Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations

Article excerpt

Deanna Reder and Linda M. Morra (eds), Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010), 348 pp. Paper. $34.95. ISBN 978-1-55458-181-8.

Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations is a collection of nineteen pieces, divided into five sections, including both criticism and literary creation. In their two prefaces, Reder and Morra identify the 'trickster discourse' as the fundamental axis of all Indigenous literature.

The first section of Troubling Tricksters opens with the essay by Fagan, which functions as a sort of general introduction to the whole book and traces the critical map of the Trickster, demonstrating how its continual assimilation to comic contexts has largely limited its possibilities of reception. In the following contributions, two modalities are suggested. To reach the most authentic heart of Indigenous literature it is necessary to have a criticism with greater awareness (Sinclair) and the re-appropriation by the Natives of their cultural voice (Fee). A transfigured Trickster emerges from the analysis by Morra of three literary cases. The second part opens with an amusing story by Van Camp about the Raven, which introduces the concept of the 'writer-as-trickster' and its multiple implications from both the communicative and the interpretative perspectives. Kelly analyses Van Camp's story through this reference frame, and lists the possible pedagogical approaches to Raven stories in non-Native contexts. The necessity of reworking Raven's myth is also expressed in Morra's interview to Kientz and in Assu's essay: the recovery of the Trickster's essence, which consists in his capacities of adaptation and transformation and emerges in both the figurative (Assu) and the audiovisual (Kientz) context.

In the third section, three distinct Native perspectives (the Métis, the Blackfoot and the Cree) depict the Trickster in dynamic relationship with the social, cultural and political contexts from which it originated. …

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