A Certain Difficulty of Being: Essays on the Quebec Novel
A Certain Difficulty of Being provides an English-speaking audience with an account of some of the most interesting narrative problems which mark the development of the Quebec novel. Anthony Purdy uses the tools of contemporary narratology to go beyond the more formal studies of the sixties and seventies. Why, he asks, are the narrators of the novels he studies telling the stories they tell, and why do they experience such difficulty in doing so ?In the Preface to A Certain Difficulty of Being Purdy examines the kinds of discourse that deal with the novel in some nineteenth-century Quebec novel prefaces, thereby revealing a theme of generic denegation in the sense of "This is not a novel." Purdy goes on to explore the transition from epic to novel in Félix-Antoine Savard's Menaud, maître-draveur; the contradictions stemming from the use of a first-person, present-tense narrative in André Langevin's Poussière sur la ville; the problem of narrativity and history as it is raised in Hubert Aquin's Prochain épisode; and the way in which narrative voice functions in Anne Hébert's Kamouraska. He also touches on the current debate concerning the boundaries between modernism and post-modernism. Purdy does not offer an all-embracing system to explain the development of narrative in the Quebec novel, but leads us to an understanding of how these particular novels function, each in its own socio-historical context, and how they achieve or fail to achieve what they set out to do. The thread that runs through the different chapters is a pragmatic concern with Quebec's historical "difficulty of being" as it informs in varying ways the narrative projects of the novels in question. 1998, McGill University Press.
Peter Greenaway: Architecture and Allegory
This monograph emphasizes the Greenaway's use of architecture as a structuring device as well as a metaphor and vehicle for the exploration of artistic practice in general, by looking at all of his best-known films. Illustrated with his own art work and film stills, this is a critical examination of many of the issues surrounding Greenaway's idiosyncratic work. 1997, John Wiley and Sons.
Literature and Science (editor)
Taking as a starting point the embeddedness of all disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry - since interdisciplinarity is itself not a unitary phenomenon but encompasses many different knowledge practices embedded in widely differing political, economic and ideological constituencies - the essays in this volume explore in different ways some of the conversations currently taking place across disciplinary boundaries in the exciting new field of literature and science. Like literature, science is seen as a site of competing ideological constructions, as a complex (and richly ambiguous) element of modern (and postmodern) social discourse, circulating in a wider cultural community where its currency fluctuates according to complex changes in social and epistemic conditions, including the relative prestige or cultural capital of 'science' (or 'literature') within professional and disciplinary hierarchies at any given time. 1994, Rodopi.
Literature and Money (editor)
At a time when the "dull rationality of the money calculus" seems to be making ground in every sphere, it is perhaps opportune to reopen the question of literature and its relations with a rationality defined according to the logic of economic exchange: what kinds of value flow from such a rationality and what possibilities of resistance are there if we happen not to like the model and its more rebarbative ideological implications? Historically, attempts to reduce the richness of human exchange to utilitarian or economic paradigms have met with counter-cultural expressions of dissent and defiance. And yet the search for an 'authentic community' outside the reifications and repressions of economic exchange presents its own ambiguities and pitfalls, since the attempt to ground value in other spheres can function ideologically to secure and legitimize the very values it seeks to oppose. This is especially true in literature and other expressions of high culture, where mobilizations of the aesthetic (or the textual) as a site of resistance to economic hegemony are frequently recuperated in advance by the dominant discourse. The essays collected here tend, then, to explore in various ways, not only the ideological implications of literary (or more broadly cultural) representations or constructions of economic exchange, but also the often complex mediations that such constructions enter into. 1993, Rodopi.