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ENGL 222 Bird in the House Notes Jan 30

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University of British Columbia
ENGL 222
Duffy Roberts

January 30, 2013 ENGL 222 – Canadian Literature  Historiographic metafiction o Historiography is the study of history o Graphic means text o The study of the textualization of history – how we disseminate history o Meta means to carry (burden)  ie. metaphor = to carry across  figurative language  Mapping textualized history into fiction  Discussion of not just history but memory o Memory’s impact on us in the present o History’s impacts on us through literature in the present o Nostalgia: Vanessa’s story is positioned in a nostalgic way  What is the function of nostalgia, in a Canadian context, or Vancouver context?  Is the hipster identity about nostalgia?  Call past into present because something is lost  Desire for something in the past  Flavour / layer to nostalgia that suggests that it belongs to the past, that we’ve moved on from it  To bring past into present would be a problematic messing of the way time works  Call history into present through nostalgia “The Bird in the House”  P. 304 (bottom) o Need the maid in the house to do the stuff because Beth is going to work  “Don’t talk stupidly” she is resisting to the story-izing of her o Vanessa is resistant to change, wants that change but feels guilty  Being nostalgic for the past to some degree – is this the Canadian condition? Northrop Fry, “A Literary History of Canada”  P.253 o Less pre-occupied with “Who am I?” rather than “Where is here?”  Locational identity  Subjectivities informed by location o Idea that early pioneers were obsessed with the new frontier  U.S.: “manifest destiny”  Canada: fear of the unknown – idea that natural world can kill us; respect also o Benendict Anderson: “communities are imagined”  Same belief systems, cultures, values  Imagine their role in the world in very similar ways o “Garrison mentality”  Originally abject fear of nature  Pioneers came to Canada because: o Promise of lots of land
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