English - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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You must work harder to write poetry of excellence: ideolect and ideology in Canadian poetry reviewing since 1961

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This research examines poetry reviewing in Canada since 1961 when, arguably, the cultural shift into postmodernity begins to affect poetry production in Canada. Based on the primary observation that the textual forms produced under the sign of poetry have pluralised exponentially since 1961 while the concepts, tropes, metaphors of poetry reviewing have remained very stable, this thesis treats the language of poetry reviews as a relatively constant ideolect, and sets out to map and interpret some of its most structurally crucial constitutive threads. Its theoretical points of departure include Louis Althusser, Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek's treatment of language and ideology, Frederic Jameson's reading of postmodernity, and contemporary North American poetics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J
Department: 
Dept. of English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Event Hermeneutics and Narrative: Tarrying in the Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

The primary aim of this thesis is to elucidate a frequently misunderstood and undervalued content in the hermeneutical philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer, his characterization of a modality of being he calls tarrying (Verweilen) as a special temporality. The characteristics of this temporality specify and deepen what he means by "eventhermeneutics." This time-concept is decisive for seeing the relevance of Gadamer's philosophical project to, for example, a defense of the humanities, as well as to the struggle over a meaningful concept of spirit. In light of this primary aim, a second dimension of this thesis is to consider the temporal qualities of narrative thinking and narrative art, especially those qualities relating to the measurement and assemblage of time, since these qualities make narrative art conspicuously exemplary of the calculative and planning reason whose "onesidedness" Gadamer's philosophical project opposes. Gadamer's many passing references to narrative art express reservations about this art form. Taken together, these amount less to a critique of the temporality of narrative than to a radical reconception of narrative art consistent with his own time-concept of tarrying. However, a view of narrative art that holds to the normative view of time and the corresponding ontology can be found in the work of Paul Ricoeur. His work develops from precisely what is critiqued by Gadamer. I stress the importance of this contrast for correctly situating their respective hermeneutical philosophies. Gadamer's alternative conception of time is much more radical than Ricoeur's, but because Gadamer implies rather then thematizes a critique of narrative temporality, it is left to the attentive reader to work out. English readers, though, have been hampered by the unavailability, until recently, of Gadamer translations, some of which are here examined.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

The Bohr-Einstein dialogue : a rhetorical and genre analysis

Date created: 
2004
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of English) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Promising transnational births: The womb and cyborg poetics in Asian Canadian literature

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Up until this point, 2006, Asian Canadian criticism has sought legitimacy within a national framework in its efforts to carve out a distinctive Asian Canadian identity space. However, Canada is now explicitly "transnational"; it has been and continues to be a site of interconnected local and global movements that come together to produce particular spatial, political, and cultural configurations. Asian Canadian criticism has the potential to leverage itself as a critical medium for disturbing and deterritorializing constructed borders. The permeable critical lens of the present rereads the nation as a womb-space whose naturalized borders have allowed the nation-state to obscure its heterogeneity with the myth of stable identity reproduction. Literary texts like SKY Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe, Denise Chong’s The Concubine’s Children, Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, and Kerri Sakamoto’s The Electrical Field have a tendency to write according to national confines because they have yet to break out of naturalized domestic borders. Other texts like Anita Rau Badami’s Tamarind Mem and Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony claim belonging within the nation by reproducing dominant paradigms that reify constructed borders. However, recent works like Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child, Ashok Mathur’s The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar, and Kerri Sakamoto’s One Hundred Million Hearts have moved beyond claiming the nation to using present transnational contexts to rethink supposedly fixed identity spaces. Hiromi Goto’s Hopeful Monsters and Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl are examples of texts that further denaturalize the borders of the nation by claiming materiality and productivity within ambivalent subject positi ons. Donna Haraway’s "cyborg" is a crucial term for thinking about these recent Asian Canadian texts that negotiate the multiple material and discursive forces that shape their subjectivity. The cyborg exposes Asian Canadian as a fundamentally mixed and intersectional subject position. Asian Canadian criticism moves beyond a national framework through this critical performance that mobilizes the category as a productive rereading medium. Works like Laiwan’s "notes towards a body," "notes towards a body II," and Remotely in Touch presage a future for Asian Canadian literature in which it can leverage its own cyborg power for performing and producing change.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Queer spellings: Magic and melancholy in fantasy-fiction

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This dissertation explores the connection between magic and melancholia in queer fantasy-fiction, looking broadly at what makes the entire fantasy genre in some fundamental sense “queer.” Synthesizing and applying psychoanalytical theories on mourning and melancholia from Sigmund Freud to Judith Butler, I examine how LGBT-identified characters within literary and visual media by Samuel Delany, Mercedes Lackey, Chaz Brenchley, Lynn Flewelling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joss Whedon, and others, negotiate their subjectivities and erotic lives through the melancholic incorporation and manipulation of supernatural forces. In so doing, I contend that fantasy, as a category of generic production and gender inscription, reveals an extremely provocative connection between queerness, mourning, and the supernatural. Arguing that magic and melancholia emerge from similar spaces of psychoanalytic “lack,” I position the linguistic and gestural acts of wizardry and spellcasting—the root of all fantastic formulations and fabulations—as performative acts designed to bridge an impossible gap in signification.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
P
Department: 
Dept. of English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

The prismatic reality of Canada's Cold War novels

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Several important novels were published in Canada in 1954. They include Mordecai Richler's first book, The Acrobats, Fred Bodsworth's The Last of the Curlews, Charles Bruce's The Channel Shore, Robertson Davies'; expertly crafted, Leaven of Malice, and what proved to be Ethel Wilson's masterwork, Swamp Angel. It was a bonanza year in fiction and these titles are still in print. Yet the Governor General's Award for 1954 went to a novel that has been forgotten, Igor Gouzenko's The Fall of a Titan. Why was this anti-Communist spy novel, written by a Soviet defector and translated into English, so highly regarded by the arbiters of Canadian culture in the 1950s? What does it say about Canadian literature and social values in the 1950s that this novel, which has earned only a brief mention in The Literary History of Canada, was so highly prized at that time? I see this curious aberration in literary judgement as symptomatic of something larger in Canadian society and use it to conduct an analysis of class and political ideology in selected Canadian fiction of the 1950s. As part of North America, Canada has followed the United States and made anti-Communism part of Canadian government policy. This political background and the events that ensued in the 1950s inevitably affected and decided the ideology of Canadian writers and are reflected in their works. The chief difference among the writers as they mirror the perceived social and political reality is that some became the speakers for the ruling class in art and literature while others, despite their desire to reflect the ideology and needs of those from the lower order -- the left-wing and the working class --, still could not escape the bonds of the prevailing ideology around them. The primary purpose of this essay, through analyzing works by Morley Callaghan, Ethel Wilson, Hugh MacLennan, and Mordecai Richler, is to study the range of literary responses to the Cold War politics of the 1950s and to measure the degree to which the dominant conservatism and concomitant fear of Communism shaped the literature of Canada in this period.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
D
Department: 
Dept. of English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)