This project collects a body of Canadian manifestos in a critical print edition, setting political manifestos against literary and artistic declarations to explore the impact of this wide-raging form of writing on Canadian thought and culture. In this juxtaposition, I am interested in portraying an incendiary side of Canadian culture and history that is often overlooked; an aim that I hope will be bolstered by the inclusion of unknown and out-of-print material. I am further interested in exploring the intertextuality of work hitherto defined categorically as ‘political’ or ‘literary/artistic’ to expose the common institutions, authorship, movements, and ideologies of Canadian manifesto production. My engagement with the texts in this collection has made clear that the social practice of political speech and the creative practice of literary writing fuse in the manifesto; it is in this form that the revolutionary character of modernism and the revolutionary potential of labour in its creative and productive forms find material fixity and enter into the same moment of an open-ended present.
The project will be structured as an annotated sourcebook, with a critical essay addressing issues of genre, formation, and language. The texts will be arranged chronologically, with a brief introduction to each manifesto, followed by the manifesto itself, fully annotated. Part of the work of this project is to collapse the distinction between ‘political’ and ‘artistic’; accordingly, the selected manifestos will not be subdivided. I have identified 25 potential texts for inclusion (detailed in the ‘List of manifestos’ below). These manifestos range from widely printed and circulated historical documents (the CCF’s “Regina Manifesto,” 1933) to newly discovered archival material (Wilfred Watson, “A Manifesto for Canadian Drama,” 1960).
One of the most frequent requests in performing arts archives is for information about particular performances: Who directed the Shaw Festival’s 1999 production of Getting Married, and how can I find out more about the artistic concept? When did Theatre Passe Muraille first mount the Farm Show and who starred in it? How was Native Earth Performing Arts’ debut production of Rez Sisters received? To help answer these and other questions, the Canadian Theatre Textbase will contain detailed playbill contents, sponsorship information, and reviews drawn from the archival papers of approximately 140 theatre companies, associations, actors, directors, designers, and administrators currently housed at the University of Guelph’s L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives. It will facilitate research, for instance, that can track the location of actors’ work through their careers, identify patterns of individuals who have worked together, and trace corporate sponsorship of productions. These and a multitude of alternate ways of mining the data will enable a great leap forward in the studies of 19th and 20th century Canadian theatrical history, social history, and trends in arts funding.
A second facet of the Canadian Theatre Textbase project will broaden the scope of the available research data beyond Ontario and Western Canada by updating and enhancing the current Atlantic Canada Theatre Site (ACTS). This site contains databases rich with information about theatre in Atlantic Canada including production credits from playbills and newspaper notices of performances dating back to 1765, electronic text editions of works by playwrights Herman Voaden and Patricia Joudry, an extensive bibliography of Canadian theatre history resources, and a complete run of Theatre Research in Canada, the scholarly journal of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR). All work on ACTS will be done in consultation with Edward Mullaly, its founding editor; the CATR Executive; and the University of New Brunswick’s Electronic Text Centre, where ACTS is currently housed and which conducted the bulk of the preparation of electronic texts found on the site. The third facet of the project will catalogue primary and secondary resources available for the study of the production and social histories of Canadian theatre during the interwar period (1919-1939). The investigation of this important phase of Canadian theatrical history will include such developments as the peak of the “Little Theatre” movement, the Worker’s Theatre movement and the earliest years of the Dominion Drama Festival and will greatly assist researchers in appreciating the significance of the work produced during this period and of the artists themselves.
The Canadian Theatre Textbase project constitutes one of the early sets of research results to be housed on or linked to the new infrastructure under development as part of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation-funded Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) led by Susan Brown, Director of the SSHRC-funded Orlando Project. As such it will make significant contributions to the development of the markup and encoding procedures for use with the suite of tools to be made available through CWRC. The latest humanities research encoding standards, including markup to render the data accessible to Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, will be employed in the generation of the content. Complementary to another CWRC-related project being proposed as a separate initiative by Ann Wilson (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), the Canadian Theatre Textbase project will provide scholars and theatre enthusiasts from around the globe with a rich and diverse resource showcasing Canadian theatrical production.
Virtually any student in first-year English in Canada will recognize Naomi as the protagonist of Joy Kogawa’s Obasan (1981), the first novel to represent the Japanese Canadian (JC) “evacuation”—JC exile from the West Coast during WWII. Kogawa’s identity has ultimately become synonymous with that of Naomi, who has in turn become the exemplum for all JCs and their wartime experiences. An aspect of literary criticism is responsible for this. Minimal research is available on JC texts beyond Obasan, and this effectively silences other JC voices; certain literary critics have identified this dangerously reductive example of literary criticism as homogenizing discourse. My research will address the resulting gap in the criticism by focusing on JC literature, film, and new media representations of evacuation that resist recuperation. The focal point of this project will be to analyze how injustices are rhetorically “managed” through a particular lexicon and according to narrative tropes in both the power discourses and the cultural narratives of resistance, in ways that impact identity formations and challenge the myth of nation. Using JC evacuation as a case study, I will examine not only what occurs during injustice (the 1940s) but also how events are re-narrated diachronically (over 70 years), as a function of, and in reaction to, changing socio-political attitudes.
The first stage of this study will involve the recovery work necessary to compile a more complete body of heterogeneous evacuation narratives. Primary and secondary sources will be made publicly available through a digital archive on ORCA (Online Research Canada), created in collaboration with CWRC and EMiC. Other scholars will be able to build on this work, focusing on JC texts and/or drawing links to other injustices. This research is the next step toward more widespread and productive cooperation
between ethno-cultural groups, increasing the potentiality to reconfigure the inherent hierarchies of state multiculturalism. This research will ideally increase public awareness of the constructed nature of representations of Otherness, and the potentiality to disrupt and resist subjugation.
My proposed project will contribute to the mandate of increasing the accessibility of Lewis-related texts to those interested in unravelling his role in modernism. I intend on generating a Tarr Resources website with annotations of works relating to Tarr that are included in the C.J. Fox Collection housed at University of Victoria’s Special Collections. Fox, a Lewis scholar and collector, amassed an astounding collection of Lewis-related material which now comprises the Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) collection. The collection’s fonds total seven meters and range from photographs, articles, and correspondence related to Wyndham Lewis in Canada to research material on Vorticism. The collection also contains five English editions of Tarr published prior to Oxford’s republication, which are rare and currently out of print, including a first English edition of the serial novel in the Egoist (1918), Tarr: the 1918 Version (Black Sparrow Press 1990), and Tarr (Chatto & Windus 1928; Methuen 1951; Penguin 1982). The Tarr Resources site will provide a description of those longer works related to Tarr from the archive, including these editions and collections of criticism which mention the novel. In addition to summarizing each of the collection’s Tarr-related resources, my project will also involve digitization. I will identify materials relating to Tarr in the UVic Wyndham Lewis collection, seek copyright permission, and digitize those works that are not already digitally available elsewhere.
The Tarr Resources site is part of UVic’s Modernist Versions Project (MVP), a digital processing framework that will produce digital critical editions with searchable databases of variants. The 1918 and 1928 editions of Tarr are the first texts this project will digitize, and the resultant MVP Tarr editions will be invaluable and powerful digital tools for scholars interested in comparative analysis. The resources website will supplement the MVP as a starting point for critical inquiries on Tarr.