Editing Modernism in Canada


Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

Senior Programmer Position at the University of Alberta

The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) seeks a Senior Programmer/Analyst to play a vital role in developing online infrastructure for humanities scholars. CWRC will produce a virtual research environment for the study of writing in Canada, in partnership with other open-source software initiatives and with literary researchers. The position will build a repository, a layer of services for the production, use, and analysis of repository and federated materials, and an interface.

The Senior Programmer/Analyst reports to the Project Leader through the Project Manager, and will play a key role in the infrastructure development. As a member of the team required for consultation on and participation in high-level decisions in the development process, this staff member will advise, design, build, and augment technical components of the project.

This is a full-time position for a minimum of three years and carries full benefits. The deadline for submission of applications (resumé and cover letter) is December 10th.

The full job postings is available at http://www.careers.ualberta.ca/Competition/S110413061/

November 26, 2010

Project Manager Position at CWRC

The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) seeks a project manager to play a vital role in developing online infrastructure for humanities scholars. CWRC will produce a virtual research environment for the study of writing in Canada, in partnership with other open-source software initiatives and with literary researchers. It will build a repository, a layer of services for the production, use, and analysis of repository and federated materials, and an interface. More information about the project is available at: http://cwrc.cs.ualberta.ca/index.php/General:CWRC.

Reporting to the Project Leader, the project manager will be a full participant in project development. We require a dedicated team member, with depth of knowledge in literary studies and familiarity with the digital humanities, to play a key role in planning infrastructure development, coordinating user needs analysis, assisting in developing specifications for contract work and partnership agreements, evaluating work in progress and completed, and managing one or more subprojects in the software development process. The project manager will help represent the project to the University, project partners, and external communities. We need someone with strong prioritizing, organizational and problem-solving skills, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the confidence to work independently, and the ability to establish and maintain quality relationships with CWRC researchers, partners, employees, and contractors.

The position is a full-time Trust/Research academic staff position, with benefits, at the University of Alberta for a minimum of three years. The deadline for application in the form of a c.v. and a letter of interest is Dec. 10.

Full details can be viewed at http://www.careers.ualberta.ca/Competition/A110413063/

November 26, 2010

Constantly Living By The Muse: Destroying Societal Views

Regret–yet having so much more–you think…Children,
A husband: Personal Victory, Personal Achievement…
But Emily Bronte created a family out of words, images that
Were heard through pages haunted by moors, mystery, injustice, anger, and revenge…
Heathcliff–a resentful, irate orphan wanting to wreak revenge…
Kathy–caught between two men–beholden to one in heart…
but propriety, society drew Her to another…A missing Heathcliff creates doubt that he will return; and cements her Decision to go to another–love being abandoned in her eyes…
Heathcliff–tyrannical…But Kathy’s ghost lingers…Heathcliff hears her pleas…Emily in solidarity with her writing sisters–unencumbered by A Man, the domestic prison that incarcerates
so many women…But Emily was free, So was Charlotte and Anne:
Ellis, Currer, and Acton Bell. Having to be men both Figuratively and Literally: donning a man’s name for the right to be published; and listening constantly to the muse without guilt, shame, stigma, or the calling of “Women’s Duty”…Following the heights of desire, their artistic souls on fire…Never caught in the gender-bound quagmire. Emily, Charlotte, and Anne were Uninhibited…

Emily Dickinson too–but was caught, suspended in anxiety’s time–never able to visit her best friend who lived next door…But was in artistic element creating poetic ardour, a shrine to the emotion of words and feelings fascinated by print.

Woman in white: a literary angel who often went out in moonligiht, seeking sanctuary from the closed-in walls and the anxiety that then had no name…Reclusive, a ghost haunted the manor in Amherst…

Emily Carr–a painter and author who captured Canada with her brush and pen–specifically B.C. with its native people and culture. Emily, who made a lifetime sojourn to the B.C. interior–finding her destiny by accident. Like Dian Fossey in later years, who went to Central Africa for a short time to study the mountain gorillas, but ended up returning there: staying a lifetime. Dian left a legacy of knowledge, learning, and advocacy…an admirer and protector of Nature’s Children…

Emily Carr–an admirer of Mother Earth, and an associate of the famous “seven”–listening constantly to her muse…no object of male derision, dominance, or dehumanizing…
Her Spouse is her Art: her children, the paintings born out of the liquid on her brush…And the books birthed from her fertile creativity…Emily Bronte–she needed no husband, her companions being her sisters and her Ever-present imagination…

And Emily Dickinson–she the angel of white, her poetic light evident in alphabetic figures revealing the human heart…
Her family were poems, letters to a best friend, a propensity to create, and a writing desk that hid her secret: symbolized in sheets of white…

The three Emily’s united by creative presence and artistic ability…

Women, not alone, not to be objects of pity: but free to roam the paradise of Uninterrupted creativity–not chained, not prevented by the duties of womanhood: Not shared, and done exclusively by women.

I did this poem in relation to a presentation on Dorothy Livesay, as part of a conference put on by the League Of Canadian Poets. One part of the conference was dedicated to hearing presentations by women poets whose focus was on other women poets. Dorothy Livesay was the subject of my presentation.
I understood how she at first, bought into the patriarchal view of single women artists, who never had children, and were meant to be objects of pity. But, near the end of the poem, she changes her position, and realizes that she is the one that should be the object of pity, for her creativity has often been limited by the duties of wife and mother. Dorothy Livesay, who won the Governor General’s award for poetry twice, felt this way. That made me respond in poetry. I then followed up the poem with a presentation on the history of the women’s movement, and also how the patriarchal definition of being a woman–docile, focussing solely on domesticity–is a social construct that must be removed. If women are to be free not only creatively, but as human beings who can find purpose, and be whole, engaging in life apart from being a wife and mother, this construct must be removed.
I enjoyed being part of this conference, and it was a good experience.

November 25, 2010

The Collected Poems of Miriam Waddington: A Critical Edition (with digital apparatus)

Many of you will know of my ongoing EMiC-sponsored project — a critical edition of Miriam Waddington’s collected poetry — so you may be interested in this informal progress report.

Thanks to the assistance of two key research assistants, doctoral student Catherine Jenkins (who is enrolled in the joint graduate program in Communication and Culture at Ryerson/York Universities) and undergraduate student Stephanie Perrin (who is pursuing a degree in Arts and Contemporary Studies at Ryerson University) my project gained momentum this past spring and summer. 

By September 2009, I had amassed photocopies of most of Waddington’s published poems, both collected and uncollected.  Out of this material, Catherine Jenkins prepared a data base of variants for each published poem.  That data base will be incorporated in the digital apparatus to accompany my published edition.

Stephanie Perrin prepared a working manuscript, based on final published versions of Waddington’s poems.  Catherine, an expert editor in her own right, has gone over that manuscript to ensure its accuracy and completeness.

I am now turning my attention to previously unpublished poems and translations held in the Miriam Waddington fonds at Library and Archives Canada.  To date, I have made one research trip to Ottawa, which has yielded a significant number of photocopies, and I am planning one more extended research trip to complete my work at LAC.  I have yet to study and analyze the previously unpublished material and hope to employ another EMiC-sponsored Research Assistant to facilitate the next stage of my work.

Currently, I envisage the print edition to include (i) a critical introduction; (ii) previously unpublished poems (arranged by date of composition, if possible to determine from extant manuscripts); (iii) previously published poems (arranged by date of final publication); and (iv) Waddington’s translations (arranged by date of composition or final publication).  Print apparatus will include (i) notes on the poems and title indices of (ii) previously unpublished poems, (iii) previously uncollected poems, (iv) translations, and (v) all poems.

In addition to a data base of variants, digital apparatus may include Waddington’s Afterword to her Collected Poems (1986); her essay “Form in Poetry”; selections from Waddington’s Apartment Seven: Essays Selected and New (1989); a piece by Waddington on the process of translation; a representative interview; and sample manuscript/typescript pages.

It’s very exciting to be undertaking this project under the aegis of EMiC, which has generously provided research assistance and collegial support.

November 25, 2010

Reading Such is My Beloved

Thanks to Dean Irvine for the invitation to cross-post from Novel Readings, and especially for lending me his vintage new Canadian Library edition of Such is My Beloved, with its interesting introduction by Malcolm Ross. I’ll be very interested in any comments about my reading of this novel from those of you who, unlike me, really know something about it.

I recently finished reading Morley Callaghan’s 1934 novel Such is My Beloved, which was the first selection for a new reading group I have joined. Yes, I know: I have openly expressed my skepticism about the ‘reading group approach,’ and I never expected anyone to upset my long-held belief that nobody would want to belong to such a club if I were a member. Yet lo and behold, I have a (non-academic) book-loving friend who has another (non-academic) book-loving friend, and so on and so on, and now here we are, a group of eight women (is that inevitable? the on-site husband served wine and promptly absented himself) pledged to meet every other month to talk about our chosen text. As it turns out, the friend of my friend knows another of my friends, also an English professor, and so there are two of “us” in the group. We have vowed to be on our best behaviour, and at the inaugural meeting at least, I think neither of us betrayed any particular classroom habits. I admit, though, it felt odd just letting the discussion go wherever it went, when I’m so used to steering or focusing seminars. It was at once freeing, as I had no responsibility for things like making sure we tested our interpretations against specific passages from the novel, and frustrating–because I had no authority for things like making sure we tested our interpretations against specific passages from the novel! It was certainly an energetic and engaged discussion, and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better at our January meeting.*

It helped me adapt to this new reading environment that I approached Such is My Beloved with absolutely no preconceptions, and that even after reading it I came to our discussion with no fixed interpretations, or even frameworks for interpretation. If, as Henry James says, “the house of fiction has not one window, but a million,” the window of Canadian modernism is one (of many) I haven’t looked out of often–OK, not at all, really, until now. The closest I’d come is helping edit an essay on Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept for Open Letters Monthly a couple of issues ago. If we had started with something I know well–Vanity Fair, say, or Atonement–I would have had a lot more trouble letting our conversation be a conversation and not trying to subvert it into a seminar. But I didn’t know what I would find when I read the book, and having read it, I was (am) still a beginner at thinking about it, so in some respects the randomness (or, putting that more positively, the range) of our discussion was helpful because it let me consider different ideas and see if they resonated with my experience of reading the novel.

Thinking back over our meeting and then looking again at the book, I find it interesting that the issue that proved most controversial (is Father Dowling sincerely disinterested? is his love for Midge and Ronnie really pure?) is precisely the one I had thought was not at issue and which, for me, gave the novel its great poignancy. As I read Such is My Beloved, Father Dowling is absolutely sincere and noble in his motives. He may be misguided in his methods, perhaps even in the objects of his love (though I believe, also, in his commitment to loving the girls precisely because they are not particularly special or beautiful or deserving, but simply because their full humanity needs and deserves to be redeemed). He is certainly foolish, unworldly, and morally extravagant. He has the simplistic obduracy of the idealist; that in Callaghan’s world he is perceived first as disruptive (the opening paragraph tells us that Father Anglin and “some of the old and prosperous parishioners” find his ardour “disturbing,” and Father Anglin wonders if “the bishop could be advised to send him to some quiet country town where he would not have to worry about so many controversial problems”) and finally as insane, reflects on that world and its moral and spiritual limits, surely, not on Father Dowling. He reminded me of Trollope’s Mr Harding, in The Warden: having discerned the right thing to do, he can hardly bear the discovery that others cannot, or will not, support his principled effort to do it, and though he persists, he isn’t strong enough to defy his antagonists outright. And just as no particular good comes from the Warden’s resignation–except (and of course this is crucial) to the Warden’s conscience–so too no particular good comes from Father Dowling’s efforts to save Midge and Ronnie. I suppose we can hope that the priest’s influence has changed them just enough that when they get off the train in some new town, they will think a little bit more of themselves and continue to take halting steps towards a better life. Father Dowling himself vacillates between hope and despair. “I know what will happen to them,” he thinks;

“They’ll drift into the old way of life. They’ll go from one degradation to another, they’ll be poor and hungry and mean. No one will ever love them for themselves. No one will ever want to help them and they’ll get harder and harder till they’ll be immune to all feeling.” . . . Then he straightened up and thought, “I shouldn’t say that. That’s blasphemy. They’re abandoned from my help. Surely not from the mercy of God.” This comforted him. He walked more easily with the strong city sunlight shining on his face that was now almost confident and trustful. . . . He looked up, and again he was thinking, “They’ll be lost to all human goodness. What will become of them?”

If there’s hope, surely it lies as much in his own actions as in the mercy of God: he took an interest in them; he fell in love with them–not physically or romantically (I never thought so, anyway, though at least one group member suspected repressed prurience in his attentions) but divinely. Why them, as was asked at our meeting? Isn’t he surrounded with other needy people? I suppose, but that’s why I describe it as falling in love, to try to account for the idiosyncrasy of his choice, which isn’t even a deliberate choice but one that steals upon him as he pursues, not the girls, but their lost innocence. I was touched by his happiness the night he brings them the new dresses. When they try them on, they stand “shyly” in front of him, “looking around with an awkward uncertainty,” and it seems their real natures are briefly illuminated as the harsh protective attitudes of the streets fall away. It seems “wonderful to him that he had discovered these new traits in them”:

He felt very happy to have thought of the dresses. It seemed that for a long time he had been scraping and groping away at old reluctant surfaces and suddenly there was a yielding life, there was a quickening response. He sat there hardly smiling, looking very peaceful.

We can juxtapose that moment with the scene of the client who leaves an encounter with Midge with his “dark eyes shining with new life, . . . laughing and shaking his head happily.” Here are two models of satisfaction, one of the spirit, the other of the flesh. Perhaps I’m a naive reader, or perhaps it’s the result of years of reading Victorian novels, but I’m prepared to take Father Dowling’s happiness at face value: he is moved precisely for the reasons, and in the ways, he says he is. It’s true that his love becomes obsessive, and also that it leads him into ecstasies that are passionate, even erotic. For me, the most striking passages of the novel were those in which the priest’s swelling sense of love infects Callaghan’s otherwise fairly inelegant, even pedestrian, prose (something in the sound of it kept making me think of Steinbeck, though it has been so long since I read Steinbeck that I don’t really trust myself on this point). Here’s one example I particularly liked, in which the impending arrival of spring brings young lovers out into the softening evening and also brings out the love in Father Dowling’s heart:

There was a freshness in the air that made him think of approaching spring. He passed a young man and a girl walking very close together and the girl’s face was so full of eagerness and love Father Dowling smiled. As soon as the mild weather came the young people began to walk slowly around the Cathedral in the early evening, laughing out loud or whispering and never noticing anybody who smiled at them. The next time Father Dowling, walking slowly, passed two young people, he smiled openly, they looked at him in surprise, and the young man touched his hat with respect. Father Dowling felt suddenly that he loved the whole neighborhood, all the murmuring city noises, the street cries of newsboys, the purring of automobiles and rumble of heavy vehicles, the thousand separate sounds of everlasting motion, the low, steady, and mysterious hum that was always in the air, the lights in windows, doors opening, rows of street lights and fiery flash of signs, the cry of night birds darting around the Cathedral and the soft low laugh of lovers strolling in the side streets on the first spring nights. He felt he would rather be here in the city and at the Cathedral than any place else on earth, for here was his own home in the midst of his own people.

There’s certainly more at stake here than ascetic religion–something sensual, earthly, and also aesthetic. But I don’t think that makes Father Dowling a hypocrite. Rather (and here I take a hint from the title) I thought the book called into question forms of religious devotion that exclude the world and the flesh, that attempt too strict a separation between holy and earthly love. The failure is not Father Dowling’s, not his inability to ration his dedication to the girls he has made his personal mission, but belongs to the professed Christians around him who reject his vision of an all-encompassing ardour. His vision threatens those around him, of course, not only because he urges them to act as they speak, but because he redefines morality as an economic problem–a symptom of poverty, not spiritual corruption. He thus becomes a social radical as well, though in this he believes he is simply perfecting the theories preached (but not practised) by his church. Ever the Victorianist, when I read that Father Dowling becomes “convinced that moral independence and economic security seemed very closely related,” I thought of Becky Sharp‘s “I could be a good woman if I had £5000 a year.”

So for me, peering out of Callaghan’s window into his world, it turned out to be somewhat familiar after all, with a protagonist who joins Mr Harding or Jude Fawley in testing and ultimately exposing, and suffering for, the limits of a religious ideal. Father Dowling is an extremist of virtue in a world of moral compromises, a dreamer among prudish (and prurient) pragmatists, a leveller in an entrenched hierarchy. No wonder the poor man ends up catatonic. For me, the evidence that we are not to leave him at the doors of the asylum but should rather follow him on his quest, though it leads nowhere, is the quiet beauty of the closing imagery:

There was a peace within him as he watched the calm, eternal water swelling darkly against the one faint streak of light, the cold night light on the skyline. High in the sky, three stars were out. His love seemed suddenly to be as steadfast as those stars, as wide as the water, and still flowing within him like the cold smooth waves still rolling on the shore.

It’s the gentlest martyrdom imaginable.

*In case you were wondering, the reading group’s organizer proposed that our next book selection should be prompted in some way by its connection to our first. If depressing novels about Catholic priests is our genre, there’s really only one obvious place to go, and thus for January we will be reading and discussing Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory.

November 19, 2010

EMiC and TILE: New Developments

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been in contact with Doug Reside at MITH, and are pleased to announce that EMiC and TILE have formed a partnership! Essentially what this means is that my time has been reallocated to the development and documentation of TILE, which is very exciting! This is just a preliminary announcement, and I’ll post more about this exciting venture soon!

November 8, 2010

Mobility and Migration in Canadian and Quebec Writing

The theme of Congress 2011, “Coasts and Continents: Exploring People and Places,” emphasizes the ways in which the far-flung regions of the world are brought into contact by the people who inhabit, traverse, and move among them. In keeping with this theme, the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures invites proposals on the significance of mobility and migration in Canadian and Quebec writing. Representations of mobility and migration occupy a central place in the literatures of English and French Canada, yet their significance can vary widely across these different cultural and historical contexts. How do mobility and migration make visible the points of contact and conflict among the peoples of Quebec and Canada? What meanings do they have in First Nations and Metis writing? How do they function in narratives of immigration, or in narratives of migration within Quebec and Canada? How do they contribute to the formation of colonial, national, regional, local, and global subjectivities? How do mobility and migration intersect with gender, race, and class? We invite papers that explore these and other questions connected with mobility and migration in Canadian and Quebec writing both old and new.

Possible proposal topics could include:

Literatures of exploration
Travel writing
Narratives of exile
Diasporic literatures
Frontier writing
Road novels
Hybrid, transnational, and transcultural identities
Mobility/migration and gender/sexuality
Migration/mobility within national boundaries (i.e. urban/rural)
Canadian/Quebec literatures as mobile/migrant (i.e. their exportation to and reception in other parts of the world)
Mobility/migration and First/Metis nations
Mobility/migration and nationalism/transnationalism
Interdiscplinary approaches (i.e. literature and geography; literature and anthropology etc.)

We also welcome member-organized sessions on topics related to any aspect of the study of Canadian and Quebec literatures. Call for member-organized sessions should be no more than 200 words. They are due on or before 30 November 2010 and will be posted on the ACQL website.

All paper or session proposals can be written in French or English. Those who propose papers or sessions must be members of ACQL by March 1, 2011. See the ACQL website (www.alqc-acql.ca) for membership registration information.

Please send paper proposals (no more than 300 words) with a short biography and a 50-word abstract to one of the coordinators listed below by 15 January 2011.

Coordinator (English)
Sara Jamieson
Dept. of English
Carleton University
1812 Dunton Tower
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1S 5B6
e-mail: sara_jamieson@carleton.ca
fax: 613-520-3544

Coordinator (French)
Professor Lucie Hotte
Département de français
Université d’Ottawa
60, rue Université
Ottawa ON
K1N 6N5
Téléphone: 613-562-5800 poste 1078
Télécopieur: 613-562-6891
Courriel: lhotte@uottawa.ca


Migration et mobilité dans les literatures canadiennes et québécoises

L’Association des littératures canadiennes et québécoise vous invite à proposer des communications sur le thème de la migration et de la mobilité dans les littératures du Québec et du Canada dans le cadre de son prochain colloque qui aura lieu à Fredericton en 2011.
Le thème du Congrès de 2011, « Rivages et continents : exploration des peuples et des lieux » souligne les diverses façons dont les régions les plus éloignées du globe sont mises en contact grâce aux populations qui y habitent, s’y déplacent et traversent les frontières qui les séparent les unes des autres. En lien avec ce thème, l’Association des littératures canadiennes et québécoise vous invite à proposer des communications portant plus spécifiquement sur la migration et la mobilité telles que mises en scène dans ces corpus. Les images de la migration et de la mobilité occupent une place centrale dans nombre d’œuvres canadiennes et québécoises, pourtant leurs significations se transforment aux cours des ans, se modifient en fonction des régions géographiques et se modulent en lien avec les appartenances culturelles. Ce sont ces expressions variées des points de contact – et parfois de conflits – tels qu’ils sont représentés dans les œuvres canadiennes et québécoises d’aujourd’hui ou d’hier que nous vous invitons à explorer. Que signifient la migration et la mobilité pour les Autochtones et les Métis? Pour les néo-Canadiens? Pour les femmes? Pour ceux qui se déplacent d’une province à l’autre? Comment contribuent-elles à la fondation d’identités coloniales, nationales, locales ou mondiales? Dans quelle mesure ces littératures sont-elles elles-mêmes mobiles et parviennent-elles à migrer de leur lieu d’origine aux autres régions du globe.

Nous vous invitons donc à nous soumettre des propositions de communication portant sur l’un des aspects suivants de la problématique ou toute autre question s’y rapportant, en relation avec les littératures canadiennes et québécoise :

Littérature de voyage
Récits d’exploration
Littératures diasporiques
Littérature de l’exil
Récits de contacts interculturels
L’écriture des frontières
« Road novels »
Immigration et émigration
Hybridité narrative, identités transnationales et transculturelles
Migration et mobilité en rapport avec la sexualité et les genres sexués
Migration et mobilité à l’intérieur des frontières nationales (par exemple : urbanité et ruralité)
Migration et mobilité en rapport avec les Autochtones et les Métis
Migration et mobilité en lien avec les nationalismes et le transnationalisme
Les littératures canadiennes et québécoise comme « mobiles » et/ou « migrantes » : leur exportation et leur réception à l’extérieur de leurs frontières
Approches interdisciplinaires : littérature et géographie ; littérature et anthropologie…

Nous acceptons également des séances sur des sujets reliés à tous les aspects de l’étude des littératures du Canada et du Québec. Les propositions de séances organisées par des membres de l’association ne devraient pas dépasser 200 mots. Ces propositions doivent être envoyées au plus tard le 30 novembre 2010. Elles seront ensuite affichées sur le site Web de l’ALCQ.
Toutes les communications ou les propositions de séances peuvent être présentées soit en français, soit en anglais. Les personnes intéressées à présenter des communications ou des propositions de séances doivent être membres de l’ALCQ au 1er mars 2011. Vous pouvez consulter le site Web de l’ALCQ (www.alcq-acql.ca) pour avoir plus d’information au sujet des demandes d’adhésion à notre association.
Veuillez faire parvenir votre proposition de communication (maximum 300 mots) ainsi qu’une courte notice biographique et un résumé de 50 mots en un document Word ou RTF, à l’un des deux organisateurs du colloque, dont les noms apparaissent ci-bas, au plus tard le 15 janvier 2011.
Organisatrice et responsable du programme en français

Madame la professeure Lucie Hotte

Département de français

Université d’Ottawa

60, rue Université
Ottawa (ONTARIO)
K1N 6N5

Téléphone: 613-562-5800 poste 1078

Télécopieur: 613-562-6891

Courriel: lhotte@uottawa.ca
Organisatrice et responsable du programme en anglais 

Madame la professeure Sara Jamieson

Department of English,
Carleton University

1812 Dunton Tower

1125 Colonel By Drive

Ottawa (ONTARIO)
K1S 5B6

e-mail: sara_jamieson@carleton.ca

fax: 613-520-3544