Citizen Monsters: Race and Cannibalism in Suzette Mayr’s Venous Hum

Posted in Articles, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2016-11-20 00:04Z by Steven

Citizen Monsters: Race and Cannibalism in Suzette Mayr’s Venous Hum

Andrea Beverley, Assistant Professor of Canadian Cultural and Literary Studies
Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes
Volume 47, Number 1, Winter 2013
pages 36-58

Halfway through Suzette Mayr’s 2004 novel Venous Hum, a number of the central characters are revealed to be cannibalistic vampires, some of whom are reformed and loveable while others are violent and villainous. The novel is funny and satirical with connections to cult horror films and canonical Canadian literature. By reading Venous Hum in terms of magic realism and literary cannibalism, this essay focusses on the ways in which Mayr’s evocations of vampires and cannibals lead readers towards a politicized questioning of the relationship between perceived differences and official nation-state discourse. This essay thus examines the novel’s magic realist monster imagery in relation to racialization and the politics of interpellation, visibility, inclusion, and assimilation in multicultural Canada. Mayr makes ironic use of the colonial resonances of cannibalistic discourse in order to critique the relationship between the nation-state and its varied citizens, and between official multicultural policy and the lived experience of racialization.

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Rereading Pauline Johnson

Posted in Articles, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2013-08-06 05:11Z by Steven

Rereading Pauline Johnson

Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes
Volume 46, Number 2, Spring 2012
pages 45-61
DOI: 10.1353/jcs.2012.0018

Carole Gerson, Professor of English
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

This essay argues for a broader appreciation of Pauline Johnson’s creative range and poetic accomplishment. Rereading her work in relation to some of J. Edward Chamberlin’s ideas about narrative and about home brings fresh perspectives to her writing and reception in relation to her reversal of the White masculine gaze in her representations of Native peoples, Canadian history, wilderness, and gender. Her first Euro-Canadian audience used her work to assist with their own indigenization and help them feel at home in Canada. Because most current readers construct Johnson as figure of resistance, concentrating on a small selection of her poetry on Native topics, they continue to ignore her poems that invoke a female voice to possess the wilderness, along with her innovative erotic verse that reinhabits the female body by empowering the female gaze.

Having written extensively about Pauline Johnson in the past—most recently in relation to celebrity (Gerson 2012)—I welcome the opportunity created by this collection of essays associated with the Grand River Forum to bring some of J. Edward Chamberlin’s observations about storytelling to bear on my current interest in returning approaches to Johnson. My goal is to bring fresh attention to the craft and range of her poetry and to the complexity of her reception. Chamberlin’s analysis of narrative as essential to human experience, however contradictory the stories on a given topic might seem, is amply borne out by the unusual life and career of Emily Pauline Johnson (1861-1913). The well-known part-Mohawk poet was closely associated with the Grand River region, where she honed her skills in canoeing and authorship, her talents converging in…

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The First Black Prairie Novel: Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance’s Autobiography and the Repression of Prairie Blackness

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2011-06-30 02:16Z by Steven

The First Black Prairie Novel: Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance’s Autobiography and the Repression of Prairie Blackness

Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes
Volume 45, Number 2 (Spring 2011)
pages 31-57
E-ISSN: 1911-0251; Print ISSN: 0021-9495
DOI: 10.1353/jcs.2011.0022

Karina Vernon, Assistant Professor of English
University of Toronto

This essay situates Chief Buffalo Child’s Long Lance: The Autobiography of a Blackfoot Indian Chief (1928) within the cultural context of its production, the anti-Black racial climate of the Canadian Prairies in the early part of the twentieth century, in order to analyze the textual repression of its author’s Blackness. Although the Autobiography has been discredited as a fraud because, as Donald B. Smith discovered, Long Lance was not in fact Blackfoot as the Autobiography claims, but “mixed blood” from North Carolina, this essay reclaims it as the first novel penned on the Prairies by a Black author, for it tells a true—more metaphorical and allegorical than factual—story about the desire on the part of displaced “new” world Blacks for Indigenous status and belonging. This essay examines the implications of claiming the Autobiography as the first Black prairie novel and explores how reading it as fiction rather than autobiography extends our understandings of “passing,” racial identification and transformation.

Cet article situe l’autobiographie Long Lance: The Autobiography of a Blackfoot Indian Chief (1928) du Chef Buffalo Child dans le contexte culturel de sa production—le climat racial anti-Noirs des Prairies canadiennes au début du XXe siècle—afin d’analyser la répression textuelle de son auteur noir. Donald B. Smith a par la suite considéré cette autobiographie comme une imposture, ayant découvert que Long Lance ne faisait pas partie de la confédération des Pieds-Noirs, mais était plutôt un « sang-mêlé » de la Caroline du Nord. Cependant, l’auteur du présent article considère cette autobiographie comme le premier roman écrit dans les Prairies par un Noir puisqu’il raconte une histoire vraie—quoique plus métaphorique et allégorique que factuelle—du désir des Noirs déplacés du « Nouveau » Monde d’acquérir le statut d’indigène et d’appartenir à leur monde. L’article examine les conséquences de la classification de cette pseudo-autobiographie comme le premier roman des Prairies écrit par un Noir et explore les manières dont sa lecture en tant qu’Å“uvre de fiction plutôt qu’autobiographie nous aide à mieux comprendre le concept de « passage », d’identification et de transformation raciales.

Read or purchase the article here.

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