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FRIT Research Seminar
September 28 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
One event on September 28, 2022 at 4:00 pm
One event on October 26, 2022 at 4:00 pm
One event on November 30, 2022 at 4:00 pm
The FRIT Research Seminars are meant to share research in an informal setting, providing an opportunity for feedback, dialogue, and intellectual exchange.
September 28th Presentations
Leah Sandner, Toward a Hyperreal Society: Representations of the United States in Three Contemporary Canadian Novel
Abstract” The road novel is a narrative genre particular to North America. Taking the form of a travelogue, it depicts the narrator’s wanderings over the highways and byways of the United States. In French-speaking Canada, specifically, the transcontinental voyage of the road novel takes on a special meaning. Sometimes, it is motivated by the pursuit of a lost brother and transforms over time into a pursuit of the self: the narrator, faced with an unknown culture, is obliged to confront issues of cultural identity that have haunted francophone Canada since the colonial era. In Quebec, for instance, Jack Waterman’s journey in Jacques Poulin’s Volkswagen Blues (1984) is cited as frequently as Sal Paradise’s in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) with regards to their role in influencing the genre. Some lesser known authors of the genre, however, are women. Their stories are centered around a specific identity voyage that considers factors outside of their geocultural situation, such as their age and gender. This thesis analyzes the “road” novels of three Canadian authors, including Gabrielle Roy’s De quoi t’ennuies-tu, Éveline ? (1982), Marie-Claire Blais’ Soifs (1995), and Ann Charney’s Distantly Related to Freud (2008). We examine the reasons for making the journey to the United States, why this country has been chosen as a place of destination, and what the protagonists of these stories hope to find there. Curiously, what they all find upon arrival is a society dominated by forms of what French theorist Jean Baudrillard calls “hyperreality”; that is, a society overwhelmed by “models” of the real, or simulacra. These simulacra blur the lines between the real and the artificial, completely disorientating the traveler. Our thesis explores these hyperreal forms, their representation in the three narratives as being inherent to U.S. society, and, finally, their impact on the protagonists’ quest for identity.
Richard Goodkin, Readings from Mourning Light, a semi-autobiographical novel of love and loss
Abstract: Richard Goodkin will present issues related to composing Mourning Light, a novel based on his experience of losing his partner to AIDS in 1991, and will read passages from the text.