A groundbreaking comparison of scientific, popular, and literary approaches to provoke new stories of dementia. Finalist for the 2018 Gabrielle Roy Prize.
Since the 1860s, long before scientists put a name to Alzheimer’s disease, Canadian authors have been writing about age-related dementia. Originally, most of these stories were elegies, designed to offer readers consolation. Over time they evolved into narratives of gothic horror in which the illness is presented not as a normal consequence of aging but as an apocalyptic transformation.
Weaving together scientific, cultural, and aesthetic depictions of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Forgotten asserts that the only crisis associated with Canada’s aging population is one of misunderstanding. Revealing that turning illness into something monstrous can have dangerous consequences, Marlene Goldman seeks to identify the political and social influences that have led to the gothic disease model and its effects on society. Examining the works of authors such as Alice Munro, Michael Ignatieff, Jane Rule, and Caroline Adderson alongside news stories and medical and historical discussions of Alzheimer’s disease, Goldman provides an alternative, person-centred perspective to the experiences of aging and age-related dementia.
Deconstructing the myths that have transformed cognitive decline into a corrosive fantasy, Forgotten establishes the pivotal role that fictional and non-fictional narratives play in cultural interpretations of disease.
An exploration into the darker aspects of contemporary Canadian fiction.
Much of Canada’s contemporary fiction displays an eerie fascination with the supernatural. In DisPossession, Marlene Goldman investigates the links between spectral motifs and the social and historical influences that have shaped Canada.
Incorporating both psychoanalytic and non-traditional methods of literary analysis, Goldman explores the ways in which spectral fictions are an expression of definitive Canadian experiences such as the clashes between invading settler and indigenous populations, the losses incurred by immigration and diaspora, and the alienation of the female body. In so doing, Goldman unearths some of the “ghosts”of Canadian society itself – old tensions and injustices that continue to haunt ethnic and gender relations.
An important contribution to the discussion of the challenges posed by the Gothic to dominant literary, political, and social narratives, DisPossession asserts that Canadian spectral fictions have the power to alter accepted versions of Canadian history by invoking and troubling the process of generating collective memories.
Subversion of the apocalyptic genre in the fiction of Timothy Findlay, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Thomas King, and Joy Kogawa.
Traditional apocalyptic narratives highlight the drama of a chosen elect. Contemporary Canadian fiction, however, typically portrays the apocalypse from the perspective of marginalized individuals barred from Paradise, creating a distinctly anti-apocalyptic discourse. Marlene Goldman traces the history of the apocalyptic literary tradition and its key motifs in close readings of Canadian works that challenge rather than embrace apocalypse’s key features.
Rewriting Apocalypse in Contemporary Canadian Fiction is the first book to explore the literary, psychological, political, and cultural repercussions of the apocalypse in the fiction of Timothy Finley, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Thomas King, and Joy Kogawa. While writers from diverse nations have adopted and adapted the biblical narrative, these Canadian authors introduce particular twists to the familiar myth of the end. Goldman demonstrates that they share a marked concern with purgation of the non-elect, the loss experienced by the non-elect, and the traumatic impact of apocalyptic violence. She also analyzes Canadian apocalyptic accounts as crisis literature written in the context of the Cold War – written against the fear of total destruction.
Paths of Desire
Images of exploration and mapping in Canadian women’s writing
Marlene Goldman posits intriguing connections between the act of map-making, postmodern theory, and female identity in this study of the experimental works of five Canadian women writers: Intertidal Life by Audrey Thomas, The Biggest Modern Woman of the World by Susan Swan, Ana Historic by Daphne Marlatt, The Whirlpool by Jane Urquhart and the fictions of Aritha van Herk.