Carving the names of "not-persons" : ex-centric perspectives on community in Jane Urquhart's The stone carvers

Source document: The Central European journal of Canadian studies. 2004, vol. 3, iss. [1], pp. [65]-74
  • ISSN
    1213-7715 (print)
    2336-4556 (online)
License: Not specified license
The paper addresses the issue of community in Jane Urquhart's latest novel, The Stone Carvers (2001), which juxtaposes two temporal planes: one depicts the construction of the small community of Shoneval in Ontario in the nineteenth century, while the second one shows the crisis of community from the perspective of ex-centric protagonists before, during and after the First World War. The term community is used to refer to various forms of group-identity: family, local society, nation. The analysis focuses mostly on Urquhart'a interrogation of the Canadian myth of World War 1: the author's deconstruction of the artificial national unity at the beginning of the conflict, the questioning of the official memory of glory and noble sacrifice (connected with the Battle of Vimy Ridge in particular) and her ambiguous attitude to the construction of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The paper concludes with broader reflections on the concept of community in Jane Urquhart's writings, and its significance in the Canadian context as well as in the Central European region.
Cet article est une étude du concept de la communauté dans le demier roman de Jane Urquhart, The Stone Carvers (2001), qui juxtapose deux espaces temporels : la construction de la communauté de Shoneval au XIXème siècle et la erise de la communauté au cours de trois premières décennies du XXème siécle. Le terme communauté renvoie aux différentes formes d'appartenance identitaire : la famille, la société locale, la nation. L'analyse se concentre surtout sur la deconstruction du mythe canadien de la Première Guerre Mondiale présentée par Urquhart dans son roman: son interrogation de l'unité nationale et de la mémoire officielle de la bataille de la crête de Vimy ainsi que son attitude ambivalente envers la construction du monument commémoratif du Canada à Vimy. L'article finit avec quelques réflexions critiques sur le concept de la communauté dans l'oeuvre de Urquhart et son importance dans un contexte plus large, celui du Canada et de l'Europe Centrale.
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