Writing home: regionalism, distance, and metafiction in four novels by Wayne Johnston

Pearce, Jason (1997) Writing home: regionalism, distance, and metafiction in four novels by Wayne Johnston. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Even in the 1990s, much research on literary regionalism in Canada manifests a discourse of cultural centralization. The appearance in literature of content and forms particular to one region is conceived either as a negative literary development or as a necessary means to some more universally pleasing end. Many of those critics who do argue in favour of regional art depict the region as the passive recipient of a marginalizing discourse. For critics such as Joan Strong, Newfoundland and regions like it are subject to a power discourse which issues from "an illusory elsewhere" (11). -- This analysis of Wayne Johnston's four novels focusses instead on those relations in which the region reinforces its own marginalization. As the site of one such relation, television shapes the very identities of both the centre and the margin. Yet television also provides a telling model for the regional narrative, as its inherent capacity for distance allows resistance of that broader cultural hegemony which confronts the writing subject from within the region as well as without. Finally, this concept of distance is applied to language, as the distinctive forms of the region are set against those of the established centre. At the level of metafiction, Johnston lays bare the artifice with which these forces affect the writing subject, as well as the techniques of narrative resistance which are at the regional writer's disposal.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7158
Item ID: 7158
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 86-92.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Johnston, Wayne--Criticism and interpretation; Regionalism in literature

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