Department of English (Fredericton)

A real boy: masculinity, Northwestern Ontario, and Pinocchio
A real boy: masculinity, Northwestern Ontario, and Pinocchio
by McKenna James Boeckner, In 2006, the longstanding economic prosperity generated by the natural resource sector in Northwestern Ontario abruptly collapsed. Male dominance over the natural world, a key paradigm shaping socioeconomic ideologies of the region, now had to be reframed in terms of a more passive state of reliance. My research creation project wonders what it means to be masculine in Northwestern Ontario when the everyday requirements of this identity are in a rapid flux. By way of an answer, I turn to the emerging field of academic criticism known as the ecoGothic to reread and rewrite the classic fairy tale of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, placing the didactic tale of what it means to become a real boy in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a hinterland setting in which natural resources have become inhospitable to the men that cultivate them.
Atlantic Canada's poetic menagerie: animal presence in the poetry of John Thompson, Don Domanski, John Steffler, and Harry Thurston
Atlantic Canada's poetic menagerie: animal presence in the poetry of John Thompson, Don Domanski, John Steffler, and Harry Thurston
This dissertation examines the place of the animal in Atlantic Canadian poetry. Focusing on four poets—John Thompson, Don Domanski, John Steffler, and Harry Thurston—whose careers began in the 1960s, this study analyzes not only various ways these writers live with and use animals, but also how they think with and through animals, both in their experiences and their poetry. The similarities within this group of writers exemplify how animal presence can no longer be read as a marginal consideration in Atlantic Canadian poetry. Each poet in his own way creates a zoopoetics that shows how the act of composition in the poem itself might be read as an animal that the poet struggles to tame, even as the real animal disrupts the poem by its subversive presence in the composition. In an effort to bridge contemporary efforts to redefine the critical importance of the animal, and to apply those shared concerns to Atlantic Canada, this study draws primarily on three areas of scholarly discussions: the “question of the animal” in continental philosophy; regionalism in Atlantic Canadian studies; and recent critical perspectives in Animal Studies. There is also an interdisciplinary use of ecocriticism, phenomenology, zoosemiotics, and literary studies. The interdisciplinary nature of to this study also exemplifies how relevant critical approaches across the disciplines are to the animal. Though the focus of this study is on Atlantic Canada, these four poets have been extremely influential in Canadian poetry of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, particularly in the ways they link ecopoetics to the animal. John Thompson’s work suggests the possibilities and limitations in moving away from language, the ego, and the domestic space toward the uncontrollable animal realm. Don Domanski expands this idea of zoopoetics by rejecting concepts of the ego. Drawing on spirituality and science in tandem with the metaphoric nature of language, he investigates mysteries imbedded in the physical world. Steffler’s landscape imagines itself as animality that defies the poet’s observations and definitions. Steffler constructs ideas of modern, masculine selfhood by animalizing the natural world. In equally important ways, Thurston’s poetry engages the animal primarily from his personal perspectives of farming, science, and an eco-poetic lens. Thurston’s work eventually embraces a feral or animalized script, grounded in present-day realism, ecology, and his extensive understanding of Atlantic Canada. By bringing these poets together through their investigations of the animal encounter, the dissertation argues for a specific need for Animal Studies in Atlantic Canadian poetry., Electronic Only. (UNB thesis number) Thesis 9467. (OCoLC) 962755289., by Tammy Lynn Armstrong, Ph.D., University of New Brunswick, Department of English, 2014.
Breaking things apart and putting them back together: ekphrastic poetry
Breaking things apart and putting them back together: ekphrastic poetry
by Benjamin Dawson, “Breaking Things Apart and Putting Them Back Together” is an ekphrastic poetry collection composed of forty-nine poems, as well as a critical introduction. It deals with paintings from artists on the East Coast of Canada such as Mary Pratt, Harold Cromwell, Maud Lewis, and Molly Lamb Bobak; these fours artists are discussed at length in the critical introduction that explores the creative and theoretical framework of ekphrasis. I reimagine ekphrasis as a collaborative art, through which I try to understand life on the East Coast, finding within the range of artists I examined thematic and technical similarities, as well as a general folk sensibility; many artists illustrated landscapes suggesting a consistent creative connection with the land they lived on. While the images gesture outward to viewers, the poems I wrote about them are often introspective, dealing with issues of home, community, culture, and mental health.
Colonel Alzheimer
Colonel Alzheimer
by Erfan Mojib, Colonel Alzheimer is a collection of short stories about the ordinary life of a small fictional community in the heart of Iran. Set in a desert town fabled for its heat and sandstorms, the collection presents a society that is trapped between past and present, reality and dreams, modernity and tradition. Although the stories deal with universal subjects, they come to life through small-scale events, and local miracles that have a tremendous influence on the lives of ordinary people. Colonel Alzheimer is also a window into a culture that, in recent years, has been misrepresented by the media and by diasporic writers and memoirists who contribute to prevalent stereotypes about their own people. Although the collection is in some sense a personal tribute, it strives to draw readers’ attention away from ideological, cultural, and political differences and remind us that there are more things that unite people than divide them.
Contemporary North American poetry as postsecular prayer
Contemporary North American poetry as postsecular prayer
by Perry Reimer, My thesis explores contemporary North American poetry as a form of postsecular prayer. I discuss works by Mary Szybist, Louise Glück, and bpNichol. These authors blend conventions of prayer from disparate religions with secular discourses to write poetic prayers that straddle the sacred and the secular. I explore Szybist’s fascination with personal prayer; I read Glück as a writer of communal prayer that finds common ground across religious and non-religious boundaries; finally, my chapter on Nichol examines what role form and language play in postsecular prayer. These three authors liberate prayer language from its religious roots and re-appropriate religious forms for secular self-discovery, healing, and the establishment of communities that transgress religious and secular boundaries. I track how these poets produce postsecular prayer, which is in many ways analogous to religious prayer in its objectives – to find meaning within and navigate an immense and uncontrollable world. I use postsecularism, which resists the dogmatism of both religious and secular doctrine to allow for contestability and pluralism, as my theoretical focus. This framework allows for the deconstruction of the religious, opening up possibilities for prayer as a means of spiritual growth for the individual. Through postsecular prayer, individuals and communities can find comfort despite the unknown and achieve collective understanding in the absence of an authoritative, religious divine.
Modernist eschatology: T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, H.D.’s Trilogy, and the Second World War apocalypse
Modernist eschatology: T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, H.D.’s Trilogy, and the Second World War apocalypse
by Kyle Joudry, This thesis explores the degree to which T.S. Eliot’s (1888-1965) Four Quartets (1936-42) and H.D.’s (1886-1961) Trilogy (1944-46) engage in eschatological discourse. Both Eliot and H.D. treat the Second World War as apocalyptic, prompting each poet to rely on eschatological writing as a means of resisting wartime injustices. Paradoxically, a primary manner in which each poet deploys their eschatology is through a discussion of Incarnational theology. This study relies upon Christian theology as a methodology for understanding the various Christian allusions within each poem, providing a reading that seeks to reconfigure scholarly understandings of Eliot’s and H.D.’s wartime epics.
Old Provinces, New Modernisms: Toward an Editorial Poetics of the Maritime Little Magazine
Old Provinces, New Modernisms: Toward an Editorial Poetics of the Maritime Little Magazine
by James William Johnson, As a territory located on Canada's geopolitical periphery—a territory lacking key points of access to large presses, arts capital, and cultural media—the Maritimes has been disproportionately served by alternative media like little magazines. Nevertheless, while there has been a substantial body of research dedicated to little magazine culture in Canada, its urban beginnings, and its contribution to the emergence of literary modernism, few studies have examined the development and influence of the little magazine in the Maritime Provinces. Taking as representative examples “The Fiddlehead” (1945– ), “Katharsis” (1967–1971), “The Square Deal” (1970–1971), “Sand Patterns” (1972–8), and “The Antigonish Review” (1970– )—little magazines which have distinguished themselves in the region for breadth of readership and authorship, editorial leadership, and cultural activism—this thesis examines the literary, cultural, and political functions of Maritime literary magazines from the qi.id-nineteenth century up to the 1980s. Paying close attention to the political, social, and economic environments in which these magazines have emerged and to which they have responded, this thesis sets forth an editorial poetics of the Maritime little magazine.
Spinsters and bachelors in Dicken's novels: from the ridiculous to the sublime
Spinsters and bachelors in Dicken's novels: from the ridiculous to the sublime
by Elizabeth M. Craig, This project explores spinster and bachelor characters in Charles Dickens’s novels as an element of his fictional practice; it also enlarges our understanding of gender roles and characteristics as they played out in Victorian culture. Such figures are rooted in comedy where the laughter evoked through the images of the “desiring undesirable” and the “un-desiring desirable” confirms the hegemonic values of Victorian society even as it provides a platform for change. Questions surrounding the self and its need for validation are further examined through the discussion of those unmarried men and women who desire love and are rejected. Indeed, the marriage-plot in Dickens’s novels is often sidelined by a rejected lover plot, as the characters negotiate a response to rejection which provides an opportunity for growth or for decline. The later chapters focus on spinsters and bachelors who wish to remain unmarried, thereby drawing attention to the constructed nature of gender roles. Successful bachelors, fully immersed in a domestic ideology which they bring to their places of work, demonstrate that domesticity is often found outside of a conventional family setting. Dickens abandons the conduct manuals of his contemporaries that encourage division between the sexes and grants a voice to the marginalized thus allowing the complexity of the characters and of their situations to be revealed. Despite the constraints of society and the dismissive laughter directed at them, Dickens demonstrates that there are many unmarried women and men who live full lives and, in doing so, offer new possibilities: a bachelor can be an “angel of the house” and, using Nina Auerbach’s words, a spinster can have a “splendid identity.”
The Never-Again Club
The Never-Again Club
by Michael Solomon Milech, Seven decades and nearly as many genocides since the Holocaust, the slogan “never again” has been rendered all but meaningless. In the play ‘The Never-Again Club’, seventeen-year-old Alison, the Canadian granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, sets out to put things right. She plans to go to the Sudan as a humanitarian aid worker, encouraged from beyond the grave by a recently murdered Darfuri woman, but discouraged by her late grandmother. In the context of research that shows that the Holocaust can have psychological effects not just on survivors but on their children and grandchildren, the play examines the importance that the genocide of Jews continues to have in the lives of its survivors' families. As well, ‘The Never-Again Club’ examines Western attitudes toward humanitarian activism more generally, and raises questions about the extent to which relatively affluent people should be expected to disrupt or even endanger their lives to help strangers.
chronic
chronic
by Grace Annear, Framed by the physical language of elite athletics, Chronic depicts the experiences of a young collegiate woman as she navigates a chronic pain condition known as vulvodynia. Despite the literary tradition of women in pain, women suffering, and women with illness, this particular condition lacks much in the way of a literary cannon. Set on the grey shores of BC’s west coast, the narrative follows Kit and her fellow athletes over the course of a competitive year, their inter-­‐twined exchanges forming a narrative that muddles and globalizes the concept of pain. Through its depiction of sexual relationships and athletic endeavours, the novel strives to challenge traditional models of physicality, identity, mental health, and female sexuality. By couching a story of vulvodynia in the physical language of an athlete, Chronic conveys that one of the primary struggles of chronic pain is the perception of, and the relationship with, one’s body., Electronic Only., M.A. University of New Brunswick, Department of English, 2017
“No matter what, we must eat to live”: food feelings and body image in contemporary women's literature in Canada
“No matter what, we must eat to live”: food feelings and body image in contemporary women's literature in Canada
by M. Bethany Langmaid, What if loving our bodies was not revolutionary? What if, rather, being happy with our bodies, no matter what they looked like, was the norm? Through its analysis of Saleema Nawaz’s Bone and Bread (2013), Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie (2015), and Mona Awad’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2016), this thesis explores the ways that women authors in Canada write back against diet cultures and body shaming, and, in turn, depict positive and healing relationships between individuals, their bodies, and food. With today’s proliferation of technology amongst youth, people as young as elementary school-aged children can access fatphobic messaging through the glorification of thin ‘Influencers’ on platforms such as Instagram, Netflix, and YouTube. In response to this era of unlimited technological access, this thesis uses these three novels to shift the cultural focus from body- and food-shaming, and to, instead, promote self-acceptance and self-love.
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