Marie Carriere and Patricia Demers, Editors/directrices. Regenerations: Canadian Women's Writing/Regenerations: Ecriture Des Femmes Au Canada

By Morra, Linda M. | English Studies in Canada, June-September 2015 | Go to article overview

Marie Carriere and Patricia Demers, Editors/directrices. Regenerations: Canadian Women's Writing/Regenerations: Ecriture Des Femmes Au Canada


Morra, Linda M., English Studies in Canada


Marie Carriere and Patricia Demers, editors/directrices.

Regenerations: Canadian Women's Writing/Regenerations:

Ecriture des Femmes au Canada. Edmonton: University of

Alberta Press, 2014. 310 pp. $39.95.

Regenerations: Canadian Women's Writing/Regenerations: Ecriture des Femmes au Canada marshals together an impressive cache of papers that emerged from the Canadian Women Writers Conference held at the University of Alberta in the fall of 2010. Well edited by Marie Carriere and Patricia Demers, the essays frequently address the subject of collaboration or engagement between writers, researchers, and the general public; in their totality, they explore the worlds of Canadian women writers in both French and English, amplifying and enriching critical and literary traditions that are increasingly undergoing transformation in a digital age. The balance of essays in English and French offers a welcome bilingual conversation, because these literary traditions in Canada are often treated or approached as separate worlds. The book's preface is also written in Canada's two official languages, although somewhat oddly transitioning in the middle of paragraphs from one language to another--certainly a practice that would be regarded with some reservation in at least certain quarters of the French-Canadian academic community.

The book is divided into four sections, which culminate in a fine afterword by Susan Brown and Mary-Jo Romaniuk. The first section, "Au Fil de la Narration" opens with an elegant piece by Nicole Brossard, whose poetic ruminations extend from collective memory to the difficulty of constructing and archiving narratives in view of the ephemeral nature of social media, the result of a culture in which we produce "l'ephemere, du faux, de la copie, de "illusion." Of Facebook, she notes that its members write "[p]hrases graffiti dans la nuit des temps, resumes de douleurs et de joies disperses dans la chaleur laminee du present virtuel" Susan Rudy's essay enriches these considerations by looking at women poets, such as Erin Moure and Caroline Bergvall, and their unique forms of collaboration to assess how these narratives are imbricated and offer the "opportunity to celebrate the multiplicity of the self with others" Dean Irvine follows with a specific look at how collaborations related to Editing Modern in Canada (EMic) has attracted a transnational network of researchers that has expanded the availability of modernist texts in print and digital forms and produced a "digital commons" The essay by Chantal Savoie and Julie Roy discusses a different kind of network: the emergence of women's contributions to the periodical press in the latter half of nineteenth-century Quebec.

The contributors in section two examine a range of accomplished women writers in Canada: from Elizabeth Smart, Gwendolyn McEwan, and Margaret Atwood (Rosemary Sullivan); to Nadine Bismuth, Helene Dorion, Flora Balzano (Marie Carriere); to Rosanna Leprohon, Frances Brooke, and Julia Catherine Beckwith (Lindsey McMaster); and, finally, to Margaret Laurence (Cinda Gault). Analyzing the literary histories of which these women are a part and the interpretive grids by which these women writers have been apprehended, the contributors reconceptualise how future readers or scholars might further engage, approach, or extend their critical approaches and re-evaluate their contributions in broader contexts, such as metafeminism, nationalism, or the Gothic Romance. Sullivan's voice is refreshing in her suggestion about how creative writing programs promise to connect future writers with a literary past that encompasses a vibrant and evocative tradition of women writers in Canada.

In the third section, "Des Contextes Minoritaire," the essays shift away from mainstream writers, readers, and literary forms and call for theoretical models and approaches that capture a fuller range of audiences and authors. …

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