New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism

By Greta M. K. McCormick Coger | Go to book overview
elements. Vauthier's study (unfortunately available only in French) foregrounds the self- reflexivity of the novel, examining the "circulation" of its narratives, their transformations, contestations, and subjectivities, thereby destabilizing a centered reading. Fabre's two 1982 articles take up similar narratological concerns. In "Text, Mini-Text and Micro-Text" he examines the metafictional "narrative units," which he sees as undermining the novel's mimesis (though he does perceive "an attempt to build a pattern" [161] of these fragments). "Words and the World" views the novel as presenting "writing as a creative and communicative process indissociable from the problematic relation between fiction and reality" (247).

A comment Laurence makes in her essay "Ivory Tower or Grassroots?" shows both her awareness of, and ambivalence concerning such centrifugal elements: "My fiction . . . must always feel easy with paradox and accommodate contradiction" (23). Centrifugal "paradox" and "contradiction" are centripetally accepted and "accommodated."

2.
For discussions of the internal evidence that the novel Morag is writing is The Diviners see Grace68 and McLean392-93. Clara Thomas also points out that in the manuscript of the novel the final sentence is followed by the words "The Diviners" (Garden 401).
3.
His status as an imperialist is reinforced in that Laurence gave the same name to a British imperialist in her African story "A Fetish For Love."
4.
Robert Gunn is the only settler of 266 Bryce names whom he designates "piper." Bryce makes no mention of Piper Gunn's having a wife named Morag but notes that he was accompanied on the march by his "sister" Mary (323).
5.
She tells in her memoir Dance on the Earth of how she only learned of the Piper being named Gunn from her friend Jean Cole after the novel was published (200-01).
6.
Christie's surname may well have been suggested to Laurence by Hugh MacLennan essay "A Disquisition on Elmer," in which he remarks that his own family name began as "Logan" and that the Logan clan was "one of the weakest clans in Scotland" (122), with the war-cry "The Ridge of Tears"; he adds that the only member of the Logan clan mentioned in the encyclopedia is "an Edinburgh Victorian who wrote a book on the sexual habits of savages," though he doesn't know "whether he left Scotland in order to do it" (123).
7.
Godard also suggests an alignment of Morag's fiction and Laurence's, but it is entirely different from mine: Spear of Innocence "re / presents" The Stone Angel by substituting an outsider or an "establishment" figure, Prospero's Child inverts the imperialist-colonialist struggle in This Side Jordan, "Jonah foregrounds the watery descent and rebirth images found in A Jest of God," the here and now of Presences is contrasted to the "future orientation" of The Tomorrow-Tamer, and the intermingling of history and fiction in Shadows of Eden repeats the concerns of The Diviners (41).

WORKS CITED

Atwood Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.

Bader Rudolf. "The Mirage of the Sceptr'd Isle: An Imagological Appraisal." Ariel 19.1 ( January 1988): 35-44.

Bailey Nancy. "Fiction and the New Androgyne: Problems and Possibilities in The Diviners." Atlantis 4.1. (Fall 1978): 10-17.

_____. "Margaret Laurence, Carl Jung and The Manawaka Women." Studies in Canadian Literature 2.2 (Summer 1977): 306-21.

Blewett David. "The Unity of The Manawaka Cycle." Margaret Laurence: An Appreciation. Ed. Christl Verduyn. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1988, 176- 92.

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