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Land Sliding

Land Sliding: Imagining Space, Presence, and Power in Canadian Writing

Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Land Sliding
    Book Description:

    New discusses the ways in which Canadian writing, through images of land and space, expresses various assumptions about social values. In addition to wide range of literary texts, he also draws upon geography, the social sciences, and the visual arts.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7656-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Plates
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Sources and Permissions
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Land-Forms: An Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    The striking cover of the 1993 reprint ofNational Fictions, Graeme Turnerʼs analysis of film and narrative in Australia, shows a 1990 oil painting by Julia Ciccarone. The painting is calledBlanket. In the foreground, the upper torso of a man can be seen. He is lying on his back on a tessellated floor and, with both hands, is clutching at the plateau that occupies the visual background; he has apparently even grasped the edge of the land, and is sliding it towards him, pulling the landscape over him (and towards the observer), like a blanket. At least, thatʼs what...

  7. 1 Landing: Literature, Contact, and the Natural World
    (pp. 21-72)

    Conventional images illustrating the European arrival in North America usually depict a Renaissance courtier of some sort, in helmet and tights, or a sea captain, planting a flag on a deserted beach, with dense forest in the background. Why this image should have so long been accepted as realistic is not a mystery: it reflects the power relations in the society that concocted the image and so designed and perpetuated the social myths.¹ But the unreality of the image is easy to recognize. How representational, after all, are these configurations of nature and landscape – or, conversely, how artificial, how...

  8. 2 Land-Office: Literature, Property, and Power
    (pp. 73-115)

    The wordLand-Officeresonates with social implications. When people say theyʼre doing a ʻland-office business,ʼ it means theyʼre doing well: theyʼre a success. And the connection between metaphor and real estate is not inconsequential. For underlying much of Western culture is an explicit connection between culture and possession: the king and his castle, ʻCrown lands,ʼ ʻchurch lands,ʼ the family estate. With ʻlandmarkʼ decisions, the law establishes boundary lines; and privacy and status interconnect in the word ʻpropertyʼ itself (the word derives from the French for ʻoneʼs ownʼ). Money and property, in turn, are linked with cultural preeminence, and the acquisition...

  9. 3 Landed: Literature and Region
    (pp. 116-160)

    This chapter tries, broadly speaking, to differentiate between the metaphorsinsiderandoutsider, or between two kinds of relationship with centralized authority. ʻRegionʼ is a shorthand way of conceptualizing this distinction, for it raises questions about the political effects of centrality and marginalization; at the same time, it provides a way of discussing peopleʼs primary commitment to a local environment they call ʻhome,ʼ a place where they ʻbelong.ʼ* Sometimes this ʻlocaleʼ functions to differentiate a range of specific political attitudes from those espoused or expressed by the nation-state as a whole, or at least from the attitudes associated with the...

  10. 4 Landscape: Literature, Language, Space, and Site
    (pp. 161-216)

    In many respects the foregoing chapters, on literature in Canada, have only on the surface been about land. More fundamentally, they have been concerned with language. It is to this connection that chapter 4 now turns directly, acknowledging a paradox, a chaotic loop of cause and effect. Does language come before society, or society before language? And what effect does oneʼs answer to this question have on literary intent and literary form, cultural production and cultural consumption, social organization and social desire? Speech clearly shapes social perception and understanding, as do other codes of communication (visual, aural, and numerical signs,...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 217-230)
  12. Works Cited
    (pp. 231-258)
  13. Index
    (pp. 259-278)