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Mapping and Historiography in Contemporary Canadian Literature in English

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Nicola Renger

This study focuses on the way in which Canadian novels of the 1980s and 1990s use mapping and historiography as themes, metaphors and narrative models. While John Steffler’s The Afterlife of George Cartwright reveals the past influence of colonial ideology on mapping and historiography and its lasting effects, Daphne Marlatt’s Ana Historic challenges patriarchal mappings and historiographies. In In the Skin of a Lion Michael Ondaatje portrays Canada in the early twentieth century as a capitalist society determined by colonial attitudes. Ondaatje’s The English Patient illustrates the difficulty of defining an individual or communal identity in the postcolonial age of globalisation. The analysis of these representative novels is complemented by references to further Canadian works which reveal that Canadian literature mirrors and promotes current debates on the construction of reality and on multicultural and global identities.
Contents: Contemporary Canadian literature – Postcolonial/feminist/communal mapping and historiography – Alternative mappings and historiographies – Document – Polyphony – Body – Immigration and migration – Internationalisation and globalisation – Hybrid identity.