Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Joan Coldwell
Although the fiction written by women in English-Canada since the 1960's has experimented widely with literary form, a remarkably consistent set of literary archetypes of masculinity emerges from their work. I have named the three particularly vivid and pervasive images of men en which I focus, the Hunter, the Adult Adolescent, and the Wounded Warlock. My project is essentially a sketching out of these beings, a contouring of their recurring literary reality.
Toril Moi rightly criticizes the project of evaluating literary images of women in terms of their true or false relation to 'real life' as one that "resolutely refuses to consider textual production as a highly complex, 'overdetermined' process with many different and conflicting literary and nonliterary determinants" (Moi 45). In looking at the images of men that dominate Canadian women's writing, I do not wish to claim that these images are 'true' or 'false', but simply that they exist in the literature.
My critical approach here is essentially one of description. My descriptions are original in that they are not applications of previously-defined archetypes of personality as in, for example, the work of Carl Jung. No description is, however, free of context, and in describing the images of men that emerge from this fiction, I draw repeatedly upon several feminist and philosophical texts for inspiration and clarification. Susan Griffin's exploration of the 'pornographic mind', Martin Buber's religious ontology of the "I-Thou", Jean-Paul Sartre's articulation of the meaning of the Look, and Christopher Lasch's discussion of narcissism, have been particularly useful.
Although my dissertation does not attempt to engage directly the large question of the relation of the artistic image to life, I do suggest indirectly, by drawing upon thinkers whose subject is not primarily literature, but indeed 'the real world', that the images of men I define have some connection with that real world. My conclusion briefly raises, therefore, some ethical as well as aesthetic questions about the implications of their existence.
Hornosty, Janina C., "Hunter, Adult Adolescent, and Wounded Warlock: Images of Men in English-Canadian Women's Fiction (1960-93)" (1994). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1773.