Search procedures : carnivalization in language- and theory-focused texts of four Canadian women writers

Sojka, Eugenia (1996) Search procedures : carnivalization in language- and theory-focused texts of four Canadian women writers. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The study analyzes language- and theory-focused texts by four Canadian women writers: Lola Lemire Tostevin, Betsy Warland, Gail Scott and Erin Mouré. The texts are read as representative of a contemporary avant-garde. The term avant-garde, when used in conjunction with modernism or postmodernism, points to the more radical, norm-breaking aspects of both movements. Avant-garde writing is read as a reincarnation of the spirit of carnival. The concept of “carnival,” with all its Bakhtinian and Kristevan associations, when translated into literature accounts for multiple subversions of language and forms of writing. Such forms of feminist writing as "écriture feminine" and "feminnage" are examined in the thesis. The writers explore the writing itself as a process of finding a form through a dialogue with multiple genres and modes of writing. -- These language-focused texts explore the concept of intersemiotic translation of body into a written script. In this process the phonetic/alphabetic notation is carnivalized by codes from other writing systems. The picto-ideo-phono/sono graphic body is inscribed onto a page through the exploration of synaesthetic properties of language. In a way similar to the historical avant-garde, the texts provoke a rethinking of the very notion of verbal art. They are not pure literary objects but interdiscursive compositions. The avant-garde ideal of the Total Work of Art is effectively inscribed in them. The exploration of verbal synaesthesia and of the synaesthetic understanding of book art brings the texts close to historical avant-garde experimentalism. They are like cubist, futurist or surrealist canvases that distort pictorial realism by manipulation of visual, auditory, kinetic and olfactory fragments. They are open-ended compositions which through the use of parodic discourse challenge any monologic concepts of language, self and genre. They also question the dichotomization of aesthetics and politics that is typical of such politically ineffective theories as the New Critical or Derridean school of thinking. -- The thesis is not only an exploration of language- and theory-focused texts but also a record of my search for an alternative form of thesis writing. I examine a variety of forms including parody, self-interview, journal, e-mail letter, essay, collage and a formal critical commentary. In general, these forms of writing translate a dialogue that takes place between various parts of my self.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5452
Item ID: 5452
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 447-488.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Tostevin, Lola Lemire--Criticism and interpretation; Warland, Betsy, 1946---Criticism and interpretation; Scott, Gail--Criticism and interpretation; Mouré, Erin, 1955---Criticism and interpretation; Feminist literature--Canada--History and criticism; Carnival in literature

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