|e-mail Sara Jamieson||613-520-2600, x2431|
My research is focused on twentieth-century Canadian writing, including prose fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. My work on prose fiction examines representations of aging and old age in Canadian literature and culture. I am currently at work on a project that situates fiction of the 1970s amidst competing discourses of “mid-life,” both literary and popular, that were circulating during that period. This project foregrounds the age ideology implicit in literary genre by looking at texts that extend the Bildungsroman format into middle adulthood. It also analyzes the extent to which these texts reflect the popularization of developmental psychology and its theory of the “mid-life crisis” while at the same time contesting many of its assumptions. By asking how these fictional texts participate in a wider cultural dialogue about how “maturity” is constituted, this project contributes to an emerging critical commitment to theorizing age as one of the multiple forms of difference that animate Canadian literature and culture.
My research on Canadian poetry is currently focused on social and poetic mourning as related sites of contestation in Canadian Modernist self-definition during the first half of the twentieth century. I am working on a project that traces how Canadian critics often evoked the Victorian material culture of sentimental bereavement in order to characterize the perceived emotional excess of nineteenth-century poetry as something that needed to be firmly repudiated before Canadian literature could be considered truly modern. I read this use of funerary discourses to talk about literature as part of an attempt on the part of male critics to masculinize elegiac writing, an effort that often took the form of ridiculing the figure of the nineteenth-century woman—in-mourning and her proximity to the material culture of death. Exploring the question of how women poets can gain access to the elegiac in such a critical climate, I trace the ways in which their own engagement with the material culture of mourning complies with but also critiques the anti-sentimental, anti-feminine biases of Canadian modernism. By insisting on an overlap of Victorian and Modernist literary cultures that Modernist critics have attempted to deny, this project contributes to the critical task of challenging the gender politics that have defined the contours of the Canadian Modernist canon.
- Graduate Seminars Taught
- Recent Publications
ENGL 5803: Canadian Fiction
Soundless Grieving: Women Poets, Mourning, and Modernism in Canada (in revision)
"Beer in the batter,/ carrots in the cake': Food, Cooking and Gender in Lorna Crozier's Poetry." Lorna Crozier, Guernica Editions. Forthcoming from Guernica Editions.
"'It's still you': Aging and Identity in Atwood's Poetry." Margaret Atwood: The Open Eye. Ed. John Moss and Tobi Kozakewich. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2006. 269-77.
“Âyahkwêw Songs: AIDS and Mourning in Gregory Scofield’s ‘Urban Rez’ Poems.” Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews 57 (2005): 52-64.