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Title: 'Sounds in the empty spaces of history' : re-placing Canadian and Scottish literatures
Author: Gittings, Christopher E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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Following Margaret Atwood's exhortation that 'the study of Canadian literature ought to be comparative' (Survival 17), and in response to what post-colonial theorists Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin have perceived as the surprising dearth of 'cross-cultural comparative studies' in Canadian literary criticism (The Empire Writes Back 36), this thesis engages in a study of Canadian and Scottish narratives from a cross-cultural perspective that foregrounds colonization, and both countries' responses to cultural imperialism. Canadian and Scottish writers wrestle with what Neil Gunn's Highland River refers to as the 'sounds in the empty spaces of history': the various and barely audible vibrations of narrative that are suppressed by the monolithic din of a hegemonic historiography (62). Starting with the Highland Clearances, a dynamic and intersecting moment for both Canadian and Scottish literatures, a continuing cross-cultural dialogue between Canada and Scotland is examined as this is inscribed in their literatures. Canada shares with Scotland not only the Gaelic and Lowland literary traditions she has embraced and adapted through Scottish emigration, but also the decolonizing response both have developed to American and English cultural incursions into their respective countries. The paradoxical role the Scot and the Canadian descendant of white European settler culture play as both an agent and victim of British imperialism--the colonizer and the colonized--is discussed with reference to the work of Neil Gunn, Alistair MacLeod, Alice Munro, Naomi Mitchison, Margaret Laurence, Alasdair Gray, Susan Swan, Margaret Atwood and Sheila Watson. The thesis examines how the discursive strategies of irony, parody, metafiction and allegory feed into Canadian and Scottish writing as ways of circumventing and subverting hierarchical patterns of writing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available