magical realist texts partake of modernist exhaustion as much as of postmodernist replenishment, yet they stem from a different “location of culture” and “direction of culture;” they offer complex aesthetic artifacts that, in their recreation of alternative geographic and semiotic spaces, dislocate hegemonic texts and ideologies. Their unrealistic excess effects a breach in the totalized unity represented by 19th century realism, and plays the dissonant chord of the particular and the non-identical.
Contemporary Women Writers in Britain
Volume Editor:
This volume assembles critical essays on, and excerpts from, works of contemporary women writers in Britain. Its focus is the interaction of aesthetic play and ethical commitment in the fictional work of women writers whose interest in testing and transgressing textual boundaries is rooted in a specific awareness of a gendered multicultural reality. This position calls for a distinctly critical impetus of their writing involving the interaction of the political and the literary as expressed in innovative combinations of realist and postmodern techniques in works by A. S. Byatt, Maureen Duffy, Zoe Fairbairns, Eva Figes, Penelope Lively, Sara Maitland, Suniti Namjoshi, Ravinder Randhawa, Joan Riley, Michele Roberts, Emma Tennant, Fay Weldon, Jeanette Winterson. All contributions to this volume address aspects of these writers' positions and techniques with a clear focus on their interest in transgressing boundaries of genre, gender and (post)colonial identity. The special quality of these interpretations, first given in the presence of writers at a symposium in Potsdam, derives from the creative and prosperous interactions between authors and critics. The volume concludes with excerpts from the works of the participating writers which exemplify the range of concrete concerns and technical accomplisments discussed in the essays. They are taken from fictional works by Debjani Chatterjee, Maureen Duffy, Zoe Fairbairns, Eva Figes, Sara Maitland, and Ravinder Randhawa. They also include the creative interactions of Suniti Namjoshi and Gillian Hanscombe in their joint writing and Paul Magrs' critical engagement with Sara Maitland.
Writing Ethnicity in Canada
Volume Editors: and
Studies of literary reflections on ethnicity are essential to the ever-renewed definition of Canadian literature. The essays in this collection explore the diverse ways of negotiating identity and the articulation of space in Canada, taking ethnicity as a driving force with ideological and cultural implications that lend public and literary discourse an urgent dynamism. While theorizing ethnicity is a valuable critical enterprise, these essays centre on the concrete realization of the problematics of ethnicity in creative writing, covering a wide range of Canada's mosaic. The creative inscription of ethnicity stimulates the evolution and expansion of Canada's literary heritage, the complexity of this cultural experience being the focus of the present collection. Fourteen essays, including a personal account by the Ukrainian-Canadian Janice Kulyk Keefer on the merging of private and public history, and two interviews - with the Chinese-Canadian writer Wayson Choy and the critic Linda Hutcheon - analyze the manifestations of the pluralism that has always characterized Canadian writers' consciousness of themselves, their engagement with the notion of the ‘multicultural' and its significance in contemporary society and, in particular, its effect on creativity.
Author:
This collection is concerned with the problems and pleasures of writing literary biography in the context of South African writing. Stephen Gray's introduction outlines the choice faced by the researcher: between writing revisionist history (à la Strachey) and the personal bias the portraitist must take into account when conducting the retrieval especially of lost and enigmatic figures (à la Symons). Concentrating on the unattached irregulars of the arts in South Africa - often the arts of their times - Gray stresses the value of the free-lance figure in the formation of an evolving colonial and post-colonial literature.
Subjects included are: Charles Maclean, alias John Ross, who recorded his experiences of the Zulu King Shaka in Natal's first captivity narrative; Douglas Blackburn, rated as the successor of Swift for his satires of the Anglo-Boer War conflict; Beatrice Hastings, polymath journalist whose lovers included Katherine Mansfield and Amedeo Modigliani; Stephen Black, founder of indigenous South African drama in English; Edward Wolfe, the Bloomsbury painter who began as a child-actor in the mining town of Johannesburg; Bessie Head, who became the Botswana-based wise-woman of African literature before her untimely death in 1986, yet never knew her own origins; Etienne Leroux, the Free State rancher who, in Afrikaans, wrote much-banned postmodernist novels; Mary Renault whose bestselling novels set in Ancient Greece peculiarly represented the shutdown of democracy in apartheid South Africa; Sipho Sepamla, stalwart of the Soweto Poetry school which came to prominence after the 1976 Soweto uprising; and Richard Rive, novelist, cultural commentator and liberation icon, murdered in his prime. The portrait gallery of the figures who have shaped and defined the role of literature in South Africa is both revealing and provocative, showing the route taken by some lesser-known talents in their struggle to establish the rights of authors in an often indifferent or repressive state.
Volume Editor:
The contributors to the present volume, in espousing and extending the programme of such writers as Edward Said, Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, and Gayatri Spivak, lay bare the genealogy of 'writing' empire (thereby, in a sense, 'un-writing' it). One focus is the Caribbean: the retrograde agenda of francophone créolité; the re-writing of empire in the postmodern disengagement of Edouard Glissant; resistance to post-colonial allegiances, and the dissolving of binary categories, in contemporary West Indian writing. Essays on India, Malaysia, and Indonesia explore various aspects of cultural self-understanding in Asia: un-writing high culture through hybrid 'shopping' among Western styles; the use of indigenous oral forms to counter Western hegemony; romantic and anti-romantic attitudes towards empire and the land. A shift to Africa brings a study of Nadine Gordimer's feminist un-writing of Hemingway's masculinist colonising narrative, a searching analysis of Soyinka's restoration of ancient syncretic elements in his West African re-visions of Greek tragedy, changing evaluations of the validity of European civilization in André Gide's representations of Africa, and tensions of linguistic allegiance in Maghreb literature. North America, finally, is brought back into the imperial fold through discussions of Melville's re-writing of travel and captivity narratives to critique the mission of American empire, Leslie Marmon Silko's re-territorialization of expropriated Native American oral traditions, and Timothy Findley's representation of Canada's troubled involvement with its three shaping empires (French, British, American).
New European Perspectives / Nouvelles perspectives européennes
Volume Editors: and
The essays collected here illustrate aspects of recent research conducted by graduate students in Canadian studies at various European universities. The methodological diversity displayed points to the very essence of the culture the contributors explore - what has been commonly termed the Canadian mosaic or, more recently, the Canadian kaleidoscope (Janice Kulyk-Keefer). In analysing the many facets of this mosaic, the numerous images of this kaleidoscope, the contributors offer fresh and youthful reappraisals of traditional visions of Canadianness.