The evolution of Adele Wiseman's creative vision.

Title: The evolution of Adele Wiseman's creative vision.
Authors: Laurin, Anne Marie.
Date: 1997
Abstract: The Canadian literary canon contains few writers of such diversity as Adele Wiseman. Although she is chiefly remembered for her two novels, her canon extends well beyond the fiction for which she is chiefly remembered. In fact, Wiseman was a skilled practitioner of numerous genres including drama, the essay, the short story, and the memoir. To discern the creative vision underlying Wiseman's oeuvre, this thesis devotes one chapter to each of her major works: The Sacrifice (ch. 1); The Lovebound (ch. 2); Crackpot (ch. 3); Testimonial Dinner (ch. 4); Old Woman at Play (ch. 5); and Memoirs of a Book Molesting Childhood and Other Essays and "Goon of the Moon and the Expendables" (ch. 6). While existing criticism of Wiseman's writing generally concentrates on single dimensions of her personhood (i.e. faith, gender, nationality), this thesis suggests that a more valid analysis of Wiseman's oeuvre would acknowledge its hybridity. The diversity apparent in Wiseman's canon should be seen as a reflection of her triply marginalized subject position as a Jewish Canadian female writer. As such, the thesis draws on feminist theory, post-colonial theory and Jewish hermeneutics to elucidate Wiseman's creative vision. By combining these three theoretical perspectives, one can ascertain how Wiseman's faith, gender and nationality intersected to create the unique canon she left behind. Because Wiseman was such an astute critic of her own work, this thesis relies heavily upon her own statements about her craft. The Adele Wiseman Fonds at the W. B. Scott Library, York University was an invaluable source for such information. Of particular importance was Wiseman's thirty-year correspondence with Margaret Laurence, her best friend, and Malcolm Ross, her mentor. These letters provide readers with a rare opportunity to assess Wiseman's creative vision. They confirm that Wiseman's stylistic experimentation was an outgrowth of her peripheral status in mainstream society. Her need to question and reevaluate existing literary conventions reflected her belief that such conventions were restrictive and exclusionary. Despite the heterogeneity apparent in Wiseman's work, it is nonetheless united by a single underlying vision: Wiseman writes in order to teach people how to live--particularly in communion with others. All of her writing radiates immense compassion for human beings, but especially the dispossessed. Her writing is a plea to reject hierarchical structures in society--structures which divide people into "haves" and "have-nots." She presents readers with an alternative, salutary vision of a world where such divisions are obliterated in favour of heterogeneity and an accompanying awareness of each individual's unique contribution to the whole.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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