Frederick Philip Grove's immigrantship and the theory of wonder

Source document: The Central European journal of Canadian studies. 2004, vol. 3, iss. [1], pp. [57]-64
Extent
[57]-64
  • ISSN
    1213-7715 (print)
    2336-4556 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
In his book Marvelous Possessions (1991), Stephen Greenblatt contends that "the central recurring feature in the early discourse of the New World" is "wonder". By his definition wonder is a conscious recognition of difference, and a reaction towards reality that appears beyond immediate understanding, and thus beyond ready-made conceptualization. One of the problems faced during the encounters with the Americas is thus a problem of language; the new space gradually develops an adequate language to refer to itself and to the new experience. Frederick Philip Grove's novel A Search for America (1927), usually read as a thinly veiled autobiography of an early immigrant experience, is one such attempt at the verbal conquest of the New World. This paper discusses Grove's contribution to Canadian "national literature" in view of its possible pertinence to Greenblatt's concept of wonder, the conscious recognition of which might be an indispensable step in the process of constructing the variety of private as well as public identities within the New World's reality.
Dans son livre Marvelous Possessions (1991), Stephen Greenblatt soutient que "c'est le "merveilleux" qui est au centre de la caractéristique du discours du Nouveau Monde." Selon sa définition, le merveilleux est une reconnaissance consciente de la difference, une reaction envers une réalité qui se situe en dehors de la compréhension immediate et ainsi en dehors de la conceptualisation toute faite. Aussi, l'un des problèmes auxquels on se heurte dans la rencontre des Amériques est celui du langage, avec le nouvel espace qui se crée un langage approprié pour s'auto-référencer et pour exprimer l'experience nouvelle. Le roman de Frederick Philip Grove A Search for America (1927), interprété avant tout comme une autobiographie à peine voilée d'une expérience immigrante, est une des tentatives de conquérir le Nouveau Monde par les mots. Cet article examine la contribution de Grove à la "littérature nationale" canadienne, en vue de la pertinence possible du concept du merveilleux de Greenblatt, dont la reconnaissance consciente pourrait représenter une démarche indispensable dans le processus de la construction d'une varieté d'identités privées et publiques au sein de la réalité du Nouveau Monde.
Document
References:
[1] Greenblatt, Stephen. Marvelous Possessions. The Wonder of the New World . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

[2] Grove, Frederick Philip. A Search for America . With a foreword by the author. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1927.

[3] Grove, Frederick Philip. A Search for America . With a afterword by the author. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1991.

[4] Knönagel Axel. " Grove's Search for Values in America ". Literaria Pragensia. Studies in Literature and Culture 4,7 (1994), 27-40.

[5] Toye, William, ed. The Concise Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

[6] Turner, Margaret. " Language and Silence in Richardson and Grove ". Future Indicative. Literary Theory and Canadian Literature. John Moss (ed.). Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1987, 185-194.