Sarah Alharbi: “Vers une phénoménologie de l’exil: quand l’exil du corps au Royaume des Idées symbolise le retour de l’âme à ses origines”
Cette communication se propose de démontrer, en s’appuyant sur l’analyse théorique hégélienne, la complexité qui caractérise la perception du thème moderniste chez deux exilés : Octave Crémazie et Marcel Dugas, et la manière dont ils perçoivent leur exil à Paris. Bien qu’elle soit amplement appelée à la pratique moderniste – raison première de l’exil –, la conscience d’être de l’exilé entame, en effet, un retour au pays des idées d’origine. Un tel paradoxe nous amène à questionner le principe de l’exil; il exige une mise en évidence du véritable sujet qui domine l’esprit de l’exilé : est-ce l’exil du corps qui implique le retour de l’âme à ses origines, ou bien le retour de l’âme moderniste qui annonce l’exil ou l’aliénation du corps?
Suzanne Bailey: “Remaking Diaspora: David Silverberg at William Hayter’s Atelier 17“
In 1957 a rebellious McGill graduate from Jewish Montreal became the first Canadian to apprentice at Atelier 17, studio of the most important printmaker in Paris and centre for expatriate artists from Picasso to Chagall. Silverberg’s forgotten story serves as a significant counterpoint to narratives about Canadians in Paris in the 1950s. My paper traces this story, including reflections on the conservatism of 1950s Canadian culture, together with the paradoxical desire of avant-garde modernist artists both to break with past forms but also to preserve the best of the techniques of the past, including the art of printmaking.
Emily Ballantyne: “Reading Backward: The Sexual and Textual Productions of John Glassco’s Memoirs of Montparnasse“
This paper examines John Glassco’s Memoirs of Montparnasse (1970) alongside its holographic manuscript. When read together, the texts reinscribe and erase the boundaries between material textuality and the production of divergent discourses of sexualities and modernisms in Paris. I argue that the space of the literary fonds operates in conversation with the materiality of the published versions of the text to encourage a reading of both modernism and masculinity as sites of contestation and plurality. By “reading backward”, this paper foregrounds the literary fonds as a place for re-imagining the Lost Generation against its mythical fictionalizations in modernist Paris memoirs.
Gregory Betts: “‘I held all the hot egos of the world in my hand’: Conscious of Multi-Consciousness in Wilfred Watson’s Poetry”
In 1955 in Paris, Wilfred Watson’s literary practice underwent a dramatic transformation. A successful modernist lyric poet, after Paris, Wilfred’s books became increasingly experimental and increasingly marked by an awareness of the impact of global technologies in creating what he called “multi-consciousness.” Indeed, the sorrowful Canadians and other poems/les malheureux (1972), I begin with counting (1978), and Mass on Cowback (1982) experiment with an open poetic language as a means of resisting the passivity of multi-consciousness in favour of an awakened consciousness of the age: as he writes, “we have only a few poems to defend ourselves with.”
This paper introduces WatsonAR, an augmented reality smartphone application that allows users to walk in the Paris footsteps of Wilfred and Sheila Watson. We will show conference attendees how to use the WatsonAR smartphone app, we’ll examine how Augmented Reality applications can enhance scholarly research and we will detail the challenges inherent in building them. WatsonAR demonstrates how new technologies can bring the archives to the street, embracing the ideals of traditional scholarship while finding new audiences for our work.
Melissa Dalgleish: “The White Goddess in Toronto: Jay Macpherson, Robert Graves, and the Exile of Canadian Modernist Mythopoeia”
The mythopoeic poetry of Jay Macpherson has always been linked to Northrop Frye and attributed to his influence. This connection largely accounts for the neglect of Macpherson’s work and that of other Canadian mythopoeic modernists, since critics view their work as derivative of Frye’s now-unfashionable theories. Few take into account Macpherson’s relationship with Robert Graves, or the mythic quality of the poetry she publishes prior to meeting either man. Examining Macpherson’s early poetry, I reveal the originality and internationality of her mythic poetry and suggest a new reading of Canadian modernist mythopoeia that accounts for its particularity while situating it within the context of a transnational modernist interest in the poetics of myth.
L’objectif de cette communication est d’examiner la portée moderniste de la première édition du Débutant d’Arsène Bessette, tant dans sa dimension littéraire que visuelle. Publié en 1914, le roman paraît avec les dessins de l’artiste français Théophile Busnel, décédé six ans plus tôt. Ceux-ci ont visiblement été composés en étroite relation avec le texte dont ils illustrent certaines scènes de la vie urbaine montréalaise décrites dans le roman. À travers l’analyse des relations entre le texte et l’image, nous tenterons de démêler les motivations des différents acteurs de ce projet, en les replaçant dans le contexte de production de l’époque.
Marc Delrez: “Rilke in Frame”
My intention is to probe the connection between Rainer Maria Rilke and Janet Frame, emphasizing the temperamental and aesthetic similarities linking the two writers, and examining in particular the differential quality which informs an approach to prose-writing characterized by its constant gesturing towards poetry. Thus it will be interesting to consider Rilke’s prose narrative, The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910), in which he explores the relationship between a sensitive individual and a threatening urban environment, and to compare this with the hypersensitivity to the “dreadful mass neighbourhood of objects” plaguing the main character of Frame’s Scented Gardens for the Blind (1963). While Frame’s recourse to a modernist idiom seems to privilege an intense focus on her own artistic medium, felt to be divorced from any recognizable existential reality, it can be shown that her linguistic utopia, like Rilke’s, possibly incorporates the promise of a restoration of reference through the inclusion of alternative ontologies impacting upon the epistemological consensus.
P.K. Page’s Brazilian Journal records a pivotal moment in her transformation from a quintessential Canadian modernist to a transnational writer influenced by heretofore unfamiliar literatures, cultures and landscapes. The Journal, however, was published 30 years after the events it recounts and differs substantially from the original diaries on which it was based. We explore the textual history of Brazilian Journal, focusing on two types of editorial approaches – to the genesis of the text and to its transmission. Taken together these two approaches contribute to a nuanced understanding of the sociology of one of the crucial texts in Page’s career.
Mathieu Duplay: “Chinese Poems on the Moon: Writing the Canadian Landscape in Malcolm Lowry’s The Forest Path to the Spring“
Malcolm Lowry’s novella The Forest Path to the Spring expresses the narrator’s ambiguous relationship with the landscape of British Columbia by stating that “the . . . pines [he sees from his house] . . . write a Chinese poem on the moon.” The purpose of this paper will be to explore the implications of this metaphor. On one level, it encapsulates a situation in which what is close at hand can be grasped only in terms of what is distant and the local turns out to be more mystifying than the exotic; this echoes the Canadian anxiety about place summed up by Northrop Frye’s famous question “Where is here?” On another level, it suggests that this anxiety stems from misgivings concerning the true nature of language, of which different cultures offer conflicting interpretations embodied in their various writing systems. Thus, Lowry’s curiously allegorical landscape appears to reveal the common concern of which his own interpretation of the Canadian dilemma is but one formulation among many, the shared experience of our inability to overcome our problematic yet inescapable allegiance to the local.
Marta Dvorak: “Image and Page: Mavis Gallant’s Modernist Transmutations”
The Lost Generation participated in a remarkable interaction among the visual arts, musical composition, and literature which generated a revolution in practices of production and reception. The medium calling the tune of the modernist movement and its fascination with perception was arguably the visual arts, notably the cubist rupture with traditional figuration and spatial perspective. This paper focuses on Mavis Gallant, an exemplar of the second-generation of expatriates intermingling in Paris. I demonstrate that Gallant’s homologous literary techniques of dislocation involve a transmutation of strategies from a visual medium devoid of temporal notions to a literary medium in which time has always been the nerve centre.
Leah Ellingwood: “Digitizing The Enemy: Developing a Resources Website on Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr“
My paper will discuss my EMiC-funded MA project, creating a resources website for Wyndham Lewis’s first published novel, Tarr, featuring digitized archival reviews from the C.J. Fox Collection at University of Victoria. Tarr has been largely critically neglected; however, its 2010 Oxford World Classics republication could signal the recovery of its place in the modernist canon: the outsider— rather than exile— on return. It calls for increased access to historical sources on Tarr’s reception and publication history. In addition to the editorial decisions involved in creating the Resources site, my paper will also briefly consider Tarr’s value to Modernist studies.
Johannes F. Evelein: “Locus of Exile: Paris in the Modernist German Novel”
This paper has a three-fold purpose. First, it shows the importance of Paris as an intellectual and creative center for the community of German exiles from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Second, it places Paris as a transhistorical locus of exile within the imaginative landscape of the German exile novel – Klaus Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Joseph Roth – and shows its significant role as an intellectual “home” but also as temporary shelter until the moment of the “Great Return”. Third, it calls attention to the affinity between exile and modernism as urban phenomena that share an urban geography – Berlin, Paris, Prague, New York – and are fueled by cosmopolitan energy.
Kristin Fast: “Mapping Sheila’s Paris: just what did this exile return home with, anyway?”
This paper explores the integration of spatial information with historical data in an online environment. As my primary data pool draws on Sheila Watson’s archival holdings, I explore ways of authentically representing digital surrogates of her archival material in ways that reflect Watson as a writer and thinker. Her journal entries from Paris are my foundational data source; however, they are supplemented both by other material in the archive (such as sketches, newspaper clippings, postcards and photographs) and materials referenced in the journals but not included in the archive (such as paintings or plays, specific play houses and galleries, etc). I will situate this work on interface development within the broader scope of the Watson projects underway at U of A as well as research being done on the journals themselves.
Jade Ferguson: “‘I’m Alabama Bound’: The 1930s International Anti-Lynching Campaign in the Pages of Masses and the Poetry of Dorothy Livesay”
The conviction and sentencing to death by all-white juries in Scottsboro, Alabama of eight young black men for raping two young white women in April 1931 drew international condemnation. This paper examines the representations of the Scottsboro Boys as working-class casualties of the capitalist system in Masses, and the ways in which the economic analysis of lynching – represented in its pages – informed the imagined lynching of a black man in Dorothy Livesay’s “Day and Night,” written shortly after her return to Canada from New York City in the fall of 1935.
Nadine Fladd: “Revis(it)ing Modernist Moments: Morley Callaghan and The New Yorker“
Morley Callaghan was one of the first authors to publish “serious” fiction in The New Yorker, and published twenty-one stories in the magazine between 1928 and 1938. Using textual studies scholars’ theories of collaboration and fluid texts along with archival materials related to the publication of his stories in The New Yorker, this paper surveys the shifts in Callaghan’s relationship to place and the modernist aesthetic, noting in particular his and his editors’ attempts to “revise” the literary past through the publication of That Summer in Paris and alternate versions of his short stories.
Marc Fortin:”Marius Barbeau in Europe: Modernism, Ethnography, Translation”
Marius Barbeau was an anthropologist and novelist whose movement between Québec, Oxford, Paris, and the Northwest Pacific Coast of Canada combine to reflect a modernist turn and re-turn from representations of the “primitive” to a national Canadian identity founded on social, political, and artistic movements. Barbeau’s time spent in Europe as a scholar reflects a moment at which the “native” Québécois returns back to the homeland only to be influenced by a social setting that literally turns him towards his future career as a translator of other cultures. A mixture of textual translation and geographical returns situate Barbeau’s work at a defining moment in modernist thought and production between ethnography and modernist literature.
Teresa Gibert: “Transculturality and Transnationalism in Mavis Gallant’s Writings”
Mavis Gallant provides genuine insight into the complexities of transculturality and transnationalism because she subtly explores the multiple facets of these phenomena from different angles, by turning to various place and time settings, by presenting a vast number of carefully depicted characters, by preferring open-ended constructions with ample areas of deliberate ambiguity rather than privileging easy closure, by leaving textual gaps meant to be filled in by perceptive readers, and by juxtaposing antagonistic perspectives with unprecedented technical skill. Her typical shifts in point of view exemplify her concern with promoting anti-monolithic models and undercutting monologic authority. Furthermore, her experimental narrative techniques highlight the instability of cultural and national affiliations, a recurrent theme in her polyphonic writings which have been inspired to a large extent by the author’s transcultural and transnational experiences: her dual upbringing in Canada (as an Anglophone and a Francophone raised in English/French and Protestant/Catholic environments) and her extensive sojourns in several European countries (in particular, the many years she has spent in Paris).
Margo Gouley: “Metaphor and the Modern Critic: The Transcultural Contexts of W.E. Collin’s The White Savannahs: The First Study of Canadian Poetry from a Modern Viewpoint“
This essay argues that while there is little of the system-making characteristic of Modernist criticism in the essays of The White Savannahs, there is a discernable critical method strongly influenced by Collin’s education at the University of Paris. Citing the Surrealist theory of Andre Breton and the Symbolist poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, Collin metaphorizes the landscape as a dreamscape in the work of each poet he examines. What emerges is not a reproduction of Eliot’s reading practice, in which the individual genius supersedes national influences, but an art of reading that emphasizes the unique interiority of the poet. In this way, I characterize Collin’s critical practice as one rooted in transculturality.
Faye Hammill: “Modes de Paris: literature, fashion and excess in dispatches to Canadian periodicals”
Focusing on the “Paris Letters” published in mainstream Canadian periodicals in the interwar years, this paper compares reports on fashion with reports on artistic and literary activity, reading them in the framework of the surrounding advertisements. The aim is to explore the different notions of Parisian taste which circulated in Canada’s print media, relating them to middlebrow aspirations and anxieties, and also to the rhetoric of newness which marked both modernist discourse and the language of haute couture. The paper argues that the ideal of Parisian style disseminated through these periodicals is a notably restrained, balanced one, compatible with mainstream Canadian values.
Adam Hammond: “Figures on Familiar Ground: Paris, Toronto, and the Heavenly City in Sheila Watson and Wyndham Lewis”
My paper explores the relationship of Wyndham Lewis and Sheila Watson by looking at their mythical representations of the urban landscapes of Paris and Toronto. The starting point is Sheila Watson’s reading of Lewis’s Monstre Gai—a work set in a fictional purgatory, Third City, modelled on Paris and Toronto—while she was in Paris in 1955. Why did Lewis decide to build his purgatory out of such disparate urban material?
Given his ambivalence toward Toronto, should we read his intentions as satirical, or can we recover a positive—even utopian—element? What impact did Lewis’s hybrid after-city have on Sheila Watson’s subsequent urban vision? How can we relate it to her experience of both Paris and Toronto as sites of personal purgatory? How does it figure into her vision, later in life, of Toronto as a sort of heavenly city?
Paul Hjartarson: “The Other Watson: Wilfred in (Another?) Paris”
The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, through a study of extant documents in the Wilfred Watson and Sheila Watson Fonds (and related collections), I want to establish what can be known about Wilfred Watson’s year in Paris (1955-56) as a Canadian Government Overseas Award holder. Second, on the basis of what can be known, I want to begin weighing the significance of the year in Paris to his development as a writer. This analysis leads ultimately to this question: how important, finally, was the year in Paris to Wilfred’s development as a writer?
Matt Huculak: “The Cosmopole Writes Back: Exile and Return in Le Nigog“
This paper examines the little magazine as an important site of exile and return in Canadian literary cultural production. Specifically, I examine the relationship between Guillaume Apollinaire and the editors of Le Nigog, as it created a short-lived artistic collaboration between Paris and Montreal. Moreover, this paper examines Apollinaire’s work with Les Soirees de Paris, an avant-garde French magazine started in 1912, as the original template through which the editors of Le Nigog imagined Canadian modernity. Originally, Les Soirees was imagined to be a purely literary magazine, but Apollinaire expanded it to be an important site for discussions of modernity at large, particularly in the field of the plastic arts. For two years, Apollinaire cultivated an interdisciplinary modernity where the arts co-existed on the pages of the little magazine and were visually in conversation with one another. I explore how Le Nigog attempted to mirror Les Soirees’ experimental nature within a specifically Canadian context. That is, although Apollinaire was able to create an important site of artistic experimentation (specifically with his defence of Cubism), the editors of Le Nigog were interested in creating a local logic based on his cosmopolitan style. They did not want to transplant Paris to Montreal; rather they attempted to utilize the energy of Paris to create specifically Canadian arts (which included architecture, painting, music, and literature). To do this, they published Apollinaire’s poetry from Paris in Le Nigog next to articles about Canadian architecture and music. And, in a phenomenon unique to the magazine, they also published Apollinaire’s encouraging responses from Paris to their experimental magazine in Montreal. The seed of modernist Canadian experimentalism was planted and nurtured by Parisian artists. This paper traces the forgotten cross-Atlantic network between two avant-garde periodicals in the formation of a uniquely Canadian (and short-lived) modernism in Montreal by examining the advertisements of each magazine next to the literary content.
Manina Jones: “Collaboration as Collage: Brion Gysin and the “Cutting Edges” of Modernism”
This paper explores the collaborative ethics and aesthetics of Brion Gysin’s intermedial “cut-ups,” works located in the interstitial spaces and chance encounters between cultures, media, disciplines, technologies, artistic movements and subjectivities. Gysin, a figure central to our understanding of “long Modernism” and its progressive reconceptualizations of authorship and identity, extended Modernist principles in Beat and postmodern textual art. Mobilizing critical work on collaboration and collage, this paper demonstrates how Gysin’s collaborations develop as part of a trajectory from surrealist visual principles (Tzara’s Dada techniques), then reconfigure the cut-up in audio-taped sound poetry and translate it into computer-generated digitized “permutation poems.”
Smaro Kamboureli: “Letters from the Other Side: On Editing and Editing Roy K. Kiyooka”
Kiyooka’s posthumous Pacific Rim Letters offers a complex track record of Kiyooka’s writing life and his trajectories within Canada and between Canada and, notably, Japan. Kamboureli will read these letters as an index to how Kiyooka as an “athwarted” writing subject proceeds to deconstruct the notion of the unitary author, thus producing texts that are the product of a complex collaborative process. This process of text construction is not only analogous to editing a text posthumously, but also raises fundamental questions about collaboration as editing and editing as writing, while problematizing the politics of cultural policy and literary production in general.
Louise Kane: “‘an exile’s magazine'(?): Palms (1923-30), transatlantic review (1924), transition (1927-38), and Epilogue (1935-8)”
This paper explores four expatriate periodicals, Palms (1923-30), transatlantic review (1924), transition (1927-38), and Epilogue (1935-8), through the framework of current debates about the apparently global and increasingly transcultural nature of literary modernism. Comparing the ways in which these four periodicals, through both their content and manifestoes, engage with the topos of the exile, and ideas of the modern metropolis, language, politics, and identity, I argue that Palms and transition are ultimately more successful than the transatlantic review and Epilogue in achieving their shared aim of promoting and discovering new, alternative, and more inclusive types of literary and cultural modernisms.
Sydney Janet Kaplan: “Mansfield, Manoukhin and International Modernism: Paris 1922”
There is a bitter irony in Mansfield’s last stay in Paris in 1922. Now situated at the heart of international modernism, she must struggle through the last stages of tuberculosis. The publication of The Garden Party that same year coincided with The Waste Land, Ulysses, and Jacob’s Room. In between painful treatments with Dr. Manoukhin, Mansfield met some notable modernists, including James Joyce. This paper explores Mansfield’s final sojourn in Paris in contrast with her earlier reactions to being there before the onset of tuberculosis. John Middleton Murry’s unpublished journals reveal new details about that time in Paris, and his recent critical work on Proust appears to have influenced Mansfield’s thinking about modernism as well.
Michel Lacroix: “Les exotiques à Paris (1910-1914): entre modernismes et (néo-)classicismes”
Le rapport à Paris et à la littérature française des exotiques, ce groupe d’écrivains et d’artistes ayant marqué l’histoire culturelle québécoise, entre autres avec la publication du Nigog (1918), a été analysé, avec raison, comme une affiliation résolument moderniste. Mais comment s’est opéré, exactement, ce contact avec la modernité? Avec quelles tendances, quelles esthétiques, le groupe des exotiques s’est-il arrimé, exactement? Pour esquisser une réponse à ces questions nous nous proposons de reconstituer quels furent les liens concrets, directs, entre les exotiques établis à Paris, entre 1910 et 1914, et les écrivains ou artistes établis à Paris. Ceci nous permettra de mettre en évidence le très grand éclectisme de ce réseau et de lancer l’hypothèse d’un « modernisme classique », pour reprendre l’expression de Koffeman (2003).
Catherine Lanone: “Reinventing the Image: T.S. Eliot and Emily Carr”
In 1910-1911, two very different artists came to Paris to find out about new art forms. Both Emily Carr and T.S. Eliot struggled with a sense of solitude, yet for both the journey (and the in-betweenness of exile followed by a return either home or to an Anglo-Saxon country) acted as a catalyst. This paper will use a Deleuzian perspective to study the way in which French art mediated those two Modernist quests for new ways of seeing, turning Paris into a threshold allowing them to negotiate foreign experience and redefine the self.
Gilles Lapointe: “Identité sans frontières: Edmund Alleyn et l’espace artistique parisien entre 1955 et 1970”
Cette communication se propose de revisiter, à partir de l’examen des événements qui ont orienté la vie et la carrière d’Edmund Alleyn, l’apport singulier de cet artiste québécois durant son séjour à Paris entre 1955 et 1970. Du « Manifeste contre l’avant-gardisme » qu’il contresigne à Bâle, en 1957, à sa participation au mouvement de « Figuration narrative », jusqu’à la présentation, en 1970, au Musée d’art moderne de Paris, de l’Introscaphe, une des premières oeuvres polysensorielles au monde, l’oeuvre d’Alleyn n’a cessé d’étonner. Les questions exigeantes de modernité, d’exil et de migration forment quelques-unes des lignes de force de cette communication qui a pour objectif d’interroger la contribution de cet artiste singulier qui a longtemps fait carrière en France, sans toutefois jamais rompre ses liens avec le Québec.
Vanessa Lent: “Paris and Wilfred Watson’s Cockrow and the Gulls“
After receiving a Canadian Government Overseas Fellowship in 1955 Wilfred Watson chose Paris as the place from which to begin “developing a Canadian theatre responsive to that of the European absurdists” in order to foster a Canadian “revolution in sensibility” (Tiessen 119). This paper will chart the influence of Watson’s year in Paris on his first major play Cockrow and the Gulls through a careful study of the extensive letters, notebooks, and drafts of Cockcrow housed in the Wilfred Watson’s Fonds at the University of Alberta archives. I contend that Paris’s theatrical and intellectual communities played a key role in the composition of a play that, in its turn, introduced Canada to a radical modernist vision.
Christine Lorre-Johnston: “Women Abroad: Expatriation in Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield and Mavis Gallant”
This paper will examine the motif of expatriation in a selection of short stories by Mavis Gallant and Katherine Mansfield. Expatriation, as opposed to exile, implies a lasting attachment to one’s country of origin, which is expressed through the assertion of one’s identity. Thus the notion of Englishness may be maintained through certain inherited attitudes. The study will focus on women characters in stories that are set in France, in locations that traditionally have drawn English or American expatriates. Close reading of the stories will show the possibilities offered by the play on focalisation (internal/external) for these two (post)colonial writers to present an ironical perspective on expatriation.
Glen Lowry: “Roy Kiyooka’s ‘Wheels’: A Trip thru the Coach House Backcountry”
In this paper, Glen Lowry will examine Kiyooka’s effort to secure publication for his book-length poem “Wheels,” a poetic-photographic meditation on a 1969 trip to the “Honshu Backcountry” of Japan. Kiyooka submitted the manuscript to Coach House Press, which they considered for years (listing it in their 1985 catalogue); however, the press decided not to take it to print and Kiyooka was left to circulate copies of the press mockup to his friends. To help illuminate these protracted negotiations, this paper draws on Kiyooka’s correspondence—archival documents and printed letters—with Coach House editors and interested friends, and examines this history in light of the formal and conceptual challenges the text raises.
Sophie Marcotte: “Du Fémina à l’indifférence: Gabrielle Roy et la France”
Cette communication sera consacrée à l’étude de la réception en France de Bonheur d’occasion, roman publié chez Flammarion pour lequel Gabrielle Roy (1909-1983), une romancière d’origine franco-manitobaine, a remporté le Prix Fémina en 1947. Certains considèrent que Roy aurait remporté cet honneur, au lendemain de la Deuxième guerre mondiale, pour des raisons essentiellement politiques. La Petite Poule d’Eau (1950) et Alexandre Chenevert (1954), ses deuxième et troisième romans, également publiés chez Flammarion, n’ont pas suscité le même enthousiasme dans les milieux littéraires parisiens, ce qui pourrait peut-être nous permettre d’expliquer, en partie du moins, les raisons du succès remporté par le premier livre.
Travis Mason: “Reading Partridges and Others at the Edge of Ernest Buckler’s Modernist Style”
The relation between language and the world is central to both Ernest Buckler’s The Mountain and the Valley and an ecocriticism that takes phenomenology as its philosophical base. This paper asks to what extent ecocriticism offers a way of reading a novel praised for its modernist linguistic style by focusing on aspects generally ignored in extant scholarpship. Since the role of language and perception vis-à-vis the phenomenal world concerns ecocritics and Buckler scholars alike, I argue, the narrator’s insights into David Canaan’s thoughts, along with the diction and rhythms of Buckler’s prose, invite readings focused on descriptions of the observable world apposite to an ecocritical approach.
Hannah MacGregor: “Writing the “Foreign”: Narratives of Travel in the Writing Careers of Margaret Laurence and P.K. Page”
The career narratives of both Margaret Laurence and P.K. Page contain pivotal experiences of the “foreign.” While Laurence was inspired by her encounter with cultural difference in Somaliland and the Gold Coast, Page describes her years in Brazil as a period of poetic silence. The narratives have become those of apprenticeship and artistic break, in both cases linked to the space of the “foreign” and its impact on the artist’s imagination. This paper will focus on Canadian literary history’s construction of these career narratives, arguing that articulations of national identity that fetishize the nation may in fact rely upon the “foreign” as both other and supplement.
Katherine McLeod: “Radio Modernism in Canada”
Drawing upon my research on the CBC radio literary program “Anthology” (1954-1985), I propose to examine the impact of radio modernism in Canada. My case study for this paper will be one episode of “Anthology” in 1959 featuring Irving Layton reading from his collection A Red Carpet for the Sun and an excerpt from Sheila Watson’s novel The Double Hook, followed by Robert Weaver and Morley Callaghan interviewing Canadian publisher Jack McClelland on the decision to publish both Layton’s and Watson’s books in hard copy and paperback editions. Through this case study from “Anthology,” I will argue that this unexamined area of radio in Canadian modernism reveals both the impact of the CBC as a public body involved in the dissemination of modernist literature and the importance of integrating audio archives into literary criticism; in other words, to ask how the radio archive speaks to us, now.
Roy Miki: “Transforming inglish: Editing Poetry of Roy K. Kiyooka”
In “Transforming inglish: Editing the Poetry of Roy K. Kiyooka,” Roy Miki will draw specifically on his editorial work in preparing for publication of Kiyooka’s Pacific Windows: The Collected Poetry of Roy K. Kiyooka. He will examine the unique performance of “inglish,” Kiyooka’s term for the transformations he enacted in his handling of the English language. While absorbing the childhood effects of a brutal racialization as a Canadian of Japanese ancestry, Kiyooka developed an idiosyncratic but highly generative poetic style that combined an unusual vocabulary, a rhetorical flair, and a process-based compositional method. These stylistic elements bear traces of Kiyooka’s relationship to the Japanese language as his mother tongue.
Linda Morra: “‘I want my story told’: Modernism and Autobiographical Representation in Sheila Watson’s Notebooks”
This paper will reflect upon Watson’s notebooks in relation to some of the more significant facets of autobiography theory; however, to assess Watson’s notebooks in isolation from the milieu in which she wrote them is to underestimate their complexity. If the “nature of modernism” has been considered in her other literary work, it has yet to be evaluated in relation to her notebooks—indeed, little critical work in general has been conducted in relation to this facet of her work. Watson wrote a substantial part of her notebooks in Paris as she also made final revisions to The Double Hook (1959), the novel that is identified as prototypical of Canadian modernism. During this period, Watson also read voraciously and was exposed to various currents of European modernism. The strategies of modernism, therefore, necessarily had an impact on the formulation of her notebooks and would have shaped her entries accordingly. My approach will thus explore the intersection of autobiographical theory and the techniques of modernism she employs: that is, I will contextualize the entries rendered while Watson was living in Paris in order to consider how modernism is mediated in these entries and then consider the implications for her autobiographical representation.
Miguel Mota: “Malcolm Lowry’s ‘lost’ novel (1931-44): from Paris stories to Canadian ashes to archival return”
The newly discovered manuscript of Malcolm Lowry’s “lost” novel, “In Ballast to the White Sea,” developed largely in Paris in 1933-34, refutes the long-held claim (made by many, including Lowry himself) that we must forget any thought of recovering the text in material terms. The presumed loss of the manuscript fed a romantic critical/biographical desire to identify Lowry as a solitary late-modernist genius victimized by elemental and demonic forces within and without, an artist relying on a vision embodied in an idealized but unattainable text. The discovery of this “invisible” text interrogates Lowry’s dogmatic insistence on loss in the context of explorations of the efficacy of archives in fulfilling our desire for expanded remembering, at the same time acknowledging the archive as an agency that authorizes, expedites, and makes desirable personal and collective forms not only of remembering but also of forgetting.
Anne Mounic: “A Flavour of Paris in Katherine Mansfield’s Stories”
I wish to study the “spirit of place” (Lawrence’s phrase in his Studies in Classic American Literature) in Katherine Mansfield’s stories, either located or written in Paris (“Feuille d’Album”, “Je ne parle pas Français”, the beginning of “An Indiscreet Journey”, or “The Fly”, among others), through enumerating and analysing the typical details she emphasizes. For instance, in “An Indiscreet Journey”, the famous Paris concierge is compared to St Anne. This is striking at the very beginning of the story, but not gratuitous, I hope to show. As the “spirit of place” is also conveyed by literature, I also wish to study Katherine Mansfield’s connection with Baudelaire, often considered the first Modernist poet in France, through another of her stories, “The Doll’s House”, which she mentions in November 1921 in a letter written in Switzerland. We shall connect this affinity with her “cry” in her letter to her husband in December 1922: “I want to be REAL”. This will help us to get a better understanding of her modernism.
Simone Oettli: “Katherine Mansfield and the Notion of Self”
Katherine Mansfield was aware that she led at least a “double life” and she revelled in it. In a letter to the novelist William Gerhardie, she writes “There’s no greater happiness than this leading a double life,” meaning that her life of creating fiction transported her far from her daily life, and permitted her to live in a parallel world when she was writing. Her writing world was constructed around a multiplicity of personal identities, for the notion of a plurality of selves was recurrent in both her life and her work. In a much quoted statement from her Notebooks, she tantalisingly exclaims: “True to oneself! Which self? Which of my many – well, really, that’s what it looks like coming to – hundred of selves.” With the help of Roy Porter’s Rewriting the Self, the concept of the self can be defined in order to determine what it meant to Mansfield, and link it to the Modernist notions of personae and masks. Sydney Kaplan points out in Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction that “Mansfield’s adolescent awakening to her own bisexuality provided the impetus for newer, more elastic definitions of the self”. I will discuss the relationship between Katherine and her school-friend Maata in such stories as Kezia and Tui and will argue that her representations of Kezia can be interpreted as the true self that underlies all later masks and impersonations. I will then analyse the fictive strategies used by Mansfield to represent the various selves in other stories such as ‘The Little Girl’, ‘An Indiscreet Journey’ and ‘Prelude’. It is interesting to note that ‘An Indiscreet Journey’ and a first version of ‘Prelude’, entitled ‘The Aloe’, were both written in Paris. We could ask to what extent a French influence was at work in the transformation of selves represented in these stories?
Jacques Paquin: “L’expérience littéraire de Gratien Lapointe en France (1956-1962) à travers sa poésie et ses archives personelles”
En 1956, profitant d’une bourse de la Société royale du Canada qui lui fournit l’occasion d’étudier en France, Gatien Lapointe (1931-1983) va inscrire à la Sorbonne un sujet de doctorat, «La lumière chez Paul Éluard», qu’il ne mènera toutefois pas à terme. Par ailleurs, il remporte en 1958 le Prix du Club des Poètes, dont le jury était composé entre autres d’Alain Bosquet et de Jean Tardieu. Pendant les six années où il séjourner à Paris jusqu’en 1962, il fréquente le groupe de la Muette qui réunit des intellectuels qui exerceront une influence déterminante sur la parution prochaine de son Ode au Saint-Laurent (1963), un recueil phare de la poésie québécoise. Les archives personnelles de l’écrivain révèlent aussi la présence de textes inédits dont un journal poétique qui représente un témoignage autobiographique et une pratique singulière du journal. Cette communication fera donc le point l’influence française dans les textes de Lapointe sur sa modernité, dans la mesure où c’est pendant sa période d’exil qu’il composera l’un des plus grands poèmes du patrimoine canadien.
Emily Robins Sharpe: “Honeymoon in Paris: Women Reporting the Spanish Civil War”
International Spanish Civil War writings often look to Paris as a symbolic haven of peace, culture, and—for many female volunteers and reporters who went to Spain—the epitome of egalitarian society. While many women worked with the Popular Front, and particularly with the nascent feminist movement, fictional representations of female journalists frequently belittle their work—in part, by disparaging women’s connections with Paris, or, a life outside the war zone. I compare women’s writings about imaginary Paris and the postwar realities of France and Spain with literary representations of women in war, charting a developing constitutively transnational, inherently pacifist feminism.
Wendy Roy: “New York to Paris: Transnational Modernisms in Adaptations of Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna“
Because it has historically been categorized as formally conservative and rooted in the rural, Mazo de la Roche’s 1927 novel, Jalna, has only recently been discussed as a modernist text. When the book’s representations of urban modernity are revisited, however, it becomes clear that Jalna unsettles urban-rural and Canadian-international divides as its characters move back and forth between rural Ontario and New York. These modernist negotiations have been both highlighted and distorted as the book has successively been adapted for a U.S. film-going audience (1935), updated for Canadian television viewers (1972), and transplanted to Paris via a French miniseries (1994).
Michelle Smith: “The Pursuit of Elegance: Advice and Advertisements for Parisian Travel in Canadian Magazines of the 1920s and 1930s”
My paper examines the question of middlebrow aspiration in the modernist era, with a particular focus on how ideas and images about Paris in Canadian magazines illuminate this question. Paris, according to the advertisements and travel features of inter-war, English-language mainstream Canadian magazines, was a destination promising luxury, delight, and exclusivity. In short, Paris was a place that offered the Canadian traveller a chance to be thoroughly modern and, moreover, a thoroughly modern snob. But what, precisely, did this mean? I argue that a journey to Paris involved adopting a temporary “travelling self,” one that was able to live out the fulfilment of certain middlebrow aspirations in a way that validated them as a meaningful pursuit while, simultaneously, removing their attainment outside the realm of the ordinary and everyday. For the many readers who could not afford this journey, a visit to Paris became an aspiration in itself, while the magazines offered, by proxy, access to a world of prestige, vicarious consumption, and elevated cultural pursuits.
Linda Steer: “‘I AM THAT AM I?’ Brion Gysin’s Art of Unsettled Identities”
This paper addresses the intersection of Canadian Brion Gysin’s painting and literature through the figure of the exile. Although raised in Edmonton, Gysin spent much of his life abroad, particularly in Paris and Tangier: places where it was easier to find the avant-garde literary and gay communities he sought. Much of Gysin’s work, including his desert and calligraphic paintings, his history of slavery in Canada, To Master — A Long Goodnight, and his novel, The Process, examine the world through the eyes of the exile, using the unique position of cultural outsider as a means to question the very structure and foundation of identity.
Katie Tanigawa: “‘The absolute change of atmosphere’: Locating Paris in Canada’s Nostromo“
This paper explores the relationship between the specific edition of Nostromo distributed in Canada in 1904 and the development of a Canadian modernism and Canadian sense of Paris during that time. Canada received a significantly revised version of the text from the original, serial publication. I argue that because these revisions signal a transformation in the development of an absent Parisian center in the novel, a Canadian readership was exposed to a different vision of modernism and the view of Paris in Nostromo than the London readership was exposed to through T.P.’s Weekly.
Andrew Thacker: “Taking Root or Moving On?: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Little Magazines”
This paper explores contrasting definitions of modernism as internationalist and transnationalist in order to try to understand how place and geography operate to shape cultural modernism. It uses a range of examples from the ongoing Modernist Magazines Project (of which the presenter is a director) to consider how the textual object of the ‘little magazine’ is transformed by its engagement with diverse geographical locations, even in cases where it might appear that the magazine is international rather than transnational in character. By using the materialist culture of the ‘little magazine’, the paper thus stages an intervention in current debates upon transnational and ‘planetary’ modernism, raising questions about what is lost when international aspects of modernism are ignored.
John Thieme: “How Did Modernism Transform Itself When Nissim Ezekiel Shipped It to Bombay?”
I address both the value and the limitations of applying the “Modernist” label to the work of Nissim Ezekiel, regarded as the key figure in the introduction of Modernism into Indian poetry in English. While his poetry challenged the prevalent orthodoxies of Anglophone Indian verse, many of the staples of Modernism were ill-suited to the cultural climate in which they were being relocated. Although his writings arguably embodied a Modernist poetics, Modernism underwent a sea change in its new environment. I will show how the Modernist trope of urban alienation was redeployed in Ezekiel’s response to Bombay, suggesting that the Dantean “unreal city” of The Waste Land underwent significant transformations in his poems. I will also consider whether the supposed internationalism and interest in the East that informed much of both Eliot and Pound’s poetry found echoes in the work of India’s “Modernist” poets.
Tony Tremblay: “Locating Attitudes to Place in Canadian Modernism: A New Brunswick Study”
In this paper I am interested in examining the notion of “place” within a Canadian modernist context – and, specifically, how dominant attitudes to place affected the work of a small group of New Brunswick modernists. Those attitudes to place, I suspect, contributed to the creation of two solitudes between Anglophone and Acadian modernists in the province, the former group embracing attitudes to place that the latter found untenable.
Bart Vatour: “Reporting Spain: Modernist Journalism and the Politics of Proximity”
“Reporting Spain: Modernist Journalism and the Politics of Proximity,” adopts a critical vocabulary from cultural geography to show the various ways in which Norman Bethune, Hazen Sise, and Jean Watts incorporated modernist tactics into their journalism and reportage in order to shift the conceptual space between Spain and Canada. A survey of their work covers radio broadcasts, print narratives, photography, and film. Further, this colloquium presentation examines the staging of modernist journalism in Ted Allan’s novel This Time a Better Earth (1939).
Elizabeth Welsh: “Within the pages of Rhythm: Mansfield, exile and nostalgie de la boue”
In the avant garde little magazine Rhythm, co-edited and contributed to by New Zealand expatriate writer Katherine Mansfield, Frederick Goodyear’s opening essay, ‘The New Thelema’, drew together the notion of ‘exile’ with the discovery of the self. This aesthetic spoke to Katherine Mansfield’s desire for exploration, for breaking the bonds of social and artistic constraints and for the celebration of the many ‘selves’ that spill forth from embracing the freedom of ‘exile’. A mutually shared state of exile brought together many of the writers and artists involved in Mansfield and Murry’s influential magazine Rhythm and the later, significantly less successful, successor, The Blue Review.
Focusing on the little magazine and Mansfield’s erratic travelling between England and Paris at this point in her life, this paper proposes to examine two of Mansfield’s earlier works and their wider relationship within this openly international magazine. Often labelled her ‘New Zealand stories’, ‘The Woman at the Store’ and ‘Millie’ demonstrate how a barbaric, limited state of exile for Mansfield’s characters twists their sense of self, manifesting in terrible, unspeakable violence and borderline insanity.
Interestingly, these ‘New Zealand’ stories that are consumed with dark constraints and lack of personal freedom were written by Mansfield when she herself was occupying a state of voluntary exile that enabled a freedom unlike anything she had experienced before. This paper addresses the creative output that was engendered by this very state of being – this awakened awareness of multiple perspectives, histories, geographies and stories – as displayed in Mansfield’s stories and in Rhythm as a whole. As Frederick Goodyear extolled in its first issue, and Mansfield practised, the ‘outcast selves’ possess a ‘true impulse towards conscious freedom’.
Lydia Wevers: “Distance Looks Our Way”
From one century to another Katherine Mansfield’s Je ne parle pas francais and Gail Jones’s Dreams of Speaking reproduce modernist Paris. Walking the city, settling in a cafe, writing, observing, engaged in the dialectics of self, their narrators are irresistibly linked to and refracted by the technologies of modernism ─ cameras, telephones ─ tools which preserve the modernist paradox: illusions of intimacy produced in distance. This paper will set these texts alongside each other and ask: How is Paris, already loaded with numberless narratives and images, the scene of their antipodean modernisms?
Jason Wiens: “Tracing the Limits of the Obscene: John Glassco’s Revisionary Modernism”
My paper discusses two texts by John Glassco – Memoirs of Montparnasse and The English Governess – that demonstrate the limits of what Glassco and his publishers might have considered literary as opposed to pornographic. Using materials in Glassco’s papers housed in the National Archives of Canada, I will examine the differences between the published and unpublished versions of the Memoirs, and the different versions of The English Governess, to establish what Glassco and his publishers saw as the limits of what could be represented. Both texts were partly composed in Paris, and Glassco could only publish unsanitized versions of The English Governess with Parisian presses. My paper therefore considers the relationship between a more permissive Parisian literary scene and Glassco’s contributions to a Canadian modernism.
Mark Williams: “Dark Furniture: The Lugubrious Modernism of Late Manhire”
Modernism is often a term of abuse in New Zealand. Bill Manhire has been criticised as a modernist in postmodern dress and attacked as the purveyor of meaningless surrealism. In this paper I seek to argue that in his poetry since the 1990s Manhire has elaborated a ‘late voice’ that speaks to central impulses of modernist poetry from Yeats to Heaney and Curnow. I shall approach this by way of Stead’s argument in the New Poetic that modernism involves a shift in the relations between author, reader and subject—but with a twist. Some recent poems of Manhire find a new arrangement in the relations between author and reader by adapting technical tricks of the earlier work to a more profound confrontation with a preoccupying subject: how to imagine death. Here Manhire finds common ground with the late work of Baxter and Curnow as well as great figures of international modernism.
Janet Wilson: “Mansfield, France and Childhood”
Mansfield’s ambivalent love affair with France, which flowered after 1912, also saw her tackling her great theme of childhood as she moved away from the style of the raw, outback New Zealand stories written in 1912/13 into a more impressionistic mode. Her recreation of her early life through the figure of Kezia in the first draft of ‘The Aloe’, written in Paris (March to May 1915), has its origin in stories published in Rhythm (October 1912): ‘New Dresses’, ‘Elena’, and ‘The Little Girl’; but interestingly this semi-biographical point of departure is contextualized by stories written around the same time in which childhood is represented as a state that overlaps and is even confused with puberty, adolescence, adulthood: ‘Something Childish But Very Natural’, her first story written in France (Paris, December 1913), and ‘The Little Governess’ (Paris, May 1915). This paper examines these transitions in her work to argue that Mansfield explored liminal states in her characters, who combine elements of childhood, youth, and maturity, so dramatising her own psychological criss-crossing between these phases in her recreation of the family drama of ‘The Aloe’
Erin Wunker: “Try Advil, try Stein: Sina Queyras the Making of Contemporary Canadian Feminist Poetics”
Inserting itself in the interstices between current literary historicism and conceptual poetic practice, this paper will argue that contemporary Canadian writer Sina Queyras engages in a poetics of modernist impulses in her collection Lemon Hound. More specifically, by considering intertextuality as an act of collaborative creation I read Queyras’s collection as a kind of generative trespassing into Stein’s modernist poetics. I argue that Queyras’s modernist impulses, which are demonstrated in her over references to Virginia Woolf’s and, more so, Stein’s poetics, syntax, and interest in the gendered experience of both the urban and the ‘natural’ world, denote an intertextual poetic practice that complicated dominant readings of Canada’s contemporary conceptual writing milieu.
Robert Zacharias: “‘Brilliant Exile, for the Heart / Is and Not Makes, a Work of Art’: Modernism and the Aesthetics of Displacement in Canada”
This paper takes Robert Finch’s 1948 poem “From a Hammock” as an invitation to consider what is at stake in the aestheticization of exile—so common in the larger international discourse of modernism—within the context of Canadian literary history. I argue that while the deployment of exile as a modernist trope problematically conflates various models of migration, often effacing the material histories of displacement, it also fits comfortably within the logic of Canada’s larger literary tradition, where migration and dislocation have long functioned as categories of representation.
Laetitia Zecchini: “Modernism in Indian Poetry: A Paradigm for Emancipation, Recovery and Creative Out-of-Placeness”
This presentation aims at exploring Indian literary modernism, particularly post-independence Indian poetry, thus clearing a space for alternative trajectories outside of the western-biased canon, which often considers modernism beyond the Euro-American axis as parasitic, belated or “manqué”. I argue on the contrary that the flexible syntax of modernism is displaced and reinvented in India, but also “cannibalized” to become an instrument of emancipation and of recovery which is always a renewal. I want to examine in particular the seldom studied modernist lineage of the ordinary in India, of a poet-flâneur and poet-outsider recording an immediate residual experience, in order to open up and displace both the “selective tradition” (Lazarus) of modernism and of postcolonialism, and finally explore “another lineage in Indian writing in English than the one Midnight’s children opened up, along with an obsession with the monumental” (Chaudhuri).