Unsettled Remains: Canadian Literature and the Postcolonial Gothic examines how Canadian writers have combined a postcolonial awareness with gothic metaphors of monstrosity and haunting in their response to Canadian history. The essays gathered here range from treatments of early postcolonial gothic expression in Canadian literature to attempts to define a Canadian postcolonial gothic mode. Many of these texts wrestle with Canada's colonial past and with the voices and histories that were repressed in the push for national consolidation but emerge now as uncanny reminders of that contentious history. The haunting effect can be unsettling and enabling at the same time. In recent years, many Canadian authors have turned to the gothic to challenge dominant literary, political, and social narratives. In Canadian literature, the "postcolonial gothic" has been put to multiple uses, above all to figure experiences of ambivalence that have emerged from a colonial context and persisted into the present. As these essays demonstrate, formulations of a Canadian postcolonial gothic differ radically from one another, depending on the social and cultural positioning of who is positing it.
Given the preponderance, in colonial discourse, of accounts that demonize otherness, it is not surprising that many minority writers have avoided gothic metaphors. In recent years, however, minority authors have shown an interest in the gothic, signalling an emerging critical discourse. This "spectral turn" sees minority writers reversing long-standing characterizations of their identity as "monstrous" or invisible in order to show their connections to and disconnection from stories of the nation.
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Cynthia Sugars is a professor of English at the University of Ottawa, where she teaches Canadian literature. She is the author of Canadian Gothic: Literature, History, and the Spectre of Self-Invention (2014) and is the editor of numerous essay collections, including The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature (forthcoming 2015); Canadian Literature and Cultural Memory (with Eleanor Ty, 2014); Unsettled Remains: Canadian Literature and the postcolonial Gothic (with Gerry Turcotte; WLU Press, 2009); and the historical anthology Canadian Literature in English: Texts and Contexts (with Laura Moss, 2009). With Herb Wyile, she is currently the co-editor of Studies in Canadian Literature . Gerry Turcotte is the executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Sydney. He is the past president of the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ), past secretary of the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS), and founding director of the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies (CCAS). He is the author of numerous books.
Canadian Literature & the Postcolonial Gothic; Catholic Gothic: Atavism, Orientalism, & Generic Change in Charles De Guise's Le Cap au diable (1863); Viking Graves Revisited: Pre-Colonial Primitivism in Farley Mowat's Northern Gothic; Coyote's Children & the Canadian Gothic: Sheila Watson's The Double Hook & Gail Anderson-Dargatz's The Cure for Death by Lightning; "Horror Written on Their Skin": Joy Kagawa's Gothic Uncanny; Familiar Ghosts: Feminist Postcolonial Gothic in Canada; Canadian Gothic & the Work of Ghosting: Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees; A Ukranian-Canadian Gothic?: Ethnic Angst in Janice Kulyk Keefer's The Green Library; "Something not unlike enjoyment": Gothicism, Catholicism, & Sexuality in Tomson Highway's Kiss of the Fur Queen; Rethinking the Canadian Gothic: Reading Eden Robinson's Monkey Beach; Beothuk Gothic: Michael Crummey's River Thieves; Keeping the Gothic at (Sick) Bay: Reading the Transferences in Vincent Lam's Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures; Index.
"Unsettled Remains problematises notions of Canadian national unity and memory, with the clear intention of challenging dominant hegemonic narratives. In this context, the genre of the postcolonial gothic invokes a dynamic space in which previously repressed or unheard narratives can find voice and expression. Ultimately, the collection considers the ways in which Canada's present is unsettled by its history, and documents Canadians' ambivalent reaction to their uncanny relationship with an estranged and haunted past." - Sharon Selby, University of Edinburgh, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Volume 23 (Number 2), 2010
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