Canadian Review of American Studies

Canadian Review of American Studies

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Canadian Review of American Studies is published three times a year by the Canadian Association for American Studies with the support of Carleton University. Canadian Review of American Studies is the leading American Studies journal outside the United States and the only journal in Canada that deals with cross-border themes and their implications for multicultural societies. Published three times a year, the journal aims to further multi- and interdisciplinary analyses of the culture of the US and of social relations between the US and Canada. CRAS is a dynamic and innovative journal, providing unique perspectives and insights in an increasingly complex and intertwined world of extraordinarily difficult problems that continue to call for scholarly input.
It invites contributions from authors in, and outside, all relevant scholarly disciplines, in English and French. Canadian orders include membership in the Canadian Association for American Studies.

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E-ISSN: 1710-114X
ISSN: 0007-7720

Editor - Priscilla Walton

Priscilla L. Walton is Professor of English at Carleton University, and is also an Associate faculty member in Communication and Film Studies. She is the author of Our Cannibals, Ourselves: The Body Politic (Illinois, 2004), Patriarchal Desire and Victorian Discourse: A Lacanian Reading of Anthony Trollope's Palliser Novels (Toronto, 1995), and The Disruption of the Feminine in Henry James (Toronto, 1992). She is the co-author, along with Manina Jones, of Detective Agency: Women Rewriting the Hardboiled Tradition (California, 1999), and, along with Jennifer Andrews and Arnold E. Davidson, of Border Crossings: Thomas King's Cultural Inversions (Toronto, 2003). She co-edited Pop Can: Popular Culture in Canada (Prentice-Hall, 1999), and edited the Everyman Paperback edition of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady.

Editorial Address
Canadian Review of American Studies
Priscilla Walton
Department of English
Carleton University
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6
pwalton@connect.carelton.ca


Associate Editors
Bruce Tucker, History, University of Windsor
Michael Zeitlin, English, University of British Columbia

Review Editors

Jennifer Harris, English, Mount Alison University
Michael Dorland, Journalism and Communication, Carleton University


Editorial Board
Martha Banta, English, UCLA
William Boelhower, American Literature, University of Texas
Gert Buelens, English, Ghent University
Jill Conway, History, MIT
Thadious Davis, English, Brown University
Frances Early, History/Women's Studies, Mount St. Vincent University
Sherill Grace, University of British Columbia
Serge Guilbaut, Fine Art, University of British Columbia
Harry H. Hiller, Sociology, University of Calgary
Linda Hutcheon, English, University of Toronto
Michael Hutcheon, University Health Network, University of Toronto
Victor Konrad, Geography & Environmental Studies, Carleton University

Rob Kroes, American Studies, University of Amsterdam
Yves Laberge, School of Music, University of Ottawa
Linda Maram, Ethnic Studies, California State University at Long Beach
John S. Martin, English, University of Calgary
Michèle Mendelssohn, Oxford University
Stuart J. Murray, English, Carleton University
Jeanne Perreault, English, University of Calgary
Ernest Redekop, English, University of Western Ontario
Jean Edward Smith, Political Science, University of Toronto
David Thelen, History, Indiana University
Marcia Valiante, Law, University of Windsor
Mary Helen Washington, English, University of Maryland


Assistant Editor
Christopher Vanderwees
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Canadian Review of American Studies
Department of English, Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6
Email: cras@carleton.ca
Fax: (613) 234-4418

Canadian Review of American Studies Online offers a comprehensive resource for the best work being done in American Studies today. CRAS Online includes the complete archive of current and previously published articles - more than 1200 articles, reviews and commentaries - going back to 1970 (issue 1.1). Subscribers to CRAS Online enjoy:

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The Art of Percival Everett - Rewriting a Black American Narrative
43.2 Summer 2013

Percival Everett's work is important, brilliant, innovative, sometimes difficult, always different, and often ignored. He forces his reader to confront the inadequacy of the conventional label, "African American novelist," sometimes by not talking about race in his fiction at all. Fortunately, the lack of critical attention to his work is changing, if slowly, and this collection of essays intends to contribute to that change. The ten essays collected here attempt to take up some of the innumerable challenges presented by Everett's considerable body of work. The critics themselves demonstrate the breadth of interest this literary artist evokes, representing three nations and many more critical and theoretical approaches. While not an introduction to Everett's work, these essays will help those who don't know about his work to recognize how much of an oversight that really is. Editor: Anthony Stewart

Introduction: An Assembled Coterie
Anthony Stewart

ERASURE AND THE WATER CURE: WORKING THROUGH POSSIBILITIES Erasure and The Water Cure: A Possible Suture?
Marc Amfreville
This paper endeavours to find a guiding thread through two very different novels by Percival Everett: Erasure and The Water Cure. In spite of obvious differences in plots and subjects, they both, in fact, deal with memory, loss, and fiction writing. Moreover, they stage narrators who feed on their depression over the death or physical degradation of loved ones to promote the readers' reflection on creativity and the power of language. Thus, while resorting to the expression of trauma-related predicaments that engage the reader's empathy, they both proceed to question the very nature of representation, and bring about a recognition of the creative power of mourning. Starting with Erasure and more radically in The Water Cure, the very possibility of circumscribing the gaping wound inflicted by language, possibly through the lure of illegibility, constitutes the suture that both texts seem to pronounce impossible. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.010

Locating the Experimental Novel in Erasure and The Water Cure
Seth Morton
The article examines the way that the experimental evolves in Percival Everett's work, bringing into focus a dialectic in his fiction between play, the imaginative, and the fantastic, on the one hand, and mimesis, realism, and the everyday, on the other. It argues that the synthesis of this dialectic does not allow us to escape or transcend the scene of art but rather returns us, more forcefully, to the ground-zero tension that exists in the work of art itself. This tension, at the heart of all experimentation, is a generative space of self-reflexivity and meaning making that names the scene of art for what it is. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.011

Everett's Hypernarrator
Judith Roof
The narrators of Percival Everett's many novels have become hypernarrators, fronting a far more complex, systemic, multidimensional effect that reflects the growing complexity and paradigmatic shifts of narrative itself. Insofar as narrators are an effect of the narrative, the narrators of Everett's later novels such as Erasure, American Desert, and Glyph, point to a species of narrative that produces a rich, polyvalent resonance from the dissonances of simultaneity and multidirectionality. Many of Everett's novels explore the construction and dimensionality of the narrator in narratives that destabilize any possibility of linearity, continuity, predictable cause/effect relationships, or correlations of signification. These narrators simultaneously expose the means by which narrators are constructed in narrative and extend and amplify the possibilities of narrators no longer tied to the imaginary Newtonian coordinates of impersonation. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.012

Setting One's House in Order: Theoretical Blackness in Percival Everett's Fiction
Anthony Stewart
The article argues that Percival Everett's fiction is not fiction at all, or at least, not just fiction. It is more an attempt to hew out and work in spaces in between conventional literary categories in order not to provide answers but to provoke better questions that might be asked about his work and by extension the works of other writers as well. From here, it is not much of a leap to recognize that the lessons for reading produced by Everett's texts translate easily into lessons for reading other, perhaps more problematic and conventionalized signifiers, like the notion of the "African American novelist" or, for that matter, any person who is not "like me," whoever that "me" might happen to be. In other words, Everett's novels occupy and draw our attention to the spaces in between conventional notions of literary fiction and equally conventional notions of literary theory. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.013

HE WRITES WESTERNS, TOO
Trout Fishing and Red Herring: The Meaning of Going Wild in Percival Everett's Damned If I Do
Frédéric Dumas
The article explores the complex notion of wildness that characterizes the twelve stories of Percival Everett's Damned If I Do and examines the palindromic nature of meaning that sheds light on the coherence of the collection. Everett's stories belong to a literary tradition, dating back to the nineteenth century, that celebrates life in an almost Edenic Western landscape. The violence, the humour, and the flights of creative fancy that characterize Damned If I Do point to an understanding of the wilderness that informs both the diegetic world and the textual nature of that world. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.014

The Real and the Unreal, or the Endogenous and the Exogenous: The Case of Walk Me to the Distance and Wounded
Claude Julien
The article brings together two novels that were published twenty years apart: Percival Everett's Walk Me to the Distance and Wounded. Although, of course, the two stories are marked by the different social concerns of their different periods, there is a clear thematic continuity that links them. Beyond each story's particular journey, each is haunted by violence under several guises. No story speaks its author's words or mind-set directly. Art is no didactic exercise. The article suggests, nevertheless, that fiction is a confrontation between endogenous forces (the author's own stand) and various exogenous forces, ways, and attitudes the author declines to share. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.015

Percival Everett's Grand Canyon Inc.: Self-Reliance Revisited
Sylvie Bauer
Grand Canyon Inc., by Percival Everett, enacts a simple farce of madness, in which the main character maims the landscape of the Grand Canyon, destroying what is essential in order to achieve a form of power. The transformation of the place into an amusement park entails a confusion between reality and its representation, where the former stems from the latter. The very notions of reality and meaning are thereby challenged when language is used to model reality. The article aims to show how meaning is distorted through a series of dislocations and how Percival Everett subtly questions the intellectual and moral heritage of America. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.016

BODY AND SOUL
Writing(Fat) Bodies: Grotesque Realism and the Carnivalesque in Percival Everett's Zulus
Keith B. Mitchell
Percival Everett's novel Zulus (1989) is a dark and deeply engrossing post-apocalyptic meditation on the ravages of war and its tyrannical effect on human communication, connections, and understanding. It is also a satire and a foray, both comic and deadly serious, into the grotesque realism of the tradition of Rabelais and Swift. The article examines aspects of grotesque realism and the carnivalesque through a Bakhtinian lens and explores Zulus in light of current theory concerning fat, embodiment, and what Mark Graham coins as lipoliteracy; that is, the way we "read" fat as conveying intelligible messages about bodies and food. Thus, the article embraces, yet moves beyond, standard readings of the grotesque body by exploring the materiality of the fat body as it is affected and as it affects societal standards of the corporeal. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.017

Frenzy, Practical Philosophy, and Fictive Jokes
Anne-Laure Tissut
Frenzy is a mythological fable suffused with such crucial philosophical issues as being, existence, time, and language. Through the narrative device of Vlepo, the trickster-servant to god Dionysos, who can read people's minds, reading and interpreting are offered as paradigms for an appropriate attitude to life, opening onto the world through the development of relations. The article aims at showing how the poetic fabric of this lyrical novel both illustrates and calls us to care for our surroundings as well as for words and language. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.018

Hire-a-Glyph: Hermetics and Hermeneutics in Percival Everett's Glyph
Michel Feith
Eighteen-month-old baby Ralph Townsend, the narrator-hero of Glyph, is one of the many trickster figures in Percival Everett's fiction. A child who refuses to speak, yet can read, write, and gloss the most difficult texts, Ralph is Glyph. And Glyph, Ralph's story, is itself a glyph to be interpreted. This article explores how, as an avatar of Hermes, inventor of (hiero)glyphs, Ralph is a self-referential figure of writing: both fictional character and the text itself. In fact, Glyph is composed of two levels: a literal, exoteric one-a screwball adventure story; and a pastiche of what has replaced the esoteric discourses of yore: postmodern Academese. The two levels comment on one another, uniting hermetics and hermeneutics in a complex game of mirrors. A novel about language and meaning, the parodic text appears to propose its own alternative theory of fiction, displacing deconstructionist aporia with a dynamic of meaning centred on language games and context. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.019
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Canadian Review of American Studies Online offers a comprehensive resource for the best work being done in American Studies today. CRAS Online includes the complete archive of current and previously published articles - more than 1200 articles, reviews and commentaries - going back to 1970 (issue 1.1).

The entire online archive is available for $750.00. Libraries retain perpetual access to the archive of this journal once purchased. If the library maintains a current subscription, there is no further fee. Otherwise, there is an annual fee of $50 to maintain the site. Discounts for multiple purchases and consortia are available.

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