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Here is queer : nationalisms and sexualities in contemporary Canadian literatures Dickinson, Peter 1996

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HERE IS QUEER: NATIONALISMS AND SEXUALITIES IN CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN LITERATURES by PETER D I C K I N S O N  B.A., The University of Toronto, 1990 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1993  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of English)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A December 1996 © Peter Dickinson, 1996  In  presenting this  degree at the  thesis in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  scholarly purposes may be her  representatives.  permission.  £AJ hsk.  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  gZ8  /?77~  for  an advanced  Library shall make it  agree that permission for extensive  It  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not  Department of  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  be allowed without my written  ii  Abstract This dissertation explores the relationship between the regulatory discourses of nationalism and sexuality as they operate in the cultural production and textual dissemination of contemporary Canadian literatures. A p p l y i n g recent studies in postcolonial and queer theory to a number of works by gay and lesbian authors written across a broad spectrum of years, political perspectives, and genres, I seek to formulate a critical methodology which allows me to situate these works within the trajectory of Canadian canon-formation from the 1940s to the present. In so doing, I argue that the historical construction of Canadian literature and Canadian literary criticism upon an apparent absence of national identity—us encapsulated most tellingly in the "Where is here?" of Frye's "Conclusion"—masks nothing so much as the presence of a subversive and destabilizing sexual identity—"queer." The dissertation is made up of eight chapters: the first opens with a Sedgwickian survey of the "homosocial" underpinnings of several foundational texts of Canadian literature, before providing an overview—via George Mosse, Benedict Anderson, and Michel Foucault—of the theoretical parameters of the dissertation as a whole. Chapter two focuses on three nationally "ambivalent" and sexually "dissident" fictions by Timothy Findley. A comparative analysis of the homophobic criticism accompanying the sexual/textual travels of Patrick Anderson and Scott Symons serves as the basis of chapter three. Chapter four discusses the allegorical function of homosexuality in the nationalist theatre of Michel Tremblay, Rene-Daniel Dubois, and Michel Marc Bouchard. Chapter five examines how national and sexual borderlines become permeable in the lesbianfeminist translation poetics of Nicole Brossard and Daphne Marlatt. Issues of performativity (the repetition and reception of various acts of identification) are brought to the fore in chapters six and seven, especially as they relate to the (dis)located politics of Dionne Brand, and the (re)imagined communities of Tomson H i g h w a y and Beth Brant, respectively. Finally, chapter eight revisits some of the vexed questions of identity raised throughout the dissertation by moving the discussion of nationalisms and sexualities into the classroom.  iii Table of Contents Page Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iii  List of Figures  iv  Acknowledgements  v  Chapter One: A (Not So) Polemical Introduction  1  A Syndrome without the Symptoms Sinclair Ross's "Queers" H o m o Porno From There to Queer Chapter Two: "Running Wilde": National Ambivalence and Sexual Dissidence in Timothy Findley's Fictions  9 19 26 36 56  Chapter Three: Critical Homophobia and Canadian Canon-Formation, 1943-1967: The "Haunted Journeys" of Patrick Anderson and Scott Symons  114  Chapter Four: "Pour exprimer u n probleme d'identite": Michel Tremblay and H i s "Bastard Sons"  168  Chapter Five: Toward a Transnational, Translational Feminist Poetics: Lesbian Fiction/Theory in Canada and Quebec  226  Chapter Six: "In another place, not here": Dionne Brand's Politics of (Dis)Location  270  Chapter Seven: Learning N e w Tricks: Re-Imag(in)ing Community i n the Two-Spirited Writing of Tomson Highway and Beth Brant  298  Chapter Eight: Nationalisms and Sexualities in the Classroom F(l)ag Waving, or, A Queerly Canadian Coda  327 338  Works Cited  344  iv List o f Figures Page Fig. 1. Rainbow flag  341  Fig. 2. Canadian flag  341  Fig. 3. U B C crest  341  Acknowledgements This dissertation was initially conceived during a directed reading course w i t h Margery Fee in 1993. Dr. Fee not only encouraged me to pursue the project, she also agreed to supervise it. I am extremely grateful to her for the enthusiasm, guidance, and critical stimulation she provided throughout the long haul of its completion. I also benefited immensely from the advice and support offered by the other members of my committee: Alec Globe and Sherrill Grace. Time and again Dr. Globe's careful reading and bibliographic sleuthing forced me to reconsider m y position or sent me off exploring in another direction altogether. Dr. Grace has been m y teacher, professional mentor, and friend ever since I came to U B C as an M . A . student in 1991. I have learned enormously from her scholarly example, and her repeated exhortations to "return to the text" have on more than one occasion pulled me back from the brink of overly arcane theorizing. Legions of students owe their degrees (and sanity) to Rosemary Leach, tireless Graduate Secretary in the Department of English at U B C . I know that I w o u l d never have reached this stage without her sharp eye for bureaucratic details, her patient reminders about deadlines, and her presence of m i n d during unforeseen snow storms. Countless others have contributed in manifold and material ways to the writing of this dissertation. A m o n g them are: Dennis Denisoff, M . M o r g a n Holmes, M a r n i Stanley, Marian Gracias, Gabriele Helms, Kathy C h u n g , Patrick Patterson and the entire staff at U B C ' s Interlibrary Loan office, Julie Beddoes, Karen Grandy and A n n e Bailey, Terry Goldie, Barbara Gabriel, George Piggford, and Robert K. Martin, whose pioneering work in gay criticism and theory remains a constant source of inspiration. For their help in tracking d o w n information on Patrick Anderson, I wish to thank W . H . N e w , Patrick Campbell, Patricia Whitney, and Orlando Gearing. I am especially indebted to Claire Wilkshire and Louise Ladouceur, both of w h o m took time out from their o w n theses to check m y comprehension of the French language and to discuss w i t h me feminist theories of translation. A special thank you to Beth Brant for answering my questions and for correcting m y spelling. Generous financial assistance was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Finally, this dissertation could not have been written without the intellectual and emotional support of Richard Cavell: it is dedicated to h i m in admiration and love.  Chapter One  A (Not So) Polemical Introduction  In the emerging narrative surrounding the canonization of Canadian literature—I am thinking, in particular, of the exchanges between Robert Lecker and Frank Davey, first in the pages of Critical Inquiry (1990), and, more recently, in Davey's Canadian Literary Power (1994) and Lecker's M a k i n g It Real (1995)—the discourse of (homo)sexuality, and its role (or non-role) in the formation and organization of a literary tradition in this country, is virtually non-existent. Instead, this narrative, especially as constructed by Lecker, has tended to focus on questions of "nationalism," "mimeticism," and some vaguely defined notion of "institutionality." It is only very recently that Davey has included "gay and lesbian writing" among those "Canadian literatures which evaded Lecker's [and, I w o u l d add, initially his own] notice" (Canadian Literary Power 76). A n d yet, as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick reminds us in the sixth "axiom" of the introduction to Epistemology of the Closet, the "master-canons" of national literatures, and the dominant curricula of Western academic institutions, are filled w i t h their o w n closets. When it comes to the sexuality—and more often than not the homosexuality—of "great" writers (Socrates, Shakespeare, Proust, to cite Sedgwick's examples), literary criticism tends to operate under a "Don't ask, don't tell" system of disclosure. I myself have never been good at keeping secrets. So allow me to let the cat out of the bag right away. In this dissertation I contend 1  2 that the identificatory absence upon which Canadian literary nationalism has long been constructed—the "where" of Northrop Frye's "here," for example—contains w i t h i n it an invisible sexual presence: "queer." A n important corollary to this claim is that if the discourse of nationalism has historically been gendered as patriarchal (a point I explore at greater length in chapter five), then it has also frequently been eroticized as homosocial. This is the "congruent" contradiction I attempt to bring out in subsequent sections of this introductory chapter, adapting the central thesis of Sedgwick's Between M e n to an analysis of the triangulation of male desire in several of this country's foundational literary texts. Samuel Hearne and Chief Matonabbee; Jackie Denham and Tay John; George Stewart and Jerome Martell; Captains Vancouver and Quadra: Canadian literature is riddled with male couples who enact their love for each other—and their nation—by staking an indigenous claim to a necessarily feminized region or landscape. M y o w n national narrative of Canadian homosociality I have divided into three sections, each corresponding w i t h a specific literary-historical period (colonial, modern, postmodern), each announced by appropriate intertitles. I have deliberately sacrificed comprehensiveness in favour of focused attention on specific key texts. These texts (including John Richardson's Wacousta, Sinclair Ross's A s For M e and M y House, Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers, and Hubert A q u i n ' s Trou de memoire) have been chosen as much for my o w n (and others') critical attachment to them as for their exemplary canonicity—and homosociality. In the final section of this introduction, "From There to Queer," I move outward from this concentrated reading of a  3 contained literary system to a broader discussion of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks animating my use of the discourses of nationalism and sexuality throughout the dissertation as a whole. Although related terms, "homosocial" and "homosexual" should not be conflated. A s Robert K. Martin has put it, in his introduction to a recent Lesbian and Gay Studies special issue of English Studies in Canada, "there are no gay men (let alone lesbians) in Between M e n " (126). One could potentially say the same thing about the opening chapter of this dissertation; as such, the ensuing chapters constitute an attempt on m y part to come to grips w i t h this paradox. In them I seek to transform what I have so far been calling the invisible presence of queerness in Canadian literature into a more manifest or embodied presence. A s a signifying system, the Canadian literary canon seems to have no trouble incorporating homosexuality into its rarefied textual precincts, so long, that is, as it functions primarily as a means of re-eroticizing readers' fundamentally heterosexual love for their country. But what happens when (homo)sexual dissidence is used to signal a somewhat more ambivalent attachment to the idea of nationhood? This is the question taken up in chapter two, which deals w i t h three important fictions by Timothy Findley: The Wars, Famous Last Words, and N o t Wanted on the Voyage. H a v i n g said this, however, I must point out that chapter two actually opens w i t h a brief digression on Oscar Wilde. A s Sedgwick notes in "Nationalisms and Sexualities in the Age of Wilde," the nineteenthcentury writer's "hyper-indicativeness as a figure of his age" made h i m uncannily susceptible (and responsive) to "mutual representations of emerging national and  4 sexual claims" (243): an Irishman whose literary apotheosis in the (m)other country coincided w i t h a public trial for "gross indecency," which resulted in his imprisonment and eventual exile to France. Extending Sedgwick's arguments spatially and intertextually, along a "geography" of "male homosocial desire," I highlight Wilde's unique connection w i t h the literary history of Canada, and, i n particular, the ambivalent/dissident fictions of Findley. In employing the terms "ambivalence" and "dissidence" in this chapter, I am alluding, most directly, to the work of H o m i Bhabha and Jonathan Dollimore. Building on their respective theories of the "iterative temporality" of the nation-space and the "transgressive agency" of sexual perversion, I want to suggest that the interplay between national ambivalence and sexual dissidence within Findley's novels displaces ideas of fixed meaning—especially regarding the commodification/conflation of identities—and frequently produces wild(e)ly divergent readings of his work. A s a writer of a certain gender, race, class, and age, Findley enjoys a rather privileged position in Canadian letters, a position that, until recently, he has been loath to complicate w i t h any overt political statements regarding his sexuality. To the extent that chapter two charts my o w n personal response to this tension i n Findley's life and work, as well as my evolution as a gay reader and critic, I have chosen to place it ahead of m y next chapter, which actually documents an earlier period i n Canadian literary history, and which even, to a certain extent, contextualizes Findley's sexual/textual anxieties. Beginning w i t h an analysis of the publication, in 1943, of A . J . M . Smith's The Book of Canadian Poetry, and culminating w i t h a re-examination of 1967's centennial celebrations, chapter three  5 analyzes two writers—Patrick Anderson and Scott Symons—caught up in the intensely nationalist fervour accompanying these two decades of Canadian canonformation. Both writers were the victims of blatantly homophobic criticism, w h i c h resulted not only in the pillorying of their work in print, but also, more dramatically, in their eventual self-imposed exiles from Canada. By focusing on Anderson and Symons, I demonstrate that at the same time as the modern (and postmodern) Canadian literary canon was being put together, the discourses of nationalism and sexuality were repeatedly yoked together by critics in order to exclude certain writers from this aggressively masculinist and heterosexual "tradition." Moreover, I argue that a thorough reassessment of their texts, especially in light of current postcolonial and gender theories of travel writing, implicitly critiques this very process, deconstructing the inside(r)/outside(r) binary of national, sexual, and therefore cultural, authenticity. Chapter four shifts the focus from English Canada to French Canada, in particular the Montreal theatre scene of the past two decades. After setting the stage w i t h M i c h e l Tremblay's Hosanna, I move on to a discussion of Rene-Daniel Dubois's Being at home w i t h Claude, and Michel Marc Bouchard's Les Feluettes, assessing the extent to which homosexuality, as represented i n these plays, has been tied, allegorically or otherwise, to questions of Quebec nationalism (whether it be the Duplessism of the 1940s and 1950s or the separatist struggles of the 60s and 70s). If there is indeed a link to be made it is a profoundly paradoxical one: on the one hand, oppression of homosexuals can be seen to be emblematic of the (intra)national oppression of Quebec society by the rest of Anglo-Canada; on the  6 other hand, there are other processes of colonization at work in the "homosexual panic" which frequently accompanies Quebec's anti-colonial/nationalist rhetoric (see Schwartzwald on A q u i n , below). Rather than restrict m y analysis to a close reading of the written texts, I w i l l be concentrating, as much as possible, on specific productions, as well as their critical reception, particularly in English Canada, where "the vicissitudes of reviewing theatre for the daily press" and the "differences between Quebecois and English-Canadian theatrical practice" often seem "to mitigate [sic] against . . . the development of a positive tradition of intercultural production" (Wallace, Producing Marginality 230). Of course, this implicitly raises the whole issue of translation within and between the Canadian literatures, which, as Richard Cavell has recently demonstrated, in turn raises issues "of originality and of nationhood" and "the movement of empire" ('"Comparative Canadian Literature'" 10). In chapter five I examine certain "translation effects" produced b y / w i t h i n lesbian-feminist fiction/theory, a "virtual" space of writing in Canada and Quebec that exceeds the distinction signalled in its "barrier/slash" (Mezei, qtd. in G o d a r d , "Fiction/Theory" 4), a (re)reading and (re)writing i n / o f the feminine that positions language and representation, genre and gender, not in absolute opposition, but in "differential relation" (see Tostevin, "Contamination"). The essentially collaborative nature of fiction/theory—fostered within collectively edited journals by a community of feminist writers and academics who translate, interpret and "co-create" each other's work—impacts significantly on the concept of a "singular" (i.e. "the peopleas-one") Canadian nation; it also thoroughly destabilizes the patriarchal-  7 homosocial underpinnings of the Canadian literary system as it gets discussed here in chapter one. The translation of lesbian desire "through the body," along a direct axis or passageway between women, renders obsolete the need for triangular mediation. A s Terry Castle has recently argued in another context, "To theorize about female-female desire . . . is precisely to envision the taking apart of this supposedly intractable patriarchal structure" (72); at the very least, it is to envision the translation of this male structure into an explicitly female homosocial configuration (see note 4, below). I focus primarily on the work of Nicole Brossard and Daphne Marlatt in this chapter, basing this somewhat arbitrary decision on their respective affiliations w i t h L a (Nouvelle) Barre d u jour and Tessera, on their poetic collaborations /translations (most notably in M a u v e and Character/Teu de lettres), and on the fact that they have both written texts (Le Desert mauve and A n a Historic) which explore the "effects of translation": "from one novel to another, from one 'language' to another, and of course from one w o m a n to another" (Gould 98). Just as gender disrupts the all-too-frequent binary opposition between nationalism and sexuality in Canadian literature, so do race and ethnicity contribute to a net accretion in criss-crossed equations of identity. The poetry of Dionne Brand, for example, is more often classified by critics as "West Indian" than "Canadian," despite the fact that she "has lived here all [her] adult life" (Brand, Chronicles 70). Moreover, these same critics frequently erase Brand's lesbianism, at the same time as they ignore her substantial contributions as a short story writer, documentary filmmaker, academic, scholar, archivist, and cultural  8 activist. In chapter six I apply recent feminist and postcolonial accounts of the "politics of location" (by, among others, Adrienne Rich, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Caren Kaplan, and Michele Wallace) to the multiple and diasporic dislocations inscribed within Brand's texts, showing how "[h]er cross-cultural position as poet [and filmmaker, and activist], as well as the boundary-crossing subjects she chooses to address, question the systemic pressures that shape and mis-shape our subjectivities as people defined through categories such as gender, ethnicity, class, or nation" (Brydon, "Reading" 86).  I conclude this chapter by  adapting the speech act theory which implicitly informs Bhabha's "DissemiNation" and Judith Butler's Gender Trouble to an analysis of Brand's N o Language is Neutral, focussing on the degree to which this text "locates" minority utterance in (performative) opposition to hegemonic nationalist and patriarchal discourses. The challenge to Canadian literary nationalism is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the work of contemporary First Nations writers. The term "First Nations" itself—in daring to posit prior origins, nationalities, and pluralisms—thoroughly destabilizes the bi-cultural model of Canadian literature at the same time that it raises problematic questions of ab-originality and cultural authenticity: where, for example, do we situate Two-Spirited writers like Tomson H i g h w a y and Beth Brant within such a catch-all locution? A d a p t i n g the First W o r l d / T h i r d W o r l d opposition inherent in postcolonial theories of "hybridity," and the First World-Second W o r l d specificity of queer theories of "homosociality," to the so-called Fourth W o r l d , in chapter seven I examine h o w H i g h w a y ' s plays and Brant's short stories re-imagine conventional notions of Indigenous  9  community. Close attention is paid to the performative role of the Nanabush/Trickster figure—both as a sign of self-definition and cultural alterity—in the writing of H i g h w a y and Brant. A s a trope employed counter-discursively in order to capture limited/liminal space within white textual production, Nanabush/Trickster usually inhabits a site of profound gender ambiguity. A n d , in the case of Two-Spirited writers like Highway and Brant, profound sexual ambiguity. In m y concluding chapter I return, via current theoretical debates surrounding "performativity," to some of the methodological questions raised in the later sections of this introduction, and, in particular, to the apparent "legitimation crises" affecting postcolonial and queer studies, in general, within the academy today. H o w , for example, does one foster "queer nationality" in the diasporic spaces of the classroom? Should one even attempt such a strategy? The focus here is on pedagogy, relating the theoretical discussions outlined in chapters two through seven to the practical negotiations between hyphenated categories of cultural difference and the material crossings of borders (national, social, sexual and literary) faced by teachers and student-readers of these texts. Let us begin, then, with an object-lesson in geometry . . .  A Syndrome without the Symptoms  Between Sir Everard Valletort and Charles de Haldimar, who, it has already been remarked, were lieutenants in Captain Blessington's  10 company, a sentiment of friendship had been suffered to spring up almost from the moment of Sir Everard's joining. (John Richardson, Wacousta 79)  In Between M e n : English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, Sedgwick claims that "[t]o draw the 'homosocial' back into the orbit of desire, of the potentially erotic, . . . is to hypothesize the potential unbrokenness of a continuum between homosocial and homosexual. . . . 'Male homosocial desire' is the name this book w i l l give to the entire continuum" (1-2). Sedgwick goes on to situate this continuum "within the structural context of triangular, heterosexual desire" (16). D r a w i n g u p o n Rene Girard's schematization of erotic triangles in the male-centred novelistic tradition of Europe, Freud's psychoanalytical formulation of the Oedipal triangle, and Gayle Rubin's feminist critique of Claude Levi-Strauss, she outlines a basic paradigm of "male traffic in women," whereby active male homosocial desire is refracted/triangulated "asymmetrically" through the passive positioning of women as displaced objects of nominal/patrimonial heterosexual desire (see ch. 1, 21-27). It is worth emphasizing here that what many have come to regard as the foundational text of contemporary gay studies was written primarily from a feminist theoretical position, one that sought to situate homosociality and the "exchange of women" within the larger context of patriarchy. For Sedgwick, the erotic bonds established between men are not automatically subversive or counterhegemonic; more often than not they signal a certain "structural congruence." A s  11 she puts it, "in any male-dominated society, there is a special relationship between male homosocial (including homosexual) desire and the structures for maintaining and transmitting patriarchal power" (Between 25). A n d yet, despite this caveat, Sedgwick has recently come under attack by lesbian-feminist critics like Teresa De Lauretis (in "Film and the Visible") and Terry Castle (in The Apparitional Lesbian) for the narrowness of her focus on male homosocial desire. For her part, while she acknowledges the existence of a continuum of '"women loving w o m e n ' and 'women promoting the interests of women'" (3)—a continuum first theorized by Carroll Smith-Rosenberg in "The Female W o r l d of Love and Ritual" (1975), later popularized by Adrienne Rich in "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" (1980), and further extended by Lillian Faderman in Surpassing the Love of M e n (1981)—Sedgwick nevertheless prefers to focus on the more dichotomous opposition between the "homosocial" and the "homosexual" in malemale bonds, arguing that it provides a better opportunity "to explore the ways in which the shapes of sexuality, and what counts as sexuality, both depend on and affect historical power relationships" (2). A n d , I w o u l d add (as per the dictates of patriarchal culture), so too w i t h nationality. Moreover, just as there are important gender differences i n the continuum(s) of homosocial desire, so are those continuums subject to the national and political contingencies of race and class. While m y o w n focus in these introductory pages remains, for the most part, strategically oriented towards the occlusions of homosocial desire within canonical texts by white men in this country, I am nevertheless sensitive to the exclusions of  12 gender, race, and class which these texts also perform, exclusions which, as I have outlined above, subsequent chapters attempt to address, if not remedy. For the moment, however, it w o u l d seem inevitable that m y Sedgwickian analysis of Canadian literature should begin with Major John Richardson's Wacousta (1832), a "foundational" text in its o w n right, one filled w i t h all manner of erotic triangles, male-male attachments, and transgressive crossings ("female" to "male," "white" to "native," "human" to "animal"). In The Wacousta Syndrome, Gaile McGregor locates Richardson's text at the origins of a trend in Canadian literary history which posits a negative response to "nature" and the binary opposition between "wilderness" and "civilization" as the defining characteristics of "the Canadian sense of self" and "the conceptual underpinnings of the Canadian imagination" as a whole (412). However, I w o u l d like to suggest an alternative reading of Wacousta, one which thoroughly disrupts and destabilizes the nationalist paradigm invoked by McGregor, one which interprets the pervasive undercurrent of male homosocial desire in the text as "symptomatic" of a completely different "syndrome" in Canadian literature, where readerly/writerly panic is induced as much by a terror of the unknown nature of same-sex and mixed-race attachments as it is by the unknowable in nature itself. Central to McGregor's argument is the cross-border connection between Richardson and his American literary counterpart, James Fenimore Cooper, both of w h o m styled their North American "wilderness romances" on the European conventions of the genre established by Sir Walter Scott. I certainly do not discount the influence of Cooper's novels on Wacousta; in m y m i n d , however, it  13 is Scott to w h o m Richardson owes his greatest authorial debt. Indeed, Richardson's recourse to a Jacobite Scotland reminiscent of Scott's Waverley novels as the originary setting for his o w n tale of competing nationalisms (British, French, and Indigenous) not only provides h i m w i t h the appropriate background of political confrontation against which to construct his account of the Pontiac uprising, but also w i t h a textbook example of Sedgwick's (homo)erotic triangle. A n d yet, while the romantic rivalry between Colonel de Haldimar, Clara Beverley, and Reginald Morton/Wacousta, initiated in the O l d W o r l d , fuels the text's revenge plot, it is the triangulation of desire between Sir Everard Valletort, Clara de Haldimar, and Charles de Haldimar, all unfortunate victims of this revenge plot i n the N e w W o r l d , which is more clearly homosocial. That Richardson takes the time to establish the deep friendship between Valletort, "a young lieutenant of the —regiment, recently arrived from England" (20), and Charles de Haldimar, "the youngest son of the governor" (21), amidst the chaos of the first chapter is, I think, significant. The two men are presented as character types "straight" out of a novel of sensibility: they are men of feeling and sentiment. They are also rather effete. In chapter one, for example, we are told that Valletort possesses a "dandyism and effeminacy of manner" and that Charles speaks "in accents of almost feminine sweetness" (21). A little later on, in comparing h i m w i t h his brother, Frederick, the narrator notes that Charles was particularly esteemed "for those retiring, m i l d , winning manners, and gentle affections, added to extreme and almost feminine beauty of countenance for w h i c h he was remarkable" (44). A s for Valletort's fighting prowess, the narrator  14 discloses that while "he concealed a brave, generous, w a r m and manly heart," he was also somewhat of a '"feather-bed soldier'" (79, 80). The exact extent and nature of the bond between the two men is revealed in chapter six. Here we learn that Valletort counts among his "secret" pleasures not only "his growing friendship for the amiable and gentle Charles de Haldimar," but also a "scarcely to himself acknowledged" interest in Charles's sister, Clara, "whom he only knew from the glowing descriptions of his friend, and the strong resemblance she was said to bear to h i m by the other officers" (80). The fact that Valletort falls in love w i t h Clara while listening to Charles's "eloquent praises" of her, and that brother and sister are virtual "counterparts]" "in personal attraction as in singleness of nature" (81), has striking resonances w i t h Sedgwick's thesis of the triangulation of male homosocial desire. Consider, in this regard, the following passage: Never had Charles de Haldimar appeared so eminently handsome; and yet his beauty resembled that of a frail and delicate w o m a n rather than that of one called to the manly and arduous profession of a soldier. The large, blue, long dark-lashed eye, in which a shade of languor harmonized w i t h the soft but animated expression of the whole countenance—the dimpled mouth—the small, clear, and even teeth—all these now characterized Charles de Haldimar; and if to these we add a rich voice, full and melodious, and a smile sweet and fascinating, we shall be at no loss to account for the readiness w i t h  15 which Sir Everard suffered his imagination to draw on the brother for those attributes he ascribed to the sister. (87) For her part, Clara has not even appeared in the text yet. A n d when she does (in chapter 19) she concedes, in response to her cousin Madeline's teasing questions, that '"I have never seen this friend of my brother. . . . I am disposed to like h i m , certainly, for the mere reason that Charles does, but this is all'" (245-46). Ironically, no sooner are Clara and Valletort united on board the schooner bound for Fort Detroit then they are promptly whisked away by the vengeance-seeking Wacousta, precipitating the litter of corpses at the end of the novel. It is important to note that Charles, Clara, and Valletort all eventually join this litter. The triangulation of desire, interrupted in the O l d W o r l d , cannot be allowed to flourish again in the N e w W o r l d , especially if the nature of that desire is sexually suspect. The sentimental romance of Scott's novels becomes "inverted" gothicism i n Richardson's Wacousta, or, as the highly omniscient narrator announces in chapter 28, "sad real[ism]":  2  To such of our readers as, deceived by the romantic nature of the attachment stated to have been originally entertained by Sir Everard Valletort for the unseen sister of his friend, have been led to expect a tale abounding in manifestations of its progress when the parties had actually met, we at once announce disappointment. Neither the lover of amorous adventures nor the admirer of witty dialogue, should dive into these passages. . . . [0]ur heroes and heroines figure  16 under circumstances that w o u l d render wit a satire upon the understanding, and love a reflection upon the heart. (362) The "bounds of probability" (362) to which Richardson has confined his text ensure that "virtue" w i l l not be allowed to triumph amid a chaotic wilderness setting where national, social, and sexual conventions have not yet been stabilized. In this sense, the re-establishment of domestic harmony supposedly enacted in the closing tableau of "Captain [Frederick] and Miss [Madeline] De Haldimar, Francois the Canadian, and the devoted Oucanasta" (431) is undermined by the novel's final line: "As for poor Ellen Halloway, search has been made for her, but she never was heard of afterwards" (434). Ellen, i n her transgression of both gender and racial boundaries (she masquerades as a drummerboy in order to witness the mistaken execution of her "first" husband, Frank Halloway, and later "goes native" for her "second" husband, Wacousta), in "her movement 'beyond the pale' of the European fortress into the space of 'savagery,'" remains an "unassimilatable" figure of otherness within the "garrison mentality" of a fledgling N e w W o r l d nation (Jones, "Beyond" 51, 49). A s such, her ghost haunts not just Richardson's text, but arguably all of English-Canadian literature. A s a symbol of "exchange" in both patriarchal and colonial economies of power, Ellen may be located at the nexus of homosociality and "indigenization," two overlapping discourses which together set in motion a double literary paradigm of sexual displacement and national authentification, and which achieve something of a contemporary apotheosis i n Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers, where, as we shall see, Ellen resurfaces as Edith.  17 I w o u l d like to conclude this section by briefly contrasting Richardson's paradigmatic text of Canadian homosociality, written in the nineteenth century, w i t h an early twentieth-century example of the genre, namely Martin Allerdale Grainger's Woodsmen of the West (1908). Like Wacousta, Grainger's text shares a fascination w i t h the challenges of a national "frontier" landscape, and delights i n recounting the particular rituals of an all-male environment, in this case a British Columbian logging camp rather than a military base. Unlike Wacousta, however, Woodsmen is less a "novel" per se than a sequence of dramatized personal observations (the text was apparently reconstructed from letters Grainger wrote to his future wife). To this end, the "story" is told in the first person, w i t h the "narrator" even retaining the author's name and, presumably, identity. Casting aside the romantic conventions of Richardson's Wacousta, Grainger created in Woodsmen one of the first and best examples of early-Canadian literary realism. Moreover, Grainger seems to have taken Sedgwick's concept of the triangulation of male homosocial desire—as classically demonstrated in Wacousta—and provided it w i t h a further twist: the homoerotic triangle i n Woodsmen is all male in gender.  4  While the narrator, Mart, is at once fascinated  and repelled by Carter's ruthless and single-minded exploitation of both the land and his men, Bill Allen's "admiration for his great partner glows visibly within him. H e w o u l d have played Boswell to Carter's Johnson. H e yields to heroworship" (73). If there is one member of this triangle who is "feminized" in any w a y it is A l l e n , w h o m we are told has a "pretty" face, "framed in fair curly hair," suggesting, especially when clean, a vaguely "girlish" air (111). (To be sure,  18 Mart's English education, his "queer way of expressing [him]self," and his "damaged foot" [14, 29] also set h i m apart from the masculine ideal embodied by Carter.) Read intertextually via Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, however, A l l e n becomes the harlequin figure to Mart and Carter's M a r low-Kurtz relationship. Indeed, by the end of Woodsmen Carter has succeeded in taking Mart "to oblivion" (201 and passim), just as Kurtz takes M a r l o w to the edge of an inner abyss. In addition, the text's concluding p o e m / s o n g , with its refrain of "Farewell to loggers and m y y o u t h ! / Farewell to it all: marriage is better" (206), is vaguely reminiscent of Marlow's meeting w i t h Kurtz's "Intended" at the end of Heart of Darkness. The question is, do we read it as a lament for homosociality or as a paean to heteronormativity?  Certainly the photograph that serves as the first  edition's frontispiece—showing a solitary male figure standing triumphantly atop the massive stump of a felled tree, and identified w i t h the cut-line "The Conqueror"—would seem to celebrate the "woodsman" as quintessential exemplar of hyper-masculinity.  5  A n y retreat from this all-male w o r l d , as Mart w e l l knows,  is necessarily a diminution, a feminization. A s Misao Dean has recently put it, Grainger's Woodsmen maps the "distance between Mart's masculine ideal and his ability to achieve it. . . . The book's ending, with the narrator returning to a feminised 'civilization' further expresses the critical moment of self-awareness and an ironic perspective on the masculine culture of agency it puports to define" (85).  19  Sinclair Ross's "Queers"  Well, . . . the prairie has some queer ones. (W. O. Mitchell, Who Has Seen the W i n d 140)  Writing in 1947, when "queer" was used simultaneously to denote general nonconformity (as in strange or eccentric behaviour) and to connote outright deviancy (as i n homosexuality), Mitchell could hardly have predicted the political and lexical distance the w o r d w o u l d travel in the close to 50 year history of pre- and post-Stonewall gay liberation. A n d while, as Terry Goldie has recently suggested, it is possible to divine something more than mere Wordsworthian "intimations of immortality" in Brian O'Connoll's attraction to the Young Ben ("W.O. Mitchell"),  6  it is probably "safer" to read this classic example of the Canadian "rural Bildungsroman" as a simple "coming-of-age" story rather than as a sublimated "coming out" story. It is "safer" because overly ardent "queer" readings of canonical Canadian texts from the 1940s leave the contemporary critic (like Goldie and myself) open to charges of ahistoricism. (Only relatively recently, for example, has "queer" been re-deployed as a positive marker of gay sub-cultural affinity in slogans like "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it.") W e l l aware of the risks that attend every use (whether political, critical, or both) of the term "queer," I nevertheless propose to focus my homosocial gaze in this section on another Canadian prairie classic from the 1940s, a text w i t h its o w n preponderance of "queers," a text, moreover, which has been nationally canonized  20 (at the 1978 Calgary Conference on the Canadian N o v e l , and in repeated readings thereafter) as the locus classicus of the Canadian Kunstlerrotnan, in this case a "failed-artist" narrative.  8  I am speaking, of course, of Sinclair Ross's celebrated  novel, A s For M e and M y House (1941). Rather than dwelling overly long on speculative biography and questions pertaining to Ross's o w n sexuality, I prefer to approach the text, at least initially, w i t h a discussion of narrative point of view. In a compelling investigation into h o w so many eighteenth-century English novels structured as women's autobiographies (in particular, Defoe's Roxana and Richardson's Clarissa) came to be written by men, Madeleine K a h n "offer[s] a theory of the novel as a form w h i c h allowed its authors to exploit the instability of gender categories and w h i c h is thus inseparable from its o w n continual reexamination and redefinition of those categories" (6). Conjoining the discourses of literary criticism and psychoanalysis to formulate her theory of "narrative transvestism," K a h n argues that the term "is not a diagnosis but a metaphor: it furnishes helpful analogies to the structures that govern an essentially literary masquerade, and it directs our attention to the dialectic of display and concealment exhibited by these eighteenth-century texts—to the complex negotiations between self and other that structure both the novelist's art and the reader's response" (11). Taking my cue from K a h n , I want to suggest that the first person narration of A s For M e and M y House, the locutionary positioning of M r s . Bentley as enigmatic diarist, constitutes a twentieth-century Canadian example of "narrative transvestism," and that "the  21 dialectic of display and concealment" exhibited by the text opens up a crossgender space of liminal minority gay identification. In a recent article on the "conflicting signs" of A s For M e and M y House, Frank Davey notes that the text is read canonically as either straightforward realism, w i t h Philip Bentley as the "main character," or else as an example of psychological realism, with Mrs. Bentley's "unreliability" as narrator becoming the focus of critical scrutiny. According to Davey, the emphasis on realism i n both sets of readings obscures "the novel's existence as a complex of textual signs that participate in the readerly construction of meaning" (Canadian Literary Power 128). Davey himself locates within the text "the presence of at least a triple construction—a signator, Sinclair Ross, who has constructed a text which in turn constructs its narrator by constructing the narrator's construction of events" (128). Yet, while Davey includes among the text's "conflicting signs" issues of sexuality and cross-gender affiliations, he "leave[s] implicit but unstated how the text reflects in turn on its male signator and on the gender questions the presence of this signator raises" (129). Indeed, in disclaiming the label of "realism" for A s For M e and M y House, Davey fails to endorse any alternative narrative categorizations. Most of m y critical sensibilities support Davey in his refusal to fix absolute meaning either inside or outside of Ross's text. O n the subject of projective readerly relations, however, m y post-structuralist resolve tends to get a little limp-wristed. From m y o w n perspective as a gay critic, I think that at least one possible way to reconcile the male signator w i t h at least one community of readers is to interpret the text not as realism but as homosexual fantasy.  22 In her very first diary entry M r s . Bentley clearly establishes Philip's artistic sensibility, "what he is and what he nearly was—the failure, the compromise, the going-on—it's all there—the discrepancy between the man and the little niche that holds h i m " (7). She also discloses that "[h]e likes boys—often, I think, plans the bringing-up and education of his boy" (9). It is only very gradually (and w i t h great subtlety) that Mrs. Bentley reveals what she is and what she nearly was: a "barren" w o m a n , a "failed" artist in her o w n right, Philip's "[partner] in conspiracy" (20). Into this "house of silence and repression and restraint" (77) comes Steve, a young orphaned boy who awakens in Philip a "dark, strange and morbid passion," a passion which "accounted] for . . . the tangle of his early years, dark, strange, and morbid most of them too" (177). Suddenly M r s . Bentley, who can "give [Steve] only a twisted, hybrid love" (146), is required to put up another "false front," "enlarged this time for three": "Philip, Steve and I. It's such a trim, efficient little sign; it's such a tough, deep-rooted tangle that it hides" (81). "As For Me and My House—The House of Bentley" (81): the singularity of the pronoun and possessive in Ross's title is itself significant and points to the fact that any complete reading of the text must consider Philip and M r s . Bentley together, not as separately defined characters. Moreover, such a reading must also take into account the text's self-reflexive commentary on its o w n "written" composition. A t one point we are told expressly that Philip "tried to write": "It was a failure, of course, and it exhausted him" (45). It is thus left to M r s . Bentley, through her diary, to elaborate an "illusion" of H o r i z o n , and concomitantly, of  23 herself: "Over the tea and sponge cake I had a few gaunt moments, looking d o w n a corridor of years and Horizons, at the end of which was a mirror and my o w n reflection" (109). Of course, if occasionally Mrs. Bentley does not like what she sees, neither does Horizon: "Right to my face H o r i z o n tells me I'm a queer one" (203). The image of the mirror, or looking glass, also figures implicitly in the riddle which Paul Kirby poses to Mrs. Bentley at the end of the novel: "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" " A nonsense riddle in Alice in Wonderland," I replied. "There isn't an answer, and those are crows, not ravens." "Once the raven, too, had a croak in his name," he said cryptically, "and there was a time when all pens scratched." (208) This riddle, w i t h its phallic double-entendre (pen/penis), points in turn to one of the text's central ambiguities: Mrs. Bentley's name. Or, rather, her lack of a Christian name. According to Robert Kroetsch, in his afterword to the N e w Canadian Library edition of A s For M e and M y House, Ross's refusal "to 'name' M r s . Bentley" is part of the text's "splendid dance of . . . evasions" (221). But surely it is also a clue. Philip Bentley, Mrs. Philip Bentley: might not the two characters be one and the same person? The homo-narcissistic implications of this hypothesis become provocatively apparent when, at the end of the novel, M r s . "Philip" Bentley decides to name Judith West's child, now "her" son, "Philip," after his father, "Philip," a man w h o m "s/he" tells us in her initial diary entry "has a w a y of building in his o w n image, too" (9).  24 In "The Fear of Women in Prairie Fiction," another important essay on A s For M e and M y House, Kroetsch discusses the "evasion" of sex in Ross's novel. However, in repeatedly posing the rhetorical question, " H o w do y o u make love in a new country?," Kroetsch fails to consider the fact that Ross's refusal to answer that question in his text might in fact betray a dis-ease w i t h heterosexuality as a compulsory institution rather than w i t h female sexuality and eroticism per se. Kroetsch's disingenuousness is all the more ironic in this regard given the links he makes in this essay between A s For M e and M y House and W i l l a Cather's M y Antonia. After all, Cather was a lesbian who repeatedly wrote "across gender and sexuality," peopling her fiction w i t h a wide spectrum of gay m e n .  9  In this sense, the narrative confusion created by Ross's text is at least doubly transvestic, signalling what Marjorie Garber, in Vested Interests, refers to as a "category crisis." Both the male "signator" and the male "protagonist" create in M r s . Bentley a writerly "persona" through which to reflect/refract their sexual/textual desires. A n d I w o u l d like to suggest that the "object" of these desires is not the pale-faced soprano, Judith West, but Philip's "parody-double" (Kroetsch, "The Fear of Women" 77), Paul Kirby, whose Carrollian etymologies, puns and riddles remind us that the gaps, silences, indirections, and prevarications surrounding words are part of the projective fantasy of any narrative: "I think of Paul, and wonder might it have been different if we had k n o w n each other earlier. Then the currents might have taken and fulfilled me. I might not still be nailed by them against a heedless wall" (209). Extending M r s . Bentley's writerly fantasy (and m y readerly one) even further, beyond the bounds  25  of her text, if Ross locates in A s For M e and M y House a tale of "closeted" homosocial/sexual martyrdom, then surely Sawbones Memorial (1974) represents a textual "coming out" of sorts, an attempt to integrate more fully a self-identified gay character (in this case Benny Fox) into his writing. A final question worth posing at the end of this section: to what extent can the modern homosocial tradition in Canadian literature be said to have emerged as a variant of the whole Kunstlerroman genre in this country? Consider, i n this regard, another "failed-artist narrative" from the pre-1960 period, Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley. Transposing Ross's prairie setting to the Annapolis Valley of N o v a Scotia, Buckler relates in a high, metaphysical style the story of D a v i d Canaan. Ironically, D a v i d , the supposedly "gifted" child, the perpetual "outsider," is the only member of his family who does not make it off the farm in rural Entremont. After glimpsing a vision of the unity he has failed to achieve i n his writing, D a v i d dies on the mountain that has symbolized his unattainable goal: the triumph of passion over intellect.  10  More than once in the narrative  Buckler suggests that a possible source of David's emotional disequilibrium is a conflict w i t h his o w n sexuality. For example, after a scene i n which D a v i d and Toby (once David's pen-pal, now married to David's twin-sister, Anna—more homosocial triangulation) kill birds together, Buckler has D a v i d ruminate on the "man-fibre" and "man-togetherness" he shares "with the other who was like him": H a v i n g spoken of and felt the same way about the thing that made them men, the way a man feels about a woman, there was less loneliness in h i m than at any other time he had walked here before.  26 There was less loneliness, in a way, than if he were walking here w i t h a woman; for though a woman you might love, your love was only possible because she was different. The only people who can take loneliness away are the people who are the same. (256) In highly Whitmanesque prose ("man-fibre"; "man-togetherness") Buckler here reveals a certain authorial sensitivity to, not to mention textual felicity with, the emotional investments of male homosocial desire. In so doing, he opens up another discursive space of identification and critical interrogation for those readers (like myself) who prefer to interpret his text from a "queerer" angle of view.  Homo Porno  George is reading, being handsome, in a crushed red velvet shirt. H e is entertaining, being a performer, which I don't get, I don't get h i m at all, really, w h y he does all this, the video-camera, the attention of the audience, seem suddenly so dreary, commonplace, a false rigour of importance hangs around the occasion w i t h it, for what, Canadian Literature, I suppose, all that, Canadian Literature has always seemed over there, in boring-land to me, I w i l l never write Canadian Literature. (Scott Watson, "Voice Without Words" 10)  27 The "George" alluded to here in Watson's "story-a-clef is George Bowering, exemplary practitioner—as some w o u l d have it—of postmodernist writing in this country, the k i n d of "Canadian Literature" Watson "will never w r i t e . "  11  In  Burning Water (1980), the first installment of his "British Columbia trilogy," Bowering cuts a wide swath across Canadian history w i t h his parodic pen, deliberately deconstructing several time-honoured and revered national myths. Moreover, as m y choice of metaphor is meant to demonstrate, he also constructs a few new sexual myths, such as the homosexual relationship he imputes between rival British and Spanish Captains George Vancouver and Francisco Quadra. I am w i l l i n g to accept the argument that Bowering's parodic break w i t h realist modes of storytelling in Burning Water constitutes a politically motivated attempt to subvert dominant historical and colonial methods of representation, particularly w i t h respect to the fostering of regional and national identity. I remain unconvinced, however, by Bowering's o w n assertion, in the prologue to his novel, that the (his)story he is at once deconstructing and reconstructing is one we all share: "We all live in the same world's sea," according to the textual "George," "We cannot tell a story that leaves us outside, and when I say we, I include y o u " (n. pag.). A s Marcia Crosby comments, "One can only parody something that is shared, otherwise it's an ' i n ' joke. The work is only postmodern if the reader is engaged, since it is a receiver system: the code must be learned, otherwise the work or intention of the theory is invisible" (271). Crosby, a H a i d a woman, points out that Burning Water, with its stereotypical depiction of sardonic, inscrutable, rather child-like Native men, and "savage," sexually-willing  28 Native women, is itself not outside the colonizing loop of representation, and in fact even interiorizes (and thus perpetuates) its manifold national and sexual myths. Likewise, as a gay man, I have serious qualms about Bowering's representation of homosexuality i n his novel, which appears to have little to do w i t h a political commitment to interrogating normative assumptions about masculinity and much to do w i t h the standard conventions of postmodernist metafiction. That is, if part of the project of Canadian literary postmodernism is to render forever ambivalent the received narratives of nationhood, then w h y not extend this project to narratives of sexuality as well? Consider, in this regard, Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers (1966), lauded by critics such as L i n d a Hutcheon and Sylvia Soderlind as "the quintessential Canadian postmodern novel" (Soderlind, M a r g i n / A l i a s 41). Both Hutcheon and Soderlind read the "central bizarre triangle of symbolically orphaned characters [the Anglo-Canadian I, the French-Canadian F, and the Native-Canadian Edith]" as an allegory of "the history and political destiny of the Canadian nation" (Hutcheon, The Canadian Postmodern 28). Moreover, both critics apply M i k h a i l Bakhtin's concepts of "ambivalence" and "carnivalesque" to the sex in the novel, w i t h Hutcheon arguing that "all the sex is deliberately non-productive biologically (i.e. mechanical, oral, anal)" (33), and Soderlind claiming that "[t]he pornography paradigm also emphasizes Cohen's (quasi-Foucauldian) preoccupation w i t h the inscription of power relationships on the body" (43-44). However, the failure of Hutcheon and Soderlind to discuss at any length how homosexuality functions in Beautiful  29 Losers is somewhat curious, reflecting perhaps Cohen's o w n refusal to classify the sexual activity between I and F as homo-inflected. "'[Y]ou musn't feel guilty about any of this,'" F instructs I at one point in the text, adding that what they do ("sucking each other, watching the movies, Vaseline," etc.) '"isn't homosexuality at all.'" To which I promptly responds: ' " O h , F., come off it. Homosexuality is a name'" (18). While I applaud Cohen's (quasi-Foucauldian) narrative insights into the discursive construction of (homo)sexuality, I cannot help but read this abrogation of sexual/textual "response-ability" as yet another colonizing gaze, whereby the "homosexual panic" of supposedly "straight" characters is assuaged at the expense of the lived experience of self-identified gays: the "queer horrible acts" that I and F—as "victim[s] of the system"—are forced to commit by the "Roman Catholic C h u r c h of Quebec" must not be equated, the text makes abundantly clear, w i t h what the "[r]aging fairies" who hang out in the lobby of the System Theatre do (50, 65). "Homosexuality is celebrated i n Cohen," according to Robert K. M a r t i n , "but only as a w a y of reinforcing heterosexuality. . . . A s Quebec helps Canada to be more Canadian, so homosexuality helps men to be more manly" ("Two Days i n Sodom" 29). Or, as F puts it at one point in his long letter to I, "Our queer love keeps the lines of our manhood hard and clean, so that we bring nobody but our o w n self to our separate marriage beds, and our women finally know us" (164-65). Except that once again the "indigenized"/Indigenous w o m a n performs double duty in the overlapping triangulated narratives of national and sexual  30 identity. The twice "widowed" Ellen Halloway, having disappeared into the wilderness at the end of Richardson's Wacousta, re-emerges from "the old Canadian trees" in Cohen's Beautiful Losers as Edith (60), running first into the arms of I, and then into F's warm embrace (or vice-versa, depending on whose version of events we accept). Edith, true to her vanishing tribe, the " A — , " is both earthy and ethereal, passed back and forth between I and F "like a package of mud," hovering over them like a "holy star" (231, 164). But once again like Ellen, and—even closer to home—Catherine Tekakwitha, Edith remains the "unassimilatable" other in the cinematic melt-down that takes place i n the final section of Cohen's novel, the lonely question mark at the end of all the "what IFs?" surrounding the future of Canada and Quebec. A m o n g critics of Canadian postmodernism, Beautiful Losers is most often juxtaposed against the work of Hubert A q u i n , whose best k n o w n texts—Prochain episode (1965) and Trou de memoire (1968)—bracket the publication of Cohen's novel. According to Hutcheon, these two key "textes-nationaux" demonstrate that A q u i n "appears willing to accept the fact that the act of writing itself is a truly revolutionary one. For the author, this insight involves no crude engagement on the level of political content; it is, in fact, through metafictional form that A q u i n hopes to liberate his country and his literature" (Narcissistic Narrative 156). The reader, too, is involved in this liberation, since "[t]o read is to act; to act is both to interpret and to create anew—to be revolutionary, perhaps in political as w e l l as literary terms" (Hutcheon, Narcissistic Narrative 161). While I do not dispute Hutcheon's suggestion that writing, reading and interpreting are political acts, and  31 while I am intrigued by Soderlind's o w n sado-masochistic (i.e. master/slave) take on the reader's "willing submission to the writer" (not to mention the latter's submission to "the cruelty of the critic" [236]), I remain wary of both critics' apparent (unwitting perhaps) treatment of postmodernism and postcolonialism as new formalisms. Hutcheon celebrates the "metafictional paradox" inherent in the former, Soderlind the "allegorical impulse" of the latter. This is nowhere more apparent than in their respective analyses "of the formal expressions of the colonization paradigm" in Aquin's Trou de memoire (Soderlind 70), including the "symbolic rape" of Rachel Ruskin (RR) by Pierre X. Magnant, revolutionary pharmacist and murderer of RR's sister, Joan. Just as rape is not consensual sex, so is its metaphorical deployment in a text not an authorial move to which every reader is willing to submit. A s both Hutcheon and Soderlind acknowledge, A q u i n ' s preoccupation w i t h African anti-colonialist struggles in general, and with the writings of Albert M e m m i and Frantz Fanon in particular, is well documented. What they fail to consider, however, is that the connection A q u i n felt with Fanon, for example, may not have centred solely on questions of revolutionary nationalism; it may also have had something to do w i t h a few unresolved issues of sexuality. Contemporary postcolonial theorists owe much to the rethinking of racial alterity and national difference elaborated by Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, among other texts. In terms of critical revisioning, the M a r t i n i c a n / A l g e r i a n psychiatrist and philosopher becomes for E d w a r d Said "an advocate of post-postmodern counternarratives of liberation," for A b d u l  32 JanMohamed "a Manichean theorist of colonialism as absolute negation," for H o m i Bhabha "another Third W o r l d post-structuralist," and for Benita Parry a supporter of "her o w n rather optimistic vision of literature and social action" (Gates 465). Fanon's work has, even more recently, been the focus of attention for many contemporary queer theorists, several of w h o m have turned to his psychoanalytical writings in order to interrogate some of "Fanon's disquieting discussions of not only femininity but homosexuality" (Fuss "Interior Colonies" 30). For example, in his discussion of "Negrophobia" in chapter six of Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon takes as his central example the psycho-pathological fantasy " A Negro is raping me." Situating his theory of sexual perversions w i t h i n the broader framework of cultural constructions of racism, Fanon claims that the white w o m a n who fears the black man really desires him. So apparently does the white man: "the Negrophobic woman is in fact nothing but a putative sexual partner—just as the Negrophobic man is a repressed homosexual" (156). Fanon's equation of homosexuality w i t h racism in this scenario (where we w o u l d more likely expect to find homophobia positioned), and his subsequent discussion of homosexuality as the well-spring of virtually all internalized "hate-complexes" ("Fault, Guilt, refusal of guilt, paranoia—one is back in homosexual territory" [Black Skin 183]), is, to say the least, troubling. A s Jonathan Dollimore remarks, according to this logic, "The homosexual is implicated all ways round. . . . repressed homosexuality is construed as a cause of a violent and neurotic racism, [while] elsewhere Fanon regards manifest homosexuality as an effect of the same  33 neurotic racism" (Sexual Dissidence 345). Fuss poses the question this way: "If racism is articulated with homosexuality instead of homophobia, where are antiracist lesbians and gay men, of all colors, to position themselves in relation to same-sex desire? Fanon's theory of sexuality offers little to anyone committed to both an anti-imperialist and an antihomophobic politics" ("Interior Colonies" 32). However, far from condemning Fanon altogether, queer theorists w o u l d do w e l l to examine more closely how the homophobia in Black Skin, White Masks unconsciously enacts the fear and revulsion principles analyzed by Fanon throughout the text w i t h respect to racist stereotyping, and how this in turn points to some of the psychic limitations involved in any project of decolonization. Framed in this way, the queer theorist (who is also anti-racist/-colonialist, as Fuss suggests) must turn the question around: that is, if for Fanon (same-)sexuality operates as a delimiting rather than a catalytic factor in anti-racist struggles, does race function in a similar way in antihomophobic political movements? After all, male homosocial desire—as theorized by Sedgwick in Between M e n , and as applied by myself in this chapter—does not seem to cross colour lines that easily, frequently resulting, when it does, in cataclysm or death, as w i t h the double suicides of Magnant and Olympe at the end of Aquin's text. Within the context of Trou de memoire, then, Fanon's comments on "Negrophobia" complicate—to say'the least—the dominant reading of the rape in that novel "as a central metaphor, connected w i t h a loss of memory, symbolic of the colonizer's appropriation of the colony's history" (Soderlind 71). Rather than interpreting it "formally" as "nothing but a repetition of Joan's murder," a way of  34 "implicating] Magnant in Olympe's story" (Soderlind 77), might it not be possible to see the rape of Rachel (still highly problematical in its o w n right) as a displacement of Magnant's desire for her lover Olympe, his African double, the dark other in (him)self? In this regard, the psycho-pathological premises of "Negrophobia" described by Fanon are reflected, to a certain degree, i n Magnant's "phobie d'impuissance": " M o n comportement sexuel est a l'image d'un comportement national frappe d'impuissance: plus ca va, plus je sens bien que je veux violer. . . . Ce desenchantement ressemble trop a une phobie d'impuissance. Fatigue, je reve a la plenitude d u viol" (112; " M y sexual behaviour is the reflection of a national behaviour whose hallmark is impotence; the easier the going the more I want to rape. . . . M y disenchantment is too close to being a phobia of impotence. Weary, I dream of the plenitude of rape" [Blackout 90]). Whereas, in Trou de memoire, Magnant tells himself that his "puissance veritable . . . echappe a ce genre de verification genitale" (115; "true potency . . . is not subject to genital proof" [Blackout 91]), for the "Negro" in Fanon's text, "everything takes place on the genital level" (Black Skin 157). Either way, phallic deficiency and phallic plenitude in both A q u i n and Fanon consolidate themselves within "a sort of tableau of narcissism" (Gates 465), an anamorphic hall of mirrors in which homophobia and misogyny become the manifest (although no less reprehensible to this reader) external responses to other forms of internalized self-loathing induced by colonialism. Such a (re) doubled reading of national and sexual alterity likewise finds expression i n A q u i n ' s Prochain episode. Just as the hero of A q u i n ' s narrative of  35  national liberation fails to kill his enemy, H . de Heutz, in w h o m he recognizes an "inverted" image of himself (as well as a "father figure"), so is he susceptible to the sexual double cross, the beautiful and mysterious K (Kebec?) being responsible—or so the text implies—for his ultimate betrayal to the authorities. Patricia Smart has indicated h o w this particular triangular structure—which w i l l resurface again in chapter four—of Oedipal desire and rivalry is in some senses unique to Quebec. For his part, Robert Schwartzwald has noted that "the obsession for (hetero)sexual conquest that is so prominent in Aquin's novels, complete w i t h its litanies of masculine connoisseurship, functions as a doomed compensatory mechanism. Its invariably unsuccessful resolution barely masks the homosexual panic that really fuels A q u i n ' s writing" ("Fear of Federasty" 187). Moreover, commenting on A q u i n ' s influence on Scott Symons (a connection I shall explore at greater length in chapter three), Robert K. Martin points out that in Quebec nationalist writing, "the desire to rape is accompanied by a desire to be raped, not on the part of women but on the part of men, in the context of national guilt. If the 'missionary position' is always on top, then the antimissionary must always be buggered" ("Cheap Tricks" 200). So too w i t h the anti-revolutionary, it w o u l d seem. Indeed, if there is an insurrectionary bond established between writer and reader i n A q u i n ' s texts it is one that, much like the connection forged between writer and reader in Richardson's Wacousta or Ross's A s For M e and M y House, is "homoerotically charged" (Schwartzwald, "Fear of Federasty" 190).  36  From There to Queer  It has not been m y intent, i n constructing a national "minority narrative" of Canadian literature i n the preceding pages, "to delineate a separate malehomosocial literary canon" (Sedgwick, Between M e n 17). While I firmly believe that "que(e)rying" the canon requires making space for "new" textual voices, I also believe that such a process requires the simultaneous re-reading of "old" voices i n "new" ways. In this sense, as Sedgwick notes, virtually every national literary "canon as it exists is already such a [homosocial] canon, and most so when it is most heterosexual" (Between M e n 17)—which is also to say when a canon is most patriarchal. This is certainly the case with Canadian literature, whose patterns of sexual dissimulation, as we shall discover at greater length i n chapter four, were distressingly apparent to someone as virulently misogynist and homophobic as A q u i n . A n d , moreover, as the example of A q u i n further illustrates, both inside and outside the system of containment known as Canadian canon-formation the histories of nationalism and sexuality are neither discrete nor autonomous (as the broad parameters encompassed by the Lecker-Davey debate w o u l d have us believe), but rather inextricably "enmeshed" (Mosse 10). M y use of the term "enmeshed" is deliberate here; it is meant to indicate that the political and theoretical impulses motivating this dissertation owe something to the pioneering work of historian George Mosse. In Nationalism and Sexuality, Mosse sketches a double history of modern European nationalism and bourgeois—or "respectable"—sexuality as they emerged together at the end of the  37 eighteenth century, and coalesced in the early twentieth century, in part helping to facilitate the rise of German National Socialism. In so doing, Mosse points out that the normative assumptions behind our understanding of nationalism and sexuality today, assumptions which we frequently take for granted or regard as conceptually immutable, were in fact thoroughly innovative in European middleclass society two hundred years ago: "manners and morals, as well as sexual norms, are part of the historical process. . . . We must appreciate the relativity of such values in order to understand how they came to be allied w i t h nationalism. What one regards as normal or abnormal behavior, sexual or otherwise, is a product of historical development, not universal law" (3). In this passage Mosse clearly aligns himself w i t h the "social constructionist" sympathies of Benedict Anderson and Michel Foucault, who in their respective analyses of "the origins of nationalism" and the "history of sexuality" argue that national and sexual "communities" are "imagined," or discursively produced. In what is arguably the most influential academic study of nationalism in the past decade, Anderson, for example, links the development of what he calls "imagined nation-ness" w i t h the "convergence of capitalism and print technology" on language i n the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries (46). The institutionalization of this originary, "vernacular" nationalism, according to Anderson, was "born" in the Americas and "modularly" adopted/adapted, that is, refashioned and retooled, first by the colonial powers of Western Europe, and then by the anticolonial independence movements i n A s i a and Africa.  19  38 A s Partha Chatterjee has pointed out, however, Anderson's "constructionist" account of the origin and spread of nationalism looks suspiciously like the framework for a universal history, one that "seals up [Anderson's] theme w i t h a sociological determinism," and that consequently fails to account adequately for nationalism's "twists and turns, the suppressed possibilities, the contradictions still unresolved" (Nationalist Thought and the Colonial W o r l d 21, 22). Chatterjee's "central objection" to Anderson's argument stems from the latter's inherent conflation of nationalisms. "The most powerful as well as the most creative results of the nationalist imagination in A s i a and Africa," he asserts in The Nation and Its Fragments, "are posited not on an identity but rather on a difference w i t h the 'modular' forms of the national society propagated by the modern West" (5). Anticolonial nationalisms in A s i a and Africa, Chatterjee goes on to argue, have imagined an "'inner' domain" of sovereignty "within" colonial society that at the same time manages to be "without" it, in that the imperialist powers are exempt from it. This inner, or "spiritual," domain of sovereignty, w h i c h Chatterjee distinguishes from the "material" domain, and which he discusses most fully in connection w i t h Bengal, w o u l d seem to be roughly analogous to Fanon's formulation, in The Wretched of the Earth, of "national consciousness," a term which Fanon in turn distinguishes from "nationalism," and which he claims "takes on i n Africa a special dimension": "the awareness of a simple rule which wills that every independent nation in an Africa where colonialism is still entrenched is an encircled nation, a nation which is fragile and in permanent danger" (198-99). The difference of course is that Fanon, unlike Chatterjee, is writing from a  39 psychoanalytical perspective; what Chatterjee labels the "spiritual" springs for Fanon from "unconscious" desires. Anderson's narrative of undifferentiated national claims tends to elide these kinds of surplus terms/discourses, at the same time as the anti-/post-colonial theorizing of Fanon and Chatterjee poses new conceptual challenges to the forms of national expression and the limits of historical imagination. "If the nation is an imagined community," Chatterjee ambiguously concludes, then it must in part be through the powers of imagination, the intellectual and psychological processes of invention and creation—what Fanon w o u l d no doubt call the "Negro" or "Native's" fantasies of racial and sexual displacement—that such a community comes into being: "In this, its true and essential domain, the nation is already sovereign, even when the state is i n the hands of the colonial power. The dynamics of this historical project is [sic] completely missed in conventional histories in which the story of nationalism begins w i t h the contest for political power" (The Nation 6; my emphasis). There is no "true and essential domain" of sexuality according to Foucault; but its history is very much that of a contest for power.  A s he puts it in the  first volume of The History of Sexuality, "discourses on sex did not multiply apart from or against power, but in the very space and as the means of its exercise" (32). Moreover, his famous reevaluation of the "repressive hypothesis" locates the shift from loosely defined interdictions against certain kinds of "sodomitical" behaviour or activity to the naming of "homosexuality" as a category—and the "homosexual" as a "specific" type of (deviant) individual—firmly within the convergence of medico-juridical discourses in the late nineteeth century (see The  40 History of Sexuality, V o l . 1: A n Introduction, especially 17-49). Foucault is actually even more precise, pinpointing 1870 as the "date of birth" of "the psychological, psychiatric, medical category of homosexuality": A s defined by the ancient civil or canonical codes, sodomy was a category of forbidden acts; their perpetrator was nothing more than the juridical subject of them. The nineteenth-century homosexual became a personage, a past, a case history, and a childhood, in addition to being a type of life, a life form, a morphology, w i t h an indiscreet anatomy and possibly a mysterious physiology. . . . The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was n o w a species. (43) M o r e recent scholarship, however, suggests that the "Great Paradigm Shift" in "the modern homo/heterosexual definition" (Sedgwick, Epistemology 44, 45) recorded by Foucault in the first volume of The History of Sexuality may in fact have been initiated earlier, and sustained over a much longer historical period, and in a much more complex way. Foucault was constantly modifying and revising his o w n argument in the subsequent volumes of The History of Sexuality, returning to the examples of ancient Greece and Rome in order to outline an "ethic of care of the self" based on the "uses of pleasure" (to modify slightly the titles of volumes three and two, respectively). Across all three volumes—indeed, one might even say throughout his entire oeuvre—Foucault is most concerned w i t h documenting the specific techniques and practices of the body (what he calls "technologies of the self"), a project which he describes as a "history of [sexual]  41 'ethics/ understood as the elaboration of a form of relation to self that enables an individual to fashion himself [sic] into a subject of ethical conduct" (The Use of Pleasure 251). E d Cohen, whose o w n project of constructing a "genealogy of a discourse on male sexualities" in Talk on the Wilde Side owes much to the work of Foucault, acknowledges that the increasingly polemical divide among historians and theorists of sexuality and sexual communities "is itself constructed upon political questions represented through concrete historical and semantic issues. For what appears to be at stake in the historiographic debates about dating 'homosexuality' is how we ought to evaluate the ways this concept still organizes our o w n engagements w i t h and transformations of the current historical moment" (211). Or, perhaps more pertinently, the ways in which these largely academic debates fail to organize urban gay communities whose collective engagements w i t h history (on the day-to-day level of protest and activism) remain for the most part framed within a paradigm of identity politics. A s Steven Epstein suggests, "constructionism poses a real and direct threat to the ethnic legitimation [of the 'gay masses']: people who base their claims to social rights on the basis of a group identity w i l l not appreciate being told that that identity is just a social construct" (22). Rejecting both "strict constructionism" and "strict essentialism" as theoretically inadequate and politically ineffective positions from which to analyze homosexual identity, Epstein nevertheless strategically modifies some key  42 essentialist tenets in developing his concept of "gay ethnicity" as a "politically defensible starting point from which the gay movement can evolve in a progressive direction" (27-28). Such a "modified constructionism," according to Epstein, "implies a more comprehensive understanding of power, and of the dialectical relationship between identities as self-expressions and identities as ascriptive impositions" (44). Similarly, in her reading of the Subaltern Studies collective's attempts to "situate" subaltern consciousness (and, concomitantly, postcolonial agency) within the narrative "metalepsis" of elite historiography, Gayatri Spivak endorses what she sees "as a strategic use of positivist essentialism in a scrupulously visible political interest" ("Subaltern Studies" 205). To be sure, Epstein's "modified constructionism" and Spivak's "strategic essentialism" are not political panaceas; they are merely elegant rhetorical circumventions of an ongoing theoretical impasse. In practice, there w i l l always remain a danger that what begins as provisional and interventionary w i l l eventually solidify into a permanent re-entrenchment of absolutist positions (a pedagogical point to which I shall return in m y final chapter). "This is not an argument against using identity categories," to quote from Judith Butler in Bodies that Matter, "but it is a reminder of the risk that attends every such use" (228). In keeping w i t h the situationally dependent nature of strategy, however, I w o u l d add that in certain circumstances it may just be that the "risk" is well worth t a k i n g .  14  In the politically volatile and emotionally charged debates around postcolonial and queer studies unanimity of opinion is rarely in evidence. N o r should it be. Still, as Fuss has persuasively argued, "The bar between essentialism  43 and constructionism is by no means as solid and unassailable as advocates of both sides assume it to be" (Essentially Speaking xii). Indeed, more and more critics are beginning to speak in terms of "co-implications" (Mohanty, " O n Race and Voice") and "cross-identifications" (Butler and Martin), to theorize difference as historically contextual and relationally contigent. That is, within the overlapping ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality both whites and blacks, men and women, straights and gays "share certain histories as well as certain responsibilities" (Mohanty, " O n Race and Voice" 195). A s I see it, one of my primary responsibilities in this dissertation is to rethink the hotly contested issue of identity, both nationally and sexually. This necessarily means beginning w i t h where I am: a white Anglo-Scots gay male Ph.D. student in the Department of English at the University of British C o l u m b i a , Vancouver, Canada (from here—where?—the positionalities, as Stephen Dedalus discovered, proliferate outward exponentially). However, moving forward from this locational context—be it corporeal, institutional, geographical, or whatever—requires something more, a sort of referential leap of faith, an acceptance of identities as non-identical. What I mean by this apparent tautology is that the process of self-identification w i l l always be partial because procurement of a given identity only occurs in relation to that which is "Other." To re-situate this statement within the discursive formations of nationalism and sexuality, at least as they are operating in this dissertation, any evaluative methodology I come up w i t h to account for their respective "engagements w i t h and transformations of" contemporary Canadian literature must first of all see—as George Mosse so clearly  44  points out—nationalism as sexuality's other, and vice-versa. In this sense, I am attempting to heed the call announced by Schwartzwald at the end of his essay on the "Problematics of Identity in Quebec," an essay which I w i l l have occasion to refer to again in chapter four. H e concludes his analysis of the conscription and naturalization of sexual difference within Quebecois social theorists' narratives of national identity by suggesting to both "theorists of the subject-nation" and "sexgender theorists" a mutual interrogation of and "constructive engagement" w i t h each other's "variegated claims" on the "unavoidably common terrain of identity" (290, 291). Of course, as Henry Abelove and others have so astutely intuited, one such "constructive engagement"—or "enmeshment," to return to Mosse's phrase—of the national and the sexual is encapsulated in the tactics and strategies deployed by, not to mention the very name of, "Queer Nation" (see Abelove, "From Thoreau to Queer Politics"). In an article that is equal parts theoretical rumination, documentary history, and radical manifesto, Lauren Berlant and Elizabeth Freeman maintain that "Queer Nation's outspoken promotion of a national sexuality not only discloses that mainstream national identity touts a subliminal sexuality more official than a state flower or national bird, but also makes explicit how thoroughly the local experience of the body is framed by laws, policies, and social customs regulating sexuality" (195). Trading upon (or, more properly, "camping") the structures of identification and the economies of exchange central to the promotion and maintenance of a nationalist-capitalist ideology, the organization's intertwining of the national with the sexual, its commingling of  45  multiple and manifold publics, polities, communities, and symbolic cultures, according to Berlant and Freeman, is both a reclamation of nationality (specifically for "pleasure") and a subversion of it. Queer Nation's insurrectionary rhetoric claims all social spaces "as 'national' sites ripe both for transgression and legitimate visibility. Its tactics are to cross borders, to occupy spaces, and to mime the privileges of normality" (Berlant and Freeman 196). O n the subject of borders, and the crossing of borders, perhaps no one has written more eloquently or more powerfully than Gloria A n z a l d u a . In Borderlands I ha Frontera: The N e w Mestiza, she describes, in poetry and prose, her experience as a "border woman," growing up Chicana and lesbian along the U . S . / M e x i c a n border in southwestern Texas, caught between two different cultures, two different languages, two different models of sexual behaviour. Commenting on this liminal space, and her contradictory and shifting occupation of it, A n z a l d u a writes: " A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is i n a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants. Los atravesados live here: the squint-eyed, the perverse, the queer, the troublesome, the mongrel, the mulatto, the half-breed" (3). This territory, as A n z a l d u a acknowledges, is by no means an easy or comfortable area to inhabit. A n d yet, the experience of "constantly 'crossing over,'" of repeatedly transgressing the boundaries/limits/margins of nationalism and sexuality, of undergoing "this racial, ideological, cultural and biological cross-pollination," does contribute to the  46 formation of what A n z a l d u a calls "an 'alien' consciousness," "a new mestiza consciousness," "a consciousness of the Borderlands" (78).  15  To be sure, minorities (national, sexual, racial, gender, class) have always been more attuned to the permeability of borders than have dominant groups. In this p o s t - N A F T A era, however, Anzaldua's remarks take on added significance, if only because free trade seems to have resulted in a tightening rather than a relaxing of borders: financial capital and raw materials may pass back and forth relatively unrestricted, but not people, especially if those people are dark-skinned and speak Spanish. Although expressed differently than in Mexico, "border consciousness," and particularly consciousness of the U.S. border, "has a long history in Canada" as well (Brown 14). Distinguishing between "borderlines" and "borderlands," Russell Brown argues that whereas the former "defines Canada in terms of difference, in terms of what lies on its other side, or of what it does not, or w i l l not, admit," the latter is "a place that draws all things into it, a place identified w i t h the middle ground, w i t h the union of opposites, and w i t h mediation" (44). Within Brown's discursive taxonomy, then, borders become at once self-defining and self-limiting, representative of a state of in-betweenness that is itself politically and socially circumscribed. In this regard, it is worth pointing out that B r o w n is speaking primarily about English-Canadians' experiences of borders, especially internationally vis-a-vis the U.S. behemoth, where narratives of national identity have traditionally been melted d o w n rather than multiplied out. Brown devotes little attention to the infra-national play of borders within the "Canadian comparative context," both in terms of the  47 "borderlines" and "borderlands" between Canada and Quebec, for example, or between Canada/Quebec and the First Nations. A v o i d i n g such potentially problematic binarisms, Marshall M c L u h a n argued, a decade or more before Brown (published in 1977, McLuhan's essay was originally broadcast on the C B C in 1967), that Canada constitutes a "borderline case," plain and simple. Well, perhaps not so simple. For, according to M c L u h a n , "Canada is a land of multiple borderlines, psychic, social, and geographic" (244; my emphasis); each borderline, moreover, "is an area of spiraling repetition and replay, of both inputs and feedback, of both interlace and interface, an area of 'double ends joined,' of rebirth and metamorphosis" (247). This condition of multiple borderlines contributes to what M c L u h a n calls "Canada's low-profile [national] identity" (246), which, far from being a hindrance in the "global village," "nourishes flexibility" and "approaches the ideal pattern of electronic living" (247, 248). A s M c L u h a n argued elsewhere, in Culture is O u r Business, "Homogeneity, the old ideal of nation, is useless in the global theatre of gaps and interfaces" (170). In this regard, McLuhan—whose The Gutenberg Galaxy anticipated Anderson's central thesis by some 20 years—provides me w i t h m y strongest conceptual link back to a more specifically Canadian literary context. For it is M c L u h a n to w h o m Northrop Frye appeals near the end of his "Conclusion" to the first edition of the Literary History of Canada (1965) in arguing that contemporary Canadian literature is, in effect, post-national: "The writers of the last decade, at least, have begun to write in a world which is post-Canadian, as it is post-  48 American, post-British, and post everything except the w o r l d itself" (The Bush Garden 249). Frye put it even more explicitly two years later—this time without recourse to McLuhan—in The Modern Century: "What is important about the last century, in [Canada], is not that we have been a nation for a hundred years, but that we have had a hundred years in which to make the transition from a prenational to a post-national consciousness" (17). Picking up, in many respects, where M c L u h a n and Frye leave off, Frank Davey has recently invoked the term "post-national" i n his survey of "the politics of the Anglophone-Canadian novel since 1967." "What this array of post-centennial Canadian fiction appears most strongly to announce," according to Davey, "is the arrival of the post-national state—a state invisible to its o w n citizens, indistinguishable from its o w n fellows, maintained by invisible political forces" (Post-National 266). Post-national is of course not the same as post-nationalz'sf. In the present "global village" of crumbling economic borders ( N A F T A , the European U n i o n , Microsoft) and resurrected ethnic and political ones (the "Balkanization" of the former Soviet U n i o n and Yugoslavia, for example) various "franchise" and "tribal" nationalisms are flourishing, a situation from which Canada, Quebec, and even the newly PEPSI-liberated U B C are also not exempt. While m y o w n use of "postnational" is necessarily imbricated w i t h the successive meanings that critics like M c L u h a n , Frye, and Davey have attached to the term, I want also to stress that m y application of it to various texts throughout this dissertation is roughly analogous to m y use of the literary-critical terms "postcolonial" and "postmodernist." That is, what I take to be post-national, postcolonial, and  49  postmodernist Canadian fictions, are those texts which seem to situate themselves in between: i) a not-so-distant imperial past and an increasingly corporate future (hence "post," a prefix I understand to mean here both "posterior" to, that is, coming after or later in a temporal or serial sense—as in post-classical or postImpressionist—and "anterior" to, that is, coming before or prior to in a more spatial sense—as i n post-frontal lobotomy);  16  and ii) theories of identity, citizenship,  power, and art that project evaluative criteria based on notions of belonging, truth, authority, convention, and fact (hence "national," "colonial," and "modernist"). Ironically, the "social imagination" which Frye outlines at the beginning of his "Conclusion," an imagination that "explores and settles and develops" according to "its o w n rhythms of growth" and "modes of expression," is anything but post-national (The Bush Garden 215); it is, in fact, grounded in the myth of two founding nations. In declaring that "Canada has two languages and literatures," Frye also rather blithely claims that "Canada began as an obstacle, blocking the way to the treasures of the east" (216, 217). This simultaneous absorption and elision of Indigenous and ethnic peoples and writing into the cultural history and literature of Canada posits Frye's "social imagination" as arbiter of discursive absence, its apparent autonomous presence (within—and without—his text) determining what does not exist, what is not there. Consequently, Canadian literature, at least as it is constructed by Frye in his "Conclusion," not only functions as "an indispensable aid to the knowledge of Canada" (215), but also—to borrow a locution from Diana Fuss—"as an  50 indispensable interior exclusion" ("Inside/Out" 3). Indeed, Fuss's description of homosexuality's necessarily oppositional status in relation to the "compulsory" regime of heterosexuality w o u l d seem to apply equally well to the structures of exclusion and interiorization at work in the Canadian "garrison mentality": "an outside which is inside interiority making the articulation of the latter possible, a transgression of the border which is necessary to constitute the border as such" ("Inside/Out" 3; see m y discussion of borders, above). But, as H i m a n i Bannerji has recently stated, in her introduction to Returning the Gaze, " A n absence, . . . as much as a presence, is a good point for a beginning" (xii). So too, I w o u l d add, w i t h an inside or an outside. Thus, my initial response to the "absent presences" and "interior exclusions" operating within what Frye sees as Canada's "famous problem of identity" is not simply to replace his rhetorical question '"Where is here?'" (The Bush Garden 220) w i t h another equally rhetorical one of m y o w n , but rather, to provide one possible (polemical?) answer to it: "Here is queer."  17  * **  A final point that I w i s h to stress in this introductory chapter is m y deliberate pluralization of the title of George Mosse's book. Taking m y cue from the editors of the recent volume of essays Nationalisms and Sexualities, this dissertation "does not merely seek to broaden [Mosse's] frame of reference w i t h the goal of including other times, other nations and other sexualities"; rather, it seeks to interrogate the (hetero)normative assumption "that 'nation' and 'sexuality' are themselves trans-historical, supra-national, or self-identical categories" (2). This principle extends to m y understanding of (Canadian) "literature" as well: not  simply that there are "other solitudes," including queer ones, but that what gets counted as "literature" in this country is contingent upon certain supplementary sociopolitical discourses, such as nationalism and sexuality.  52  Notes 1. Indeed, it is interesting to note that Cooper's Leatherstocking novels are themselves heavily steeped in male homosocial desire. In Love and Death i n the American N o v e l , for example, Leslie Fiedler has commented at length on the "austere, almost inarticulate, but unquestioned love" (192) figured between the white woodsman, Natty Bumppo, and the Delaware chief, Chingachgook, i n Cooper's The Pathfinder. 2. According to Sedgwick, colonialism contributed to the transformation of certain gothic conventions in mid-Victorian England. A s she puts it in Between M e n , the "literary availability of the thematics of Empire . . . replaced the consciousness of class difference that had been endemic in the Gothic w i t h a less discriminate, more dichotomous and fantasy-prone distinction between the domestic and the exotic" (182). This process is of course heightened in the "savage" spaces of the N e w W o r l d . O n h o w the gothic gets played out in the Canadian literary context, w i t h particular attention to Wacousta, see Margot Northey, The Haunted Wilderness. 3.1 borrow the term "indigenization" from Terry Goldie; see his Fear and Temptation  13-17 and passim. 4. In Daphne Marlatt's A n a Historic, a text which substantially re-writes Grainger's Woodsmen, the homosocial triangle—regardless of the configuration of characters—is all female i n gender: A n n i e , Zoe, Mrs. (Ana) Richards; A n n i e , Ina, M r s . (Ana) Richards; A n n i e , Zoe, Ina; Zoe, Ina, M r s . (Ana) Richards. See chapter five, below. For a bravura reading of the "female homosocial triangle" as it relates to the "counterplot" of modern lesbian fiction, a reading that is as much a polemic against Sedgwick as it is the elaboration of a new critical model, see Terry Castle, The  53 Apparitional Lesbian, 66-91. In "plotting against what Eve Sedgwick has called the 'plot of male homosociality/" Castle concludes, the "archetypal lesbian fiction decanonizes, so to speak, the canonical structure of desire itself" (90). 5. The photographs accompanying the first edition have since been excised from all subsequent reprints of the text by McClelland and Stewart.  A study of h o w the  photographs impact on the text, both in terms of the construction of literary realism and the ironization of masculinity, bears further investigation. 6. Note, i n particular, the homoeroticism which suffuses the following passage: "Brian stopped and stared across at the Young Ben; he never saw the other boy without excitement stirring within him; as ever it was a wordless attraction strengthening w i t h each additional and fleeting glimpse he got of the Young Ben" (206). 7. For an examination of the risks involved in a "critical" use of the term "queer," see the last chapter of Judith Butler's Bodies That Matter. See also note 15, below. 8. See Charles Steele, ed., Taking Stock: The Calgary Conference on the Canadian Novel.  For dissenting opinions on this assessment see Malcolm Ross, "The  Canonization of A s For M e and M y House: A Case Study"; Lawrence Mathews, "Calgary, Canonization, and Class: Deciphering List B"; and Lecker, M a k i n g It Real 173-87. 9. See, i n this regard, Sedgwick's "Willa Cather and Others." 10. I cannot help thinking, in this context, of the fate of Earle Birney's D a v i d , in his famous narrative poem of the same name, a poem not without its o w n homosocial overtones. 11. See, for example, Linda Hutcheon, The Canadian Postmodern; Eva-Marie Kroller,  54 George Bowering: Bright Circles of Colour; Martin Kuester, Framing Truths: Parodic Structures in Contemporary English-Canadian Historical Novels; and Glenn Deer, Postmodern Canadian Fiction and the Rhetoric of Authority. 12. It is true, as the editors of the recent volume of essays Nationalisms and Sexualities claim i n their introduction, that Anderson's "book has relatively little to say about gender or sexuality" (4).  It is worth noting, however, that in his  concluding chapter, during a discussion of the nineteenth-century "imaginings of fraternity" i n the American fiction of James Fenimore Cooper (see note 1, above), Herman Melville and M a r k Twain, Anderson does concede—albeit i n a footnote—that "[rjather than a national eroticism, it is, I suspect, an eroticized nationalism that is at work [in these novels]" (202-203 n.32). 13. In his "Conclusion" to The Location of Culture H o m i Bhabha critiques both Foucault and Anderson for failing to introduce the question of race into the historical contests for power at the heart of the disciplinary regimes of sexuality and nationalism: "If Foucault normalizes the time-lagged, 'retroverse' sign of race, Benedict Anderson places the 'modern' dreams of racism 'outside history' altogether. For Foucault race and blood interfere with modern sexuality. For Anderson racism has its origins in antique ideologies of class that belong to the aristocratic 'prehistory' of the modern nation" (248). Bhabha has also pointed out the ahistoricism inherent i n Anderson's conception of the "modernity" of the imagined community of nationhood in "DissemiNation." See chapter two, below. 14. It was Stephen Heath, i n his 1978 essay "Difference," who first proclaimed that "the risk of essence may have to be taken" (99). Since then many poststructuralist  55 feminists have grappled with its import for the theory and practice of gender relations. Diana Fuss offers a critical overview of "the 'risk' of essence" i n the first chapter of Essentially Speaking, 1-21. See also the essays from the feminist journal differences collected by N a o m i Schor and Elizabeth Weed in The Essential Difference. In her provocative and influential essay, "Imitation and Gender Insubordination," Butler also has this to say on the topic of "identity" and "risk": "To propose that the invocation of identity is always a risk does not imply that resistance to it is always or only symptomatic of a self-inflicted homophobia" (14). But it does imply, I w o u l d hasten to point out, that such an invocation is always undertaken in contexts which make it risky.  15. Guillermo Verdecchia makes much the same point about borders i n his 1993 Governor General's A w a r d - w i n n i n g play, Fronteras Americanas. 16. For theoretical applications of "post" that are also "pre" see Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition; Richard Cavell, "Bakhtin Reads De M i l l e " ; and Bakhtin's discussion of the "chronotope" in The Dialogic Imagination, 84-257. 17. According to Berlant and Freeman, "Queer Nation's slogan ['We're here. We're queer. Get used to it.'] stages the shift from silent absence into present speech, from nothingness to collectivity, from a politics of embodiment to one of space, whose power erupts from the ambiguity of 'here.' Where?" (199).  Chapter Two  "Running Wilde": National Ambivalence and Sexual Dissidence in Timothy Findley's Fictions  Wilde proceeded to the Queen's Hotel for dinner, escorted b y Boyle and several other gentlemen. Little ragamuffins chased his carriage d o w n Yonge Street shouting, "Oscar, Oscar is running Wilde." W i l d e loved it. In Toronto he had the busiest itinerary i n Canada, and he fulfilled his social obligations with vigour and unswerving graciousness. N o one could accuse h i m of laziness. (Kevin O'Brien, Oscar Wilde i n Canada 97)  I think, too, constantly of Oscar Wilde, w h o came here [to Dieppe] after being released from gaol—and the Mayor refused to let h i m stay because—you will drive away all the English tourists, Mister Wilde! Well, he didn't drive us away—dear Oscar. A n d here we are enjoying splendid food and the rest we have needed now, for a year. (Timothy Findley, Inside Memory 207)  In 1882, having published only a few socialist fairy tales and a slim volume of poetry (Poems [1881]), and with his first play (Vera [1880]) having closed before it opened, Oscar Wilde, at the age of 27, embarked on a lecture tour of N o r t h 56  57 America. Although not having yet secured the pre-eminent position he felt he deserved, Wilde was by no means an obscure figure in English literary society at the time. A s one of the more flamboyant standard-bearers of a new artistic movement in Britain k n o w n as Aestheticism, he had achieved, at the very least, a measure of notoriety. Satirized routinely in George du Maurier's Punch cartoons, Wilde, through the dissemination of these images, actually came to instantiate corporeally the dandy and aesthete (his penchant for "cello coats," "Super Fancy A n g o l a suits," "plum-colored breeches and silk stockings," all manner of capes and cloaks, and of course those green carnations, already legendary [see Ellmann 87]). Indeed, it was Wilde—and not the more prominent philosophers/practitioners of the movement, such as W i l l i a m Morris, John Ruskin, Walter Pater, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and James Whistler—who was singled out for ridicule by Gilbert and Sullivan in their operetta Patience (1881), whose "rival aesthetes," Reginald Bunthorpe and Archibald Grosvenor, are both loosely based on Wilde (see Ellmann 134-36).  2  Ironically, it was the producer of Patience, Richard D ' O y l y Carte, who initially approached Wilde about lecturing in the United States and Canada. D ' O y l y Carte had brought a production of Patience to N e w York in September 1881 and was anxious to promote a series of speaking engagements by one of the leading exponents of Aestheticism as a tie-in for his audiences, "obviously want[ing] Wilde to be the living embodiment of what his opera was satirizing, in case Americans and Canadians did not get the joke" (O'Brien 24). Being in rather  58 desperate (creative as well as financial) straits, Wilde agreed at once to the tour, and set sail for N e w York on 24 December 1881. After a somewhat rocky start on the east coast of the U.S., Wilde abandoned his rather ponderous and overly academic lecture on "The English Renaissance"—in which he offered a broad history of the Aesthetic Movement and attempted to reconcile its divergent strains (i.e. the Pater-Swinburne-Whistler school of private creative art vs. the Ruskin-Morris-Rossetti school of public decorative art) through dictums similar to the Decadent mantra of "art for art's sake" taken up i n the 1890s —in favour of more audience-friendly talks on "The 3  Decorative Arts" and "The House Beautiful," and the lecture tour gathered momentum, garnering critical praise, winning over cynics and would-be detractors, and attracting larger and larger audiences. The Canadian leg of Wilde's N o r t h American itinerary—which took the writer to Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes—has been meticulously documented by K e v i n O'Brien in his book Oscar Wilde in Canada. It has also recently served as the backdrop to Jim Bartley's critically acclaimed play, Stephen & M r . Wilde, which examines the societal gulf between Wilde and Stephen Davenport, an American ex-slave and valet who accompanied Wilde on tour.  4  Wilde's Toronto engagement, in  particular, demonstrates how his reception in Canada as "an apostle for the arts"—to quote the subtitle of O'Brien's study—was further complicated by an accretion of discourses of (homo)sexuality and nationalism onto the simultaneously foregrounded and de-familiarized, at once specularized and delocalized, citings/sitings/sightings of Wilde's o w n body.  59 Of course, the fact that Wilde's body was used "so insistently as an index to such erotic and political meanings" (Sedgwick, "Nationalisms" 242) attests to the intense media scrutiny he was under even at this early stage i n his career. A n d even in such a far-flung outpost of Empire as Toronto, Canada! According to O'Brien, most of the newspaper reports on the two lectures Wilde delivered in Toronto were highly favourable. The one negative example that O'Brien cites, from the Evening Telegram, takes an interesting approach in its disparagement of the famous aesthete, noting that "Miss Oscar Wilde seems to be a charming young lady, although her costume is rather unfeminine," and that "[t]here is a great deal of good sense in what she says about hanging pictures, putting d o w n carpets, papering the walls, and painting the legs of the piano" (qtd. in O'Brien 107). In the following day's issue, the Evening Telegram goes even further, constructing a mock dialogue between the paper's editor and the simpering Wilde: "Dear, innocent Oscar, I forgot you were a passionate loving w o m a n , rich in girlish innocence. O h , Oscar! w i l l you crown the spring-time of m y life by taking a seat on the top of that register?" The fair creature sighed again. A plaintive, gentle, k i n d , Sunday-school sort of sigh, and she seated herself on the register, her feet about a foot from the floor, and the extremities of her pants about a foot from her feet. . . . In a devotional, revival meeting kind of voice, she at length said, "I am a man. . . . A yearner, it is true, after the lovable and the emotional, the beautiful and the soulful, but still a man. A base thing made of clay and w i t h a knowledge of the taste of beer. Yes, I  60 am a man. It is a painful thing for me to say. It is the skeleton in our o w n family, the blot on my life, the clog which drags me. d o w n and embitters my existence. O h ! if I only had been a woman!" A n d saying this, M r . Wilde joined the editor and they both wept. It was a touching sight. The one seated in the waste paper basket, the other on top of the register, and both their souls going out to each other in tears, (qtd. in O'Brien 108) I have quoted this extraordinary passage at such length in order to demonstrate how what was ostensibly written as derisive satire is in fact thoroughly imbricated in the emerging discourse of nineteenth-century sexology, a discourse w i t h which Wilde—as transitional figure, as embodied type—is also inextricably intertwined. In the concluding chapter of Male Subjectivity at the Margins, Kaja Silverman notes that between 1862 and 1895 (the date of Wilde's trials), male same-sex desire was frequently explained (and often defended) by sexologists like Havelock Ellis and K a r l Heinrich Ulrichs as "'anima in corpore virili inclusa'—a female soul enclosed in a man's body" (340). This is in keeping w i t h Foucault's argument in the first volume of The History of Sexuality—outlined above, i n chapter one—that "[homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy onto a k i n d of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul" (43; my emphasis). In this sense, the Evening Telegram's tongue-in-cheek epistemological inquiry into Wilde's closet (to skew Sedgwick's phrase) succeeds in "outing" h i m 13 years before the Marquis of Queensberry, whose libellous slander against Wilde was, after all, still  61  framed within a discourse of sodomy, albeit one subject to its o w n shifting parameters.  5  While the Evening Telegram foregrounded questions of sexual difference in its effete, feminized portrait of Wilde, another Toronto newspaper demonstrated that Wilde's body was also subject to certain destabilizing and counternormative nationalist inscriptions. A s the son of Lady "Speranza" Wilde, a celebrated Fenian poet, and as a somewhat reluctant spokesperson for Irish republicanism in his o w n right, Wilde's outsider status within the domestic sphere of the English empire meant that, in addition to his sexuality, "the consciousness of foundational a n d / o r incipient national difference already internal to national definition must have been part of what Wilde literally embodied" (Sedgwick, "Nationalisms" 242). A t least this is what he embodied to Patrick Boyle, editor of the Irish Canadian, who greeted W i l d e at the train station in Toronto '"on behalf of our Irish citizens,'" and whose paper, i n announcing Wilde's lecture, wished its '"distinguished young fellow-countryman'" a capacity audience "for the sake of 'his patriotic and talented mother, the gifted Speranza'" (O'Brien 97). Here Wilde's "othered" national identity (i.e. not British) serves as an index to his subsequent sexual transgressions, which likewise move across those boundaries that seem to guarantee domestic security and regulate sameness. That is, if the (always already) degenerate Irish Wilde can "masquerade" as English (in his comedies satirizing social manners no less than in his o w n "ventriloquized" speech and deportment) then what is to prevent h i m from "posing" as a sodomite or, worse  62 yet, a woman? To put this another way, a certain "tendency" toward "deviancy" is already inherent in Wilde's blood. Terry Eagleton frames the confluence of regulatory discourses within W i l d e more positively in the foreword to his play Saint Oscar when he states that "Wilde was perverse in much more than a sexual sense, and his sexual, social and artistic perversities are deeply interrelated" (xi). Noting that the impetus for his play came from the fact that several of his Oxford students did not know that W i l d e was Irish, Eagleton writes: "if I have tried to avoid writing a 'gay' play about [Wilde], this is not only because as a heterosexual I am inevitably something of an outsider in such matters, but because it seems to me vital to put that particular ambiguity or doubleness back in the context of a much wider span of ambivalences" (x-xi).^ A m o n g which we must of course include a degree of national ambivalence. * **  "[I]t is the mark of the ambivalence of the nation as narrative strategy," writes H o m i Bhabha i n "DissemiNation," "that it produces a continual slippage into analogous, even metonymic, categories, like the people, minorities, or 'cultural difference' that continually overlap in the act of writing the nation" (292). Picking up where he left off in such important essays as "Of M i m i c r y and M a n , " "Signs Taken for Wonders," and "Representation and the Colonial Text," Bhabha here applies the notion of "ambivalence," which he had previously invoked to describe the colonial discourse of "mimicry," to "the Janus-faced discourse of the nation" ("Introduction," Nation and Narration 3). Bhabha uses the term, both  63 linguistically and culturally, as a sign of doubleness, of indeterminacy, "a temporality of representation that moves between cultural formations and social processes without a 'centred' causal logic" ("DissemiNation" 293). Such an understanding of ambivalence, when applied to national narratives, forces a recognition that despite the authority and conviction w i t h which historians like Benedict Anderson write of the "origins" of nationalism and the nation-state as emblematic sign of cultural modernity, the "margins of the modern nation" (to allude to Bhabha's sub-title)—through the incorporation of new peoples, the generation of other meanings, and the formation of local sites of resistance in relation to the central body politic—have from the beginning been in the process of inscribing a much different national narrative, one whose temporal and spatial reconfiguration of boundaries is at once anti-national, post-national and transnational in dimension. In "DissemiNation" Bhabha seeks to articulate a methodology for the writing of a national narrative that w i l l accommodate the lived experiences of minority peoples, to theorize the basis for a hybridized, non-pluralistic politics of "cultural difference." In so doing, he rejects the standard metaphoric temporality of representation—which erases difference in the horizontal movement of a "homogenous empty time"—in favour of what he calls "a metonymic, iterative temporality" (306)—which allows for the nonsequential inscription of oppositional discourses and subjectivities within the often "ambivalent and chiasmatic intersections of time and place that constitute the problematic 'modern' experience of the western nation" (293). Bhabha, "modularly adapting" Anderson, labels this  64  supplementary space of cultural signification "the 'meanwhile/" a place "where cultural homogeneity and democratic anonymity make their claims on the national community," and where "there emerges a more instantaneous and subaltern voice of the people, a minority discourse that speaks betwixt and between times and  places"(309)7 Bhabha's postcolonialist concept of "national ambivalence" finds an interesting queer theory analogue, I w o u l d argue, in Jonathan Dollimore's term "sexual dissidence." In attempting at least a partial answer to the question of "why in our time the negation of homosexuality has been in direct proportion to its symbolic centrality; its cultural marginality in direct proportion to its cultural significance; w h y , also, homosexuality is so strangely integral to the selfsame heterosexual cultures which obsessively denounce it" (28), Dollimore formulates a complex theory of "perverse dynamics" and "transgressive reinscriptions," whereby otherness is at once contained within and produced by its "proximate" (i.e. temporal a n d / o r spatial; cf. Bhabha, above) relation to sameness (33). According to Dollimore, the "dissident dialectic" operating "betwixt and between" (to re-inscribe Bhabha's phrase) dominant and subordinate cultures, groups, and identities—especially vis-a-vis desire—produces a series of "displacements w h i c h constitute certain repressive discriminations," but which also "[denote] certain instabilities and contradictions within dominant structures which exist by virtue of exactly what those structures contain and exclude" (33). Needless to say, the "aesthetic of transgressive desire" performed throughout Oscar Wilde's oeuvre figures in Dollimore's eponymous book as a  65 primary—if not the pre-eminent—example of sexual dissidence (11 and passim). A n d as Sedgwick has demonstrated in her analysis of The Picture of Dorian Gray, at least one key text by Wilde can also be read in terms of what Bhabha describes as a narrative of national ambivalence (see "Nationalisms" 241-43; Epistemology of the Closet 171-76). In the remaining sections of this chapter I want to suggest that Timothy Findley's fictions perform a similar ambivalent/dissident function w i t h i n contemporary Canadian literature, particularly in relation to discourses of nationalism and sexuality. In choosing to evaluate Findley's work in this manner, I hope to develop an approach to (national) ambivalence and (sexual) dissidence that takes into account not only how the terms operate "diacritically" inside the text, but also how they are experienced "dialectically" across a broad spectrum of intertextual contingencies (the "chance" operations of language and narrative) and extratextual exigencies (the historical specificities of writing and reading). Posing the problem of ambivalence and dissidence in this way, to paraphrase Kobena Mercer, "not only underlines the role of the reader, but also draws attention to the important, and equally undecidable, role of context in determining the range of different meanings that can be produced from the same text" ("Skin Head Sex Thing" 170). Like Mercer, in his (re)reading of Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs, it is thus impossible for me to ignore the crucial changes in context that frame m y o w n highly ambivalent (and increasingly dissident) readings of Findley's work over the past decade or so, three different "temporalities of representation" (each roughly four years apart) that I have attempted to (re)iterate in what follows.  66  * »(• *  1985: Mississauga, Ontario. Grade 12 English class. Reading The Wars for the first time. There is something in the text, and particularly in the character of Robert Ross, that I find both connective and oddly discomfiting. On page 169 of the tattered Penguin edition that I am handed at the beginning of term someone—a previous highschool  conscriptee, no doubt—has pencilled the words "read between the lines" in the margin nea the bottom of the page. I read the lines of the novel immediately adjacent this boldly underlined injunction. All of them are made up of a single, simple sentence: Robert stood in the middle of the room.  He wanted a clean shirt.  He wanted a clean pair of underwear.  He wanted a pistol. (169) I try to heed my predecessor's advice and "read between the lines," but I am too literalminded and find myself focusing on the blank spaces in between the typed text, halfexpecting a secret message encoded in invisible ink to reveal itself under the glare of the classroom's fluorescent lights. So I read the lines of text immediately above instead: "His assailants, who he'd thought were crazies, had been his fellow soldiers. Maybe even his brother officers. He'd never know. He never saw their faces" (169). Next to this someone else has added—in ink this time—the word "FAGGOTS!"  67 In a recent article on The Last of the Crazy People, Barbara Gabriel has convincingly delineated "the Wildean traces" (188) in Findley's first novel, demonstrating h o w the character of Gilbert Winslow, in particular, inhabits a "stigmatized" site of homosexual figuration and quasi-martyrdom. Citing the example of De Profundis, in which Wilde draws overt parallels between his o w n suffering i n prison and the crucifixion of Christ, Gabriel argues that, paradoxically, Gilbert's "death-by-fire in a car suicide does not render h i m a perfect martyr-Christ. . . . If he remains a sacrificial figure like Christ, he is not innocent, but one who has betrayed innocence himself" ("Staging Monstrosity" 191). De Profundis, originally written as a long letter to L o r d Alfred Douglas during Wilde's last months at Reading Gaol, was first published in 1905—albeit in rather abbreviated form—by Robert Ross, a young Canadian man who in 1886, at the age of seventeen, became the Irish writer's first male lover, thereafter remained his closest and most loyal friend, and was subsequently designated his literary executor (see Ellmann 275-78). O n 1 A p r i l 1897 Wilde wrote to Ross informing h i m that he was dispatching the text of the Douglas letter to h i m under separate cover, stating that "if you are my literary executor, you must be i n possession of the only document that really gives any explanation of m y extraordinary behaviour w i t h regard to Queensberry and Alfred Douglas" (Selected Letters 240). In actual fact the manuscript was kept aside by the Prison Commission and handed back to Wilde upon his release from Reading Gaol on 18 M a y . Two days later, having taken the night boat from England to France, W i l d e conveyed it directly into the hands of Ross on a pier at Dieppe (Ellmann 528).  68 The coincidence of characters' names notwithstanding, this last detail from Wilde and Ross's "real-life" narrative w o u l d almost certainly not have been lost on Findley i n his "fictionalized" documentary account of (an)other Robert Ross—this one a nineteen year old Canadian soldier who undergoes his o w n ordeal by fire and displaced martyrdom in World War I France (see my second epigraph, above). However, according to Lorraine York's reading of The Wars, it is the literary-historical figure of Siegfried Sassoon, and not Oscar Wilde, who "looms over the entire novel" (Front Lines 46).  8  Interrupting Juliet d'Orsey's first  transcript, Findley's anonymous archivist-narrator decides that "[t]his is probably as  good a place as any to point out that Lord Clive Stourbridge, Juliet and Barbara's eldest brother, was one of the Cambridge poets whose best known work—like that of Sassoon and Rupert Brooke—has its roots in the war" (103). But it is also an equally good place for the attentive critic to point out that this parenthetical aside occurs in the midst of a long rumination by Juliet on the homosociality inherent both in her brother Clive's relationship w i t h Jamie Villiers and in Robert's relationship w i t h his ill ship-mate, Harris, w h o m Robert visits daily at the Royal Free Hospital in London: "Robert, though he never said so, loved Harris. It was clear in the w a y he dealt w i t h his death and in the way he spoke of him afterwards to me. The war was part of it too" (103). The war was indeed part of it. A s Paul Fussell notes in The Great War and M o d e r n Memory, the W o r l d War I poems of Sassoon, Brooke, and Wilfred O w e n , among others, display a "unique physical tenderness," coupled w i t h a "readiness  69 to admire openly the bodily beauty of young men," and "the unapologetic recognition that men may be in love with each other" (279-80). According to Fussell, these homoerotic elements are not found in the poetry of W o r l d War II, at least not to the same degree, because later soldier-poets had become more selfconscious of matters relating to homosexuality, due in part to the increasingly widespread popular dissemination of psycho-sexual treatises by Krafft-Ebing, Freud, and others.  9  (In other words, "homosocial desire" gets transformed and re-  articulated as "homosexual panic," evidenced in the routine purges of suspected gays from the "fraternal" ranks of national armies post-1945.) A n earlier remark made by Juliet (who, incidentally, counts among her favourite novels The Turn of the Screw and The Picture of Dorian Gray [154-55]) during the same transcript, however, attests to the fact that the spectre of Wilde still necessarily haunts such male-male attachments: "Barbara said that Clive had undermined Jamie's morals and she called them Oscar and Bosie and ultimately settled her affections elsewhere" (102). A s York remarks, "This sexual intolerance does not bode well for Barbara's relations with a young man of more cosmopolitan sympathies—especially one who shares the name of one of Oscar Wilde's closest and most constant lovers, one who stayed faithful to h i m throughout his trials" (Front Lines 39). It is of course Robert Ross who also provides the historical link between Wilde and Sassoon, having befriended the latter i n the years leading up to and during W o r l d War I (in addition to a similar sexual orientation, Sassoon w o u l d eventually come to share Ross's pacifist politics). A t any rate, according to York, Lady Barbara d'Orsey's successive  70 "conquests" of sexually ambivalent soldiers like Robert, Jamie, and Eugene Taffler "rivals, even parodies, the progress of the war in France" (39).  This is i n keeping  w i t h her reading—a reading w i t h which I am in substantial agreement—of The Wars as a doubly encoded narrative, one that recounts not only Robert's entry into "the male enclave of the army," but also his "wholesale conscription into heterosexuality" (38). For Frank Davey, the "inverse" is true. In a chapter included in his recent book, Post-National Arguments, he claims that W o r l d War I, as represented in Findley's text, marks Canada's full entry into a huge trans-national arena i n which official heterosexuality masks a violent homosexuality w h i c h drives all activities—business, sports, courtship, and war. A l l considerations of nation, family, region, ethnicity, or race, on which a national polis might be argued—in fact all social and political considerations—are erased here by this monolithic, ubiquitously textualized force of misdirected sexuality. The Wars can offer no social/textual alternative to this force. (126; my emphasis) The primary textual examples which Davey uses to support his assertions are, of course, the "sado-masochistic" sex scene between Taffler and the Swede w h i c h Robert witnesses in a brothel in Alberta, and Robert's rape by his fellow soldiers at the insane asylum in Desole. While I agree w i t h Davey that Findley's text "condemns the phallic authority on which nearly all the 'official' transactions of that culture are  71 conducted" (124), I take issue with his configuration of the discourses of nationalism and sexuality in outlining this condemnation. Indeed, in m y m i n d Davey has gotten everything "backwards." It is not "a violent homosexuality" w h i c h "drives almost all activities" in society; neither does it figure in The Wars as a "monolithic, ubiquitously textualized force of misdirected sexuality." Rather, i n both cases, it is the patriarchal discourse of "compulsory heterosexuality" w h i c h prescribes that all sexual relations, regardless of the gender(s) of the persons involved, be structured, if not commodified, as violent possession or r a p e .  10  Echoing York, Diana Brydon notes that in The Wars "[m]ale friendship is idealized; heterosexual relations are portrayed as destructive and predatory" ("A Devotion to Fragility" 82). Consider, in this regard, Juliet's description in her journal of Robert and Barbara having sex: "Barbara was lying on the bed, so her head hung d o w n and I thought that Robert must be trying to kill her. They were both quite naked. H e was lying on top of her and shaking her with his whole body. . . . Robert's neck was full of blood and his veins stood out. H e hated her" (156). Within the libidinal economy of Findley's text, then, the operative w o r d in the homosexual rape of Robert at Desole is not "homosexual"; it is "rape." Likewise, it is not the S / M sex between Taffler and the Swede—which is, after all, presented as consensual and performative ("He'd never even dreamed of such a thing—of being hit and wanting to be hit. Beaten. Or of striking someone else because they asked you to"; "The one who played the horse was bucking" [44; my emphasis])—that is so problematic, but rather Robert's "panicked" and violent  72 reaction to it, especially in the wake of his o w n failure "to perform" adequately w i t h the prostitute Ella: "He picked up a boot and held it i n his hand. Its weight alarmed h i m and the texture of its leather skin appalled h i m w i t h its human feel. H e threw the boot across the room and shattered the mirror" (45). Moreover, far from depicting homosocial/sexual relations as programmatically violent, I believe that The Wars can, and does, "offer [a] social/textual alternative to this force." For example, in claiming that "[t]here are no instances of even remotely fulfilling . . . homosexual relations" in the text (124), Davey curiously glosses over the strong bond established between Robert and Harris, which as we have already seen via Juliet's perceptive analysis, was a kind of "love-yes" (103): The thing was—no one since Rowena had made Robert feel he wanted to be with them all the time. If what he felt could be reduced to an understanding—that was it. T have to get over there and see him,' Robert w o u l d think every morning when he woke up. H e also wanted to be there if Harris spoke. Harris said the strangest things—lying on his pillows staring at the ceiling. Strange and provocative. Robert didn't know, sometimes, what to do w i t h Harris's sentences; where to fit them in his mind, or how to use them. H e only knew they went somewhere inside h i m and they didn't come back out. (95) Just as the sexually dissident impulses recorded in Sassoon's poetry provided a basis for his subsequent post-national pacifism (read: ambivalence), so  73 does Robert's initial ambivalence regarding Canada's involvement in W o r l d War I (he enlists less out of any sense of patriotic duty than to escape the domestic "wars" of his family, and specifically memories of his sister Rowena's death), combined w i t h his increasing experience of (homo)sexual dissidence (Taffler and the Swede, his relationship w i t h Harris, even his rape), contribute to his defiance of the misdirected nationalisms (i.e "us" versus "them") fuelling the carnage all around him. In attempting to save the horses, on w h o m the warring factions of E n g l a n d / C a n a d a and Germany surely have no "national" claim, Robert is struggling to "do" something w i t h the "strange" and "provocative" sentences of Harris, w h o swam repeatedly w i t h schools of whales off the coast of N o v a Scotia, just as Robert ran night after night with the coyote on the prairies in Alberta. This "will-to-action" necessarily involves a sexual component as well. A s Findley has remarked i n conversation w i t h Graeme Gibson, "the blessed relief of action" is "almost like orgasm in a funny way": "It's a terrible striving for a necessary climax without which we do go insane. . . . [A]nd that's what I mean by 'orgasm'—it's to do that thing that simply must be done" (144-45). Robert, who "wished w i t h all his heart that men could embrace," but "knew now they couldn't" (The Wars 171), embraces instead an animal that symbolizes both "the sexuality he fears" (Taffler being "ridden" by the Swede)  and "a way of life that is under threat from the  machine" (Brydon, "Devotion" 82). Davey's commodification/conflation of identities (both national and sexual) in his reading of The Wars ignores the ways in which Robert's "necessary climax," his gesture "against despair," sunders the (re)productive use-value of  74 (hetero)sexual desire and disrupts traditional power relations in trans-national, capitalist, and patriarchal economies. In this regard, he is at odds w i t h Richard Dellamora, who, in his reading of Mauberley's "heroic gesture" in Famous Last Words, argues that Findley "subverts the doxa of [A]nglo-Canadian culture while passionately affirming homosexual difference" (197).  12  * **  1989-90: Toronto. Final year of undergraduate study at U of T. Completing an Honours thesis entitled "Clarity of Gesture, Clarity of Mind: Action and Insanity in Timothy Findley's Fiction" as fulfillment of a degree requirement towards a B.A. in English and History. Without ever having read Foucault's Madness and Civilization, I produce a highly competent thematic analysis of the "will-to-action" inspired by various forms of "madness" in Findley's novels and short fiction. My advisor, W.J. Keith, in his assessment of the 54 page essay, writes that what impressed him most about the effort was "Mr. Dickinson's ability to undertake and complete the project with only the minimum of supervision on my part." The anonymous second reader wishes that I had engaged more fully "in a discussion of the relation between the issues raised by the paper and Findley's own homosexuality." No doubt because I am wrestling with my own ambiguous sexuality at the time, poised precariously on the verge of "coming out," this latter comment troubles me a great deal. In the end, however, my still predominantly New Critical sensibilities enable me to put it out of my mind, if only temporarily. After all, the essay has been judged worthy of an A+ grade. And I soon receive notice that it has won a competition sponsored by University College for best graduating essay.  75 Commenting on the "(homo)erotic" collaborations between John A d d i n g t o n Symonds and Havelock Ellis, and T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, Wayne Koestenbaum argues i n Double Talk that the texts which resulted from these respective partnerships—Sexual Inversion (1897) and The Waste L a n d (1922)—reflect "the violence that modernists w i l l wreak on their Wildean precursors: he-men, they w i l l subdue homosexual writing tendencies (the 'literary' values of symbolism and Uranian verse) in an effort to be scientific" (50). A t the same time, however, Koestenbaum goes on to acknowledge that in submitting his '"scrawling, chaotic poem'" before Pound for scrutiny, Eliot's "male modernist anus . . . achieves a weird flowering. . . Pound penetrates Eliot's waste land, and fills the hollow man w i t h child" (123). In seeking to "cure" The Waste Land "of its hysteria," as Koestenbaum points out, "Pound's gestures are paradoxical; he denounces instances of linguistic effeminacy, and yet the very act of intruding commentary is homosexually charged. . . . The act of queerying—critiquing, editing, collaborating—has suspicious overtones of queerness, inferences which Pound highlights and denies" (124). Building upon Koestenbaum's analysis, Richard Dellamora has recently noted the extent to which Findley further "queeries" this collaboration between Eliot and Pound in Famous Last Words, where "an exaggeratedly masculine P o u n d plays the role of the intellectual or artistic male who has nurtured the talent of the ephebe" (190). In Findley's revisionist account, however, the ephebe is not T.S. Eliot, but rather H u g h Selwyn Mauberley, the disaffected title character from Pound's eponymous poem, written two years before The Waste Land. Like  76 Eliot, Mauberley approaches Pound—his surrogate "father"—for literary guidance.  13  A t the outset of Famous Last Words we learn that Pound duly  "become[s] his mentor," predicting that "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley w o u l d become the greatest writer of his time." In Mauberley's case, however, Pound "was wrong" (4, 5). That Findley's Mauberley fails to achieve the same literary apotheosis as Pound's Eliot reflects in part postmodernism's ambivalence toward modernist master narratives (national a n d / o r sexual), as well as Findley's o w n more dissident attempts to u n - / re-cover the Wildean traces latent in those narratives, to expose their doubly coded (again national a n d / o r sexual) and repressed lines of authorship/discipleship. In this regard, it is entirely appropriate that the ephebe in Findley's text is also rather effete, that the Prufrockian, sexually neurasthenic tendencies Pound sought to excise from Eliot's The Waste L a n d should come back to haunt h i m in Famous Last Words in the form of his o w n poetic creation. The man w h o i n Pound's poem is simply "out of key w i t h his time" ("Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" 1.1) becomes, in Findley's novel, "the type of a generation of closeted homosexuals born shortly after the Wilde trials of 1895" (Dellamora 177), a "flit" w h o inhabits "the world of white linen suits" which Pound "cannot bear" (Findley, F L W 82).  14  "Bashing back" in this manner, at least metafictively speaking (see Ingham), Findley is, I w o u l d argue, seeking "to find a new channel for the violence" perpetrated historically "against my kind" (Findley to Benson 113), to recreate a minority narrative of national ambivalence and sexual dissidence both w i t h i n and  77 without, both inside and outside, the homoerotic/homophobic regimes of fascism and modernism. A s Dellamora puts it, Findley's "novel opens new possibilities for writing both as a gay and a Canadian," creating imaginative spaces of identification that place an emphasis on "self-reflexive change": "becoming conscious of and responsible for one's sexuality, becoming conscious of oneself as the subject of a national experience which is not contained within the limits of relations to imperial powers" (173, 174). Ironically, in Famous Last Words this process of "self-reflexive change," of coming to (sexual and national) consciousness, w o u l d appear to be mobilized by "retrograde" behaviours and ideologies, in particular Mauberley's apparent willing accession to fascistic and masochistic impulses. D r a w i n g on the work of film critic Joan Mellen, Gabriel, in another recent Findley article, this one on The Butterfly Plague, has commented on how Italian neo-expressionist films "such as Luciano Visconti's The Damned (1968) and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist (1970) configured the personality type most susceptible to Fascism in structures of homoeroticism and sadomasochism" ("Performing the Bent Text" 228).  In fact, as Gabriel notes, such filmic  representations are necessary "misreadings, their theatrical framings at odds w i t h the darker, as w e l l as more accurate, picture of the fate of homosexuals under National Socialism" (228).  Indeed, it is not simply that homosexuality has  occasionally flirted w i t h fascism (cf., for example, the early drawings of T o m of Findland; the writings of Yukio M i s h i m a ; and the fetish wear of 1970s Fire Island, as described by Larry Kramer in Faggots), but rather that fascism has 17  78 historically courted homosexuality. A s George Mosse points out in Nationalism and Sexuality, the German national cult of Mdnnerbund, later to be superseded by Mannerstaat under the direction of Heinrich Himmler and the Nazis, consciously drew upon the aesthetic codes of classical Greece in constructing the male body as site/sight of (homo)erotic spectacle (see 58-62 and 153-80). In this sense, fascism (or at least German National Socialism) needs homosexuality, if only as an absolute "Other" against which to exorcise the homosociality inherent in its rituals of male beauty and fraternal bonding. However, despite all of this, in Famous Last Words Findley, seemingly stealing a page from Visconti and Bertolucci, makes it clear that part of Mauberley's attraction to fascism is sexual and, moreover, masochistic. Following his impromptu lunch w i t h Diana and Edward Allenby in Venice, during which the fall of Ethiopia to Mussolini's army is announced, Mauberley fantasizes about a young Blackshirt passing his table: "I turned in my chair and watched that young man going away. A n d I went away w i t h him—in my mind. A n d knelt before his strength. A n d his victory" (91). Interpreting this scene within a classical Freudian scopic regime, Stephen Scobie claims that "[t]his passage defines, more clearly than anything else in the novel, the nature of Mauberley's attraction to Fascism. It originates in his psychological need to compensate for his father's abdication of male power, and it takes the form of a masochistic compulsion to replay . . . his o w n sense of powerlessness while watching his father's suicide" ("Eye-Deep i n H e l l " 216). Moreover, according to Scobie, the "physical humiliation which [Mauberley] fantasises at the hands of the Blackshirt" is later enacted, "even more drastically, in the scene where Harry Reinhardt forces  79 h i m to lick Sir Harry Oakes's blood from his murderer's hands" (216). I want to argue, however, that Scobie's equation/conflation of these two phantasmatic scenes is a serious misreading of the ambivalent/dissident nature of Mauberley's masochism. In Male Subjectivity at the Margins Silverman, following from and building upon Freud's somewhat problematical Oedipal insights in ' " A C h i l d is Being Beaten,'" distinguishes between two different, although related, categories of male masochism: "moral masochism" and "feminine masochism." The former category, according to Silverman, occurs at the level of ego-identification, w i t h the morally masochistic male subject turning "away from the paternal ego-ideal to the maternal one, and from identification w i t h the father to identification w i t h the mother." By contrast, she says, the feminine masochistic male subject "literalizes the beating fantasy, and brings this cruel drama back to the body" (195). In both cases, however, "the father is left holding the whip at the level of the unconscious fantasmatic" and, as such, the male masochist "not only prefers the masquerade of womanliness to the parade of virility, but he articulates both his conscious and his unconscious desires from a feminine position" (212-13).  18  Scobie's reading of  the masochism displayed by Mauberley in Famous Last Words as stemming from his father's "abdication of power" is already at odds with the Freudian schema outlined by Silverman, where the father is "left holding the whip." But things get even more complicated if we analyze Mauberley's passive-aggressive behaviour in terms of a third category of masochism, one that Silverman introduces i n her chapter on T.E. Lawrence.  80 A s Silverman astutely notes, the commitment to Arab nationalism expressed by Lawrence in Seven Pillars of W i s d o m is clearly dependent on the author's homosexuality and, what's more, his masochism. They are all part of the same libidinal economy, albeit each in differing degrees of (de)sublimation.  In  adopting local Bedouin attitudes, customs, and dress, that is, i n "seeking to imitate the Arabs to the point where they might be prompted to imitate h i m back"—what Silverman labels a "double mimesis"—the Lawrence of Seven Pillars, according to Silverman, "both inverts and doubles the classic colonial paradigm" (312). This (re)inversion and doubleness is also characteristic of Lawrence's masochism, which (before the episode at Deraa, at any rate) articulates itself in terms of a "dual identificatory relation" to "the contradictions inherent in masculinity" (Silverman 327, 326). Silverman labels this kind of masochism "reflexive masochism," a "pathology" which allows the male subject to "[suffer/enjoy] pain without renouncing activity," to occupy "at the same time both an active and a passive position" (324, 325). Thus, reflexive masochism, much more so than feminine masochism, for example, retains an element of agency, "the agency w h i c h performs the assault, and that which suffers it" (Silverman 326). It is worth pointing out, in this regard, that in an earlier draft of Famous Last Words, Findley, in addition to Charles Lindbergh, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and a host of other historical personages, "also had T.E. Lawrence in the book" (Findley, "The Marvel of Reality" 6). Lawrence was eventually dropped from the text, but one of his fellow British officers, E d w a r d Allenby—whom Lawrence identifies in Seven Pillars as "[coming] nearest to m y longings for a  81 master" (582)—remained. A n d , I w o u l d argue, so did Lawrence's peculiar blend of masochism, which gets transformed and re-invented in the character of Mauberley, who is likewise made "to suffer" under Allenby's "cool" severity in Venice (FLW 85). A n d yet, where Silverman detects in Seven Pillars a gradual progression by Lawrence from reflexive to feminine masochism (culminating in his torture and "rape" at Deraa), I want to suggest that the "inverse" is true of Mauberley in Famous Last Words. While it is possible to read Mauberley's fantasy about fellating the Blackshirt as an instance of feminine masochism, his subsequent licking of Sir Harry Oakes's blood from Reinhardt's hands must not be construed, as Scobie w o u l d have us believe, as the same thing. Rather, it represents the culmination of a process of "self-reflexive change" (cf. Dellamora, above) within Mauberley, and, more specifically, his movement from feminine to reflexive masochism. Moreover, the sexual dissidence recorded in this movement by Findley cannot be divorced from his simultaneous preoccupation w i t h charting a specific trajectory of national ambivalence. Sir Harry Oakes, at whose Bahamian estate Mauberley finds himself lodged in the summer of 1943, is the sole Canadian character in Findley's novel. A n d w i t h i n h i m , as Dellamora points out, Findley "inverts a number of the selfflattering cliches of anglo-Canadian culture" (182).  A n American by birth,  Oakes's "manner," we are told by Mauberley, "was appalling," his "rudeness and meanness . . . legendary" (FLW 331). When all of his millions—amassed from gold mines near Kirkland Lake, Ontario—failed to buy h i m a seat in the Canadian Senate, Oakes promptly went to England, where he "was able to purchase a  82 baronetcy": "If Canada had slighted him, Canada w o u l d be sorry" (331). To this end, he makes another deal, absconding—along w i t h his money—from his adopted homeland to the Bahamas, where '"taxes [are] next to nothing . . . [and] death duties n i l ' " (332). Here the brash and vulgar Canadian forges an unusual neocolonial (i.e. mercenary) alliance w i t h the Duke of Windsor, "the epitome of all that is civilized, genteel, and respected" (332). However, when the Duke, in his capacity as titular representative of the British government, proves unable to banish Oakes's son-in-law, Count A l f r e d de Marigny (whom Sir Harry suspects of having corrupted/seduced his son, Sydney), from the island colony, this alliance breaks down. A n d , moreover, when Oakes's ensuing crises of nationalism and sexuality threaten to disrupt the Duchess of Windsor's o w n plans for escape, Mauberley is forced to take action. In requesting of Reinhardt Sir Harry Oakes's murder, the one documented crime in the novel for which he is clearly responsible, Mauberley is, I w o u l d argue, moving from feminine to (self-)reflexive masochism: "The realization I was alone w i t h this horror drew me to my feet. It dawned on me what Reinhardt had in m i n d . This murder I had asked h i m for was to be mine completely, and when the authorities came it w o u l d be mine to pay for" (380). Of course, whether or not this reflexively masochistic gesture, along w i t h Mauberley's more passive acquiescence to the horrors around h i m , can likewise be recuperated as a moral one (especially in light of his subsequent written "confession" on the walls of the Grand Elysium Hotel) is left open by virtue of the text's frame narration. Whereas Captain Freyburg thinks that Mauberley is trying  83 to "[w]hitewash" the truth, Lieutenant Q u i n n insists that he is simply trying to "[t]eir it: "About himself. Including the mistakes he made" (FLW 154). But if, ultimately, Findley's exploration of nationalism and sexuality leans more toward ambivalence in Famous Last Words, the intersections and discontinuities between the two discourses receive a decidedly more dissident treatment i n N o t Wanted on the Voyage. * **  1993: Vancouver. First year in the Ph.D. program at UBC. Undertaking, as part of my course work, a directed reading with Margery Fee on representations of masculinity in the recent fiction of Findley and South African writer Stephen Gray. Headhunter has just been released and for some reason reading it touches a nerve. Buoyed perhaps by the recent release of Queeries: An Anthology of Gay Male Prose, in which I have a story, and having learned that Findley's withdrawal of support from a similar project precipitated its collapse, I decide to ask a slightly polemical—and strategically essentialist—question of the author during his "Out and Out" conversation with Jane Rule at this year's Writers and Readers Festival: Why are there so few positive representations of gay sexuality in your fiction? In the end, with Eleanor Wachtel having acknowledged my waving hand, and under the watchful gaze of no less than three Rogers Cable video cameras, I chicken out slightly and re-phrase the question solely in relation to Headhunter. This is, nevertheless, enough to rile Findley, who informs me that the novel is deliberately dystopic and that if I am interested in reading its obverse then I should pick up a copy of his latest work of drama, The Stillborn Lover. I do not tell him that I have already read the play and that it disappointed me even more than Headhunter. The next day I re-read the text of Findley's  84 1987 address to the Philosophical Society of Trent University, which comprises the final section of Inside Memory. I pause over the following passage: If I am a hiding place for monsters—and I am—then I can also be a hiding place for harmony. Or, at least, I can imagine such a thing. (314-15) And I remind myself that if Findley hasn't imagined such a thing in Headhunter, then at least he has done so in another, equally dystopic, fiction: Not Wanted on the Voyage contains perhaps his most positive representation of "harmonious " gay sexuality—in the midst of unspeakable monstrosity—in the couple of Ham and Lucy.  A s the Prologue to Findley's fifth novel, N o t Wanted on the Voyage, is set up typographically on the page, we first read the italicized quotation from chapter seven, verse seven of the Book of Genesis:  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. . . (3) What follows is Findley's immediate deconstruction of this passage, the first line of his narrative—"Everyone knows it wasn't like that" (3)—informing us that the traditional version of the Biblical flood story w i l l be radically re-written, and at the same time drawing our attention to Findley's text as a highly self-conscious w o r k of postmodernist fiction. Moreover, on the verso of this page, once again in  85 italics, Findley (p)re-writes a portion of his o w n text, reproducing that section of the narrative in which M r s . Noyes discovers the blazing funeral pyre her husband has erected in their house prior to the ark's departure, which is, in fact, nothing more than a senseless slaughter of defenceless animals, those deemed unworthy of boarding the ark (4, 123-24).  19  Thus, the text's propensity for emotional chronology, non-linear representation, multiple focalization, and montage (tropes used to similar effect in The Wars and Famous Last Words) indicates that it is as much a narrative about narrative as it is about the story found in Genesis.  20  Indeed, it is this spatial  and temporal disunity at the beginning of Voyage, located in the very act of writing (or re-writing) a N e w W o r l d / n a t i o n , and thus reminiscent of Bhabha's/Anderson's "meanwhile," which points to the possibility of establishing a narrative of history (as opposed to a history of narrative), wherein "historical" events can be re-contextualized and re-examined both inside and outside of the constraints of cultural marginality. Certainly Findley's use of such a narrative strategy points to his rejection of the mimetic tradition in literature, of the frequent "link between historicism and realism, between the plausibility of linear order and coherence in history and the immediate evidence of the real i n Literature," which Bhabha sees as so characteristic of the representation of the colonial subject ("Representation" 95). Voyage is, therefore, deliberately anachronistic and ahistorical, or rather necessarily ambivalent w i t h respect to iterative, or recursive, temporalities of representation (history may have a habit of repeating itself, to be sure, but never  86 in exactly the same way). A s we have seen with The Wars and Famous Last Words, Findley's awareness of history and fiction as ideologically conditioned makes it possible for h i m to reconfigure his o w n imaginary relation—as a gay man, as a (post)national subject—to "critical moments" in time and space (floods, wars, etc.), to rethink allegorically the epistemological foundations of history as a mode of narrativizing experience. A s such, Voyage not only "re-enter[s] the western episteme at one of its most fundamental points of origination" (Ashcroft et al. 104), that is, the first time the world ended, but also at a point in modern history k n o w n as the Holocaust, that period which perhaps bore witness to the second time the world (almost) ended. Diana Brydon is one prominent critic w h o argues convincingly for this kind of "post-Holocaust, post-colonial" allegorical reading of Voyage. According to Brydon, like The Butterfly Plague and Famous Last Words before it, "The novel may be read as a parable challenging the imperialist version of colonization as well as a warning against fascist eugenics and the impossible fascist quest for purity of any kind" ("Timothy Findley" 587).  Likewise, York  claims that Voyage "is, i n fact, every bit as much a retelling of the European Holocaust story as it is a nuclear-age revision of Biblical myth" (Front Lines 107). Indeed, at the level of the text, the ark, w i t h its seemingly endless depths of animals crowded together and starving in perpetual darkness, is easily equated w i t h a concentration camp, Noah's blazing funeral pyre w i t h N a z i ovens. Similarly, the barring of the fairies from the ark, and their consequent drowning, refigures allegorically the fate of many homosexuals during the Holocaust. Moreover, both Yaweh ("he-way") and Dr. Noyes ("no/yes"), w i t h their categorical  87 edicts and "double-talk," serve as excellent studies in demagoguery. The former's references to "corruption," "contamination," and "monstrous perversions" in his impassioned speech on the "Great Experiment" (soon to turn into a kind of "Final Solution") when he first arrives at the Noyes house (89) echo similar anti-Semitic and homophobic pronouncements made by N a z i propagandists in the name of racial and sexual (i.e. national) purity.  22  In this regard, Noah's status as a  putative member of the medical profession, along with his o w n frequent "experiments" on Mottyl's kittens and his savage murder of the physically deformed Lotte-children, perhaps does more to establish h i m as a kind of Dr. Mengele figure. A t any rate, his presence at the helm of the ark does not bode well for Lucy, who claims that she joined the human race "[i]n order to survive the holocaust in heaven. In order to prevent the holocaust on earth" (110). But if, at one level, Brydon sees Findley's re-writing of Genesis in Voyage functioning as an allegory of the cultural genocide enacted by N a z i Germany during W o r l d War II, so, at another level, does she interpret the text as a kind of national allegory, a postmodernist fable—to transpose the title of one of her articles—about "inventing Canadian beginnings," a "dream of tory origins." Reading Voyage against the grain of George Grant's 1965 Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism, Brydon argues that "Findley doesn't simply turn Biblical narrative on its head; he advocates change as a return to lost origins. . . . To what extent this technique works as a strategic claiming of formerly conceded ground and to what extent it undermines itself by excessive  88 lamentation for what has been lost is an open question" ("The Dream of Tory Origins" 40). The status of allegory as a contested narrative structure within national literatures of the postcolonial diaspora (see JanMohamed) took on added significance i n academic circles when Fredric Jameson boldly asserted i n the pages of Social Text that "all third-world texts are necessarily . . . allegorical, and in a very specific way: they are to be read as what I w i l l call national allegories" ("Third W o r l d " 69). To be sure, such a sweeping generalization necessarily raised the ire of several prominent critics. Not only is Jameson's theory of textual production "grounded in a binary opposition between a first and a third world," according to Aijaz A h m a d , but it also valorizes nationalism as "the necessary, exclusively desirable ideology" (5-6). Likewise, Stephen Slemon prefers to shift Jameson's "modality of critical access away from the determining structure of the firstw o r l d / t h i r d - w o r l d binary into the problematics of what might more accurately be called the conditions of post-coloniality," a move which also allows for the identification of an "interventionary, anti-colonialist" allegorical impulse within "those colonising/settler societies such as anglophone Canada or white Australia and N e w Zealand" ("Monuments of Empire" 9-10, 11). I recognize that the critical caveats made by A h m a d and Slemon are integral to any reading of Findley's "second-world" text as allegorical. But, like Sara Suleri in her analysis of the "necessary misreadings" of Jameson and A h m a d , I am unwilling to dispense completely w i t h "the situatedness of nationalism in the colonial encounter" (The Rhetoric of English India 14). Echoing Bhabha's  89 comments on national narratives, Suleri calls for a "provisional" "collapsing of the idea of nation into the structure of allegory," and a "reading of the narratives at hand for their revision of the more precarious question of the complicities of memory between a colonial and a postcolonial w o r l d " (14; my emphasis). A "provisional" reading of the post-colonial/-national allegories operating i n Voyage reveals them to be profoundly ambivalent ones. Writing between two worlds, Findley is attuned to the one-step-forward-two-steps-backward march of time (in this regard, Lucy, herself caught between two worlds—heaven and earth—can be seen as incarnating Benjamin's "Angel of History"), and to time's "syntax" of remembering and forgetting, or "forgetting to remember" (Bhabha, "DissemiNation" 311; see also Benedict Anderson 204-206). "It is this forgetting—a minus in the origin," writes Bhabha, "that constitutes the beginning of the nation's narrative" ("DissemiNation" 310). A n d yet, Findley is also conscious of another temporality of representation shaping his story. That is, he recognizes that a national narrative, which is in essence a "new world" narrative, "can not be written evangelically" (Benedict Anderson 205); it cannot exist a priori, like the Bible. Rather, it can only be endlessly re-written, making visible in the process all of the discontinuities and cultural differences that compose it. A s Brydon remarks, "Findley shows the narrative of origins as the site of a power struggle. H e redefines Noah's new order, not as a divinely sanctioned origin for a new w o r l d but as a strategically grasped beginning" ("The Dream of Tory Origins" 39). Unlike George Grant, then, Findley does not "lament" what has been lost i n this power struggle; however, neither does he speculate overly long on what  90  might have been gained. Indeed, in Voyage, I w o u l d argue, Findley subverts the notion of creating a N e w W o r l d in any way different from the O l d by removing the central topos necessary for any Utopian representation of cultural alterity, namely M o u n t Ararat, that symbol which Northrop Frye identifies in The Great Code as the N e w W o r l d "type" to the O l d W o r l d "anti-type" figured in M o u n t Parnassus.  23  Thus, while I believe that post-diluvial diasporas and post-  Holocaust nationalisms function as potential allegories for the processes of colonization and de-colonization, I also believe that once the narrative of origins is dis-located by a new set of textual logics (where, for example, closure or end-time is resisted rather than consecrated), we begin to see just how problematic these binaries (Old W o r l d / N e w W o r l d , First W o r l d / T h i r d W o r l d , colonized/decolonized) are. W i t h his temporally disjunctive re-writing of the traditional Genesis story, Findley offers an ironic post-colonial, post-national twist to an old myth—re-creation as simulacrum—at the same time as he exposes the potential beginnings of a new one—difference as sameness (as encapsulated i n the national metaphors of Canadian pluralism and multiculturalism, for example). But if, to paraphrase Stephen Slemon, Voyage "inhabitfs] the site of allegorical figuration" in order to subvert "the social 'text' of [nationalism]" ("PostColonial Allegory" 11), then this process also involves a reclamation of certain disavowed "subtexts" of sexuality. A n d , again to paraphrase Slemon, "the ways in which [Findley's text] performs this counter-discursive activity are inherently differential and diverse" (11). First, by locating the novel's moral consciousness in Noah's long-suffering wife, M r s . Noyes, and her blind female cat, M o t t y l , Findley  91 offers his readers an alternatively gendered world-view to the dominant patriarchal discourse espoused by Yaweh and Noah. Moreover, at the level of individual speech acts, or utterances, Findley imbues these characters w i t h dissident/dissonant modes of discourse (Mrs. Noyes' semiotic communication w i t h the fairies, Mottyl's "whispers"), private "vernaculars" which are positioned in defiant opposition to the hegemony of Noah's "oracular" pronouncements. However, it is the "dissident vernacular"  disseminated by the cross-dressing  angel, Lucy, which provides the most serious challenge to Noah's authority. A n d it is m y contention that this particular counter-discourse is articulated i n Findley's text through camp stylistics. In her article on The Butterfly Plague, Barbara Gabriel argues that "[t]hough an over-determined allegory of a plague of dreams of perfection governs the narrative strands of the novel dealing w i t h both H o l l y w o o d and N a z i Germany, transgressive meanings around gender and sexuality repeatedly break up this frame, providing a textual underground of dissident meanings" (228-29; my emphasis). According to Gabriel, "The most pervasive of these [dissident meanings] operates in the performative register of camp, providing a subversive reading of the dominant narrative cinema of H o l l y w o o d that operates w i t h i n the codes and conventions of gay spectatorship" (229). So too w i t h Voyage, I w o u l d argue. In his sexually dissident re-reading of the Biblical flood myth, Findley uses camp simultaneously to operationalize and destabilize his (post)national allegory of origins. Through this supplementary temporality of representation, he is able  92 to record a minority (counter)discourse, or vernacular, inscribed "betwixt and between" the unwritten and the endlessly rewritten spaces of cultural difference. C a m p , for many decades regarded, along w i t h drag, as one of the worst identificatory manifestations of internally homophobic and misogynist gay men, has, i n recent years, been re-politicized by contemporary queer criticism.  25  To  this end, Carole-Anne Tyler, in a recent article, has noted that not only femininity but even macho masculinity is now being read as camp and, therefore, radically subversive. Tyler cautions that it is important to read camp, as an interpretative discourse that participates in the production of meaning and, therefore, "the reproduction of subjectivity," contextually and "symptomatically": "In whose eyes is what chic radical? This is the difficult question theorists need to ask themselves w h e n considering the function of camp, which is not the same thing to everybody" (33, 34). Echoing Bhabha on "colonial mimicry," Tyler concludes that "[c]amp (like mimicry) functions complexly by dragging in many differences articulated w i t h phallic narcissism in a symbolic which is really a white, bourgeois, and masculine fetishistic imaginary" (62). Dollimore, who likewise associates the (counter) discourse w i t h mimicry, prefers to drag camp's differences "out," situating them "in relation to other strategies of survival and subversion, especially the masquerade of femininity, and the mimicry of the colonial subject" (312). In so doing, he emphasizes not only camp's inherent "dissidence," but also its peculiar "ambivalence": What it [camp] might be found to share w i t h the first [masquerade] is a simultaneous avoidance and acting out of the ambivalence w h i c h  93 constitutes subordination, and a pushing of that ambivalence to the point of transgressive insight and possibly reinscribed escape. A s for the colonial context, H o m i Bhabha argues that here mimicry is both a strategy of colonial subjection—an appropriation, regulation, and reform of the other—and, potentially, a way of menacing colonial discourse in and through an inappropriate imitation by the native, one which reveals the normative structure of colonial control. (312-  13; my emphasis) Dollimore's invocation of the concept of "strategy" here is, I believe, important; for, in examining how camp functions in Findley's text, I want to make a distinction between camp as parodic, imitative excess and camp as strategic selfstyling. Like Dollimore, I see the former definition of camp as corresponding w i t h psychoanalytic theories of masquerade, as well as Bhabha's notion of "colonial mimicry," both of which are enacted through an appropriation of the symbolic imaginary of the O t h e r .  26  By contrast, I am suggesting that camp, when  conceived of as strategic self-styling, as a "transgressive reinscription" of the "perverse dynamics" of "sexual dissidence" (to allude once again to Dollimore), functions analogously not only w i t h Foucault's discussion of sexual aesthetics/ascetics/ethics in the later volumes of The History of Sexuality, but also w i t h postcolonial theories of national hybridity, practices, or "technologies," of self-disciplining and self-invention both actualized and resisted through the body  2 7  94 To the extent that bodies are also texts, camp thus legitimates not simply a w a y of being in the w o r l d , but also a way of reading the w o r l d , one that admits the aesthete, the sexual nonconformist, the decadent liar "into [its] charmed circle," one that deems truth "entirely and absolutely a matter of style" (Wilde, "The Decay of L y i n g " 301, 305). For Eve Sedgwick, camp, when viewed as a kind of strategic reader response theory, "involve[s] a gayer and more spacious angle of view": "the sensibility of camp-recognition always sees that it is dealing i n reader relations and in projective fantasy (projective though not infrequently true) about the spaces and practices of cultural production" (Epistemology 156). In such a realm of projective fantasy, at least as it is constructed in Findley's text, it thus becomes possible not only to recognize a camp sensibility operating within the character of Lucy, but also within her/his seeming antithesis, Japeth. Indeed, it w o u l d appear that Japeth and Lucy—in their respective selfstylings as hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine—occupy opposite poles on the "camp continuum." According to Martin Humphries, "exaggeratedly masculine men are 'camp,'" if for no other reason than that "[t]he shift to machismo has redirected our attention to ourselves as objects of desire and this results in a radical reversal of the self-image of many gay men" (79, 82). It is just such a radical reversal of self-image that Japeth—the "sexual ignoramus . . . and virgin to boot," the person who "did not even know what 'perverted' meant" (77)—is looking for at the beginning of Voyage: About two weeks ago—driven to distraction by Emma's refusal to sleep w i t h h i m and by his o w n inability to force the issue—Japeth  95 had taken off along the road, heading for the Cities. H i s leaving was not unlike the stories told in fairy tales of lads who, unhappy at home, set off to conquer the great world as dragon slayers and giant killers. Japeth's quest was to find his manhood once and for all—and, returning, to slay the dragon of Emma's virginity and kill the giant of his shame. But things had not worked out that way. Japeth had crept home, naked and blue and almost silent. (23) Implicit i n Japeth's encounter w i t h the Ruffian K i n g on the road to Baal and M a m m o n (read: Sodom and Gomorrah) is an allegory (or "fairy tale") of homosexual—and, what's more, sado-masochistic—awakening and denial: "in spite of having made the necessary reconciliation between the horror he could not imagine and the horror he had known—[Japeth] was still unable to confront the central event without feeling ill" (79). Moreover, Japeth's resulting discolouring works counter-discursively to turn this scene into a specific instance of "camprecognition." For Japeth, as "Blue Boy," not only evokes recollections of Thomas Gainsborough's "femmey" 1770 painting, but also alludes to one of the oldest magazines of gay male pornography, which goes by the same name, and w h i c h is renowned for its pictorials of "innocent" young b o y s .  28  Japeth's anxiety about his o w n masculinity translates into an extreme fascination w i t h that of another dragon slayer in the text, Michael Archangelis, w h o is camped by Findley as a specific gay fantasy type: "Japeth had his m i n d on Michael Archangelis—a figure of glory unlike any he had ever dreamed could  96 exist. The great angel's height—his strength—his golden hair—and his armour presented the most dazzling images of manhood that Japeth had ever encountered" (75). Of course, these descriptions of "homosocial desire" at the outset of Voyage are part of a larger discursive continuum that also includes a specific instance of "homosexual panic" towards the end of the text: in "decapitating" the Unicorn's horn (the instrument used by N o a h to rape Emma), Japeth is able to displace symbolically the "castration" enacted upon h i m by the Ruffian K i n g , and thereby reaffirm his o w n masculinity and virility. Yet, whereas Japeth sees a great warrior worthy of emulation in the "Supreme Commander of A l l the Angels" (86), Lucy sees her brother as nothing more than "a bore" (108). Notwithstanding the fact that angels have long been associated w i t h a particular homosexual iconography (from Caravaggio to Kushner), the confrontation between Michael, the "golden boy," and Lucy, the "rogue" whose "star has fallen" (108), reads like pure camp spectacle, a "Wonderful scene" as Lucy describes it to her brother, w h o m she refers to as "ducky" (106): "What do you hope to accomplish by all this?" Michael asked. " A l l what?" Lucy shook out her frail skirts and lifted her hand to her hair. "Well—dressing as a woman to begin with. And a foreigner." "Nothing wrong with dressing as a woman. M i g h t as well be a woman as anything else. A n d what, may one ask, do y o u mean by 'a foreigner'?"  97 "Someone not of these parts," said Michael, as if he was quoting from a book of rules for border guards. "The slanted eyes, et cetera? The black, black hair—the white, white face? Y o u don't like it? I love" (107) While it is possible to identify i n this passage several stylistic or syntactical elements of what we might call a particular "camp rhetoric"—the exaggerated emphasis of certain words ("Wonderful scene," "I love"), the linguistic repetition ("black, black hair," "white, white face"), the use of epicene epithets and pronouns ("ducky," "may one ask")—what I find most significant here is that Michael (the "border guard") sees Lucy as transvesting not just across genders ("dressing as a w o m a n to begin with"), but also across cultures ("And a foreigner). According to Marjorie Garber, "a transvestite figure i n a text . . . indicates a category crisis elsewhere, an irresolvable conflict or epistemological crux that destabilizes comfortable binarity" (17). Garber defines "category crisis" as "a failure of definitional distinction, a borderline that becomes permeable, that permits of border crossings from one (apparently distinct) category to another: black/white, Jew/Christian, noble/bourgeois, master/servant, master/slave" (16; my emphasis).  In the case of Findley, one might add to this list of criss-crossed  categories h u m a n / a n g e l , as well as Occidental/Oriental. Indeed, Findley's deliberate "Orientalizing" of the transvestite figure i n his text, his use of makeup, costume, gesture, symbol, and stylization traditionally associated (at least i n the minds of Western readers) w i t h Chinese opera and Japanese K a b u k i theatre, adds another element of "national ambivalence" to Lucy's already evident "sexual  98 dissidence."  30  A s in D a v i d Henry Hwang's M . Butterfly, "crises of nationalism  and sexuality [are] troped on the transvestite figure" (Garber 239). H w a n g ' s similar deployment of a "transvestite figure borrowed from both Chinese and Japanese stage traditions," according to Garber, "functions simultaneously as a mark of gender undecidability and as an indication of category crisis"; as she goes on to point out, in M . Butterfly H w a n g seems to be "[preoccupied] w i t h the transvestite as a figure not only for the conundrum of gender and erotic style, but also for other kinds of border-crossing, like acting and spying, both of w h i c h are appropriations of alternative and socially constructed subject positions for cultural and political ends" (238-39). Of course, the "gay-affirming and gay-occluding orientalism"—to borrow a phrase from Sedgwick ("Nationalisms" 242)—inherent in Findley's depiction of Lucy's "foreignness" also provides a further intertext with Wilde, in particular his Salome, not to mention the vaguely Japanese drawings by Aubrey Beardsley that accompanied the original 1894 English translation of the play. Garber reads the Dance of the Seven Veils at the centre of the Salome myth, and Wilde's play, as "a transvestite dance," another instance of "border-crossing" (342). A s she puts it, "gender undecidability," rather than mere exoticized sensuality, "is the taboo against w h i c h Occidental eyes are veiled. The cultural Imaginary of the Salome story is the veiled phallus and the masquerade" (342). (So too, I w o u l d add, w i t h Lucy's last-minute stand-in as Eve in Noah's production of "The Masque of Creation": "Lucy . . . made her appearance—clothed in a long, transparent g o w n and wearing a crown of golden hair that fell to the ground all around her,  99 gracefully hiding every bit of sexual evidence" [Voyage 98].) However, in noting that Wilde, an Irishman, originally wrote his play in French—responding i n part to earlier versions by Huysmans and Flaubert—Garber points out that "the veils drawn aside have been national as well" (342). Garber supplements her reading of Salome by alluding to "an amusing and disconcerting photograph" (343) contained in Richard Ellmann's biography of Wilde, a photograph which Ellmann identifies with the cut-line "Wilde in costume as Salome" (428 ff.). H a v i n g no apparent reason to dispute Ellmann's assertion, Garber ruminates on what she assumes to be the "transvestite masquerade" operating i n the photograph, offering a final catalogue of Wildean personae: "Wilde the author, Wilde the libertine, Wilde the homosexual, as Salome" (343).  In  fact, recent archival evidence has "uncovered" that the Salome depicted in the photo is not Wilde, but rather a "real" woman, "an opera singer named Alice Guszalewicz" (Macdonald, "Oscar's Grandson" 6).  Not that this at all changes  the "category crisis" implicit in the image. For the iconographic readings of Ellmann and Garber, among others, have so shifted the focus of our gaze—at least w i t h respect to Wilde in this specific context—that it is now only ever possible to read this particular Salome as a kind of Victor/Victoria, that is, a woman masquerading as a man masquerading as a woman: a form of "gender undecidability" and "cultural espionage" w i t h which the border-crossing W i l d e and his successors—among them Findley and Hwang—would undoubtedly approve.  100 Of course, as Lucy well knows, and as Mrs. Noyes and Hannah intuit, dominant culture w i l l continue to see only what it wants to see, to interpret only what it wants to interpret: a volcanic ash storm in the middle of August it w i l l call a "blizzard" (21); friendly dolphins marauding "pirates" (235); a paper rainbow a "symbol of the Covenant" (351); "Lotte-like-children" a shameful "secret" (160); and a "seven-foot w o m a n . . . . dressed for a foreign court" a "rogue," a spy, a freak (60). W h i c h is w h y the semiology of camp, troping as it does on the arbitrary divisions between inside and outside, surface and depth, artifice and reality, is such an effective counter-discursive strategy. A n d which is w h y it is Lucy, w i t h her ambiguous sexuality, her hybrid human-angel status, her "foreign" dress and appearance, and her camp vernacular, who most obviously disrupts the "comfortable binarity" of this world (male versus female, human versus animal, upper orders versus lower orders, O l d W o r l d versus N e w World), and w h o launches the most formidable challenge against Noah's "apparently axiomatic significatory system which has invested itself with absolute authority over those it has constructed as 'Other'" (Ashcroft et al. 103; my emphasis). For it is L u c y whose magic is as powerful as Noah's, who leads the rebellion of the Lower Orders, w h o befriends the demons and the bees, and brings them top-side, and who, after removing her white face make-up (a sign in Japanese theatre, according to Garber, "of the ideal white complexion of the noble, who can afford to keep out of the sun" [243]), w i g , and kimono towards the end of the novel, starts a "rumour" of "another world," where "darkness and light are reconciled." '"I don't know when it w i l l present itself,'" she tells those assembled around her on the deck, her face  101 streaked w i t h running mascara and rain, '"I don't know where it w i l l be. But—as w i t h all those other worlds now past—when it is ready, I intend to go there'" (284). The irony is that, within the aporetic space of Findley's text, Lucy's "rumour" remains just that—a rumour, gossip, speculation, a further example of camp vernacular. For, to reconfigure once again Slemon's phrase, Voyage "inhabit[s] the site of allegorical figuration" in order to articulate the relation between the unrepresented and the unrepresentable, between dominant discourse and the marginalized subjects inscribed w i t h / i n it. A s such, M r s . Noyes seems to offer the only possible answer to Lucy's "que(e)ry" about "another world." In "pray[ing] for rain" (352), she is enunciating (from a minority position; cf. Bhabha, above) both an act of resistance and a gesture of despair. Findley's revisioning of the Biblical flood myth, like Wilde's re-telling of the Salome myth, is thus decidely anti-mythic. Indeed, both writers—as ambivalent national allegorists and dissident gay genealogists—seem to be suggesting that myth (national, sexual, or otherwise) can only be exposed as myth, as a process that all too easily allows dominant culture to transmute the preserved fragments of the past into the ideological fixity of the future, when it becomes estranged, defamiliarized, alienated. In other words, myth must itself be demythologized, its discursive scaffolding assailed and its cultural baggage unpacked through still more innovative ways of knowing and storytelling. By writing neither at the end of one w o r l d , nor at the beginning of another, but rather in the "projective fantasy" of spectacle and "camp-recognition," Findley effectively employs just such a W i l d e a n methodology. In so doing, he places himself and his story at a slight  102 angle to history (and the dominant narratives of nationalism and sexuality recorded therein), an angle decidedly "gayer and more spacious" than the critical perspectives encountered by Patrick Anderson and Scott Symons i n the Canadian literary communities of the 1940s and 1960s.  103  Notes 1. Wilde's play, sub-titled "The Nihilists," and based on actual events in Russia, recounts the "revolutionary and amorous passions" of Vera Saboureff, caught between her political determination to assassinate the Czar and her love for the Czar's nihilist son, Alexis. A n operatic political satire reflecting Wilde's attempts to reconcile an inherited Irish nationalism (from his mother, Lady "Speranza" Wilde) w i t h a nascent aristocratic socialism, the play was to have opened at the A d e l p h i theatre in L o n d o n on 17 December 1881, with Mrs. Barnard Beere in the title role. But following an upsurge in pro-royalist sentiment in the wake of the assassinations of Russian Czar Alexander II and U.S. President James Garfield, the show's backers bowed to government pressure and cancelled the production.  Vera eventually  premiered in N e w York in 1883, where it received abysmal notices and closed after a week. See Ellmann 120-24; 153; 241-43. 2. In Idylls of the Marketplace: Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Public, Reginia Gagnier maintains that Wilde's self-conscious dandyism stemmed from a deliberate attempt on his part to subvert and undermine bourgeois sex/gender ideologies and, in particular, prevailing social and cultural hierarchies of masculinity, of which "the gentleman" was normative exemplar (51-99). 3. By the time Wilde arrived on the scene, Aestheticism was already waning in popularity.  Ruskin's M o d e r n Painters, which appeared in successive volumes  between the 1830s and 50s, and Pater's The Renaissance (1872) can be seen as roughly bracketing the Movement in Britain, both in terms of its chronology and its guiding principles. Whereas Ruskin valued Medieval craftsmanship and populism,  104 Pater emphasized Renaissance sensuousness and idealism. By the end of the 1870s, Aestheticism had become the vanguard cultural trend, encompassing everything from Pre-Raphaelite painting (Rossetti), to socialist wallpaper (Morris), to decadent verse (Swinburne). It had also become increasingly associated w i t h sexual deviancy, as evidenced i n the popular perception of Wilde at the time of his lecture tour.  My  thanks to Dennis Denisoff for sharing w i t h me his vast knowledge of the vagaries of British Aestheticism. 4. In his "Playwright's Note" to the published text, Bartley acknowledges the influence that O'Brien's book had on his own: "The book [Oscar W i l d e in Canada] set m y imagination going and launched me on an obsession lasting five years. The result is Stephen & M r . Wilde" (7). Bartley goes on to note that his play "begins w i t h history—with what happened—and launches into what might have happened, which is fiction" (8). 5. A r r i v i n g at his club on 28 February 1895, Wilde was presented w i t h a calling card left for h i m by Queensberry, on the back of which were scrawled the words: "For Oscar Wilde Posing as a Somdomite [sic]." A s E d Cohen notes in Talk on the Wilde Side, it was the w o r d "posing," more so than the misspelled accusation of "sodomy," that became the focus of critical controversy in the ensuing legal proceedings initiated by W i l d e against Queensberry: Since the contested statement did not actually accuse Wilde of "sodomy"—or of being a sodomite—. . . [Queensberry's] defense sought instead to show that Wilde was the kind of person—or at least that he had (re)presented himself as the kind of person—who w o u l d be inclined  105 to commit sodomy.  In support of this personification, the plea of  justification tried to shift the focus on sodomy away from its traditional status as a criminally punishable sexual act so that it became in the defense's construction a defining characteristic of a type of sexual actor (the "sodomite"). (127) Needless to say, the defense's strategy was successful, enabling Queensberry's acquittal, and paving the way for the subsequent crown prosecutions of W i l d e for "engaging in acts of gross indecency w i t h another male person," a new category of criminality and sexual deviancy toward which Wilde was judged to "exhibit" certain "tendencies," and for which his body once again became a national "metonym" by virtue of the fact that English newspapers could offer their reading audience no "more concrete representation of the physical acts that were ostensibly at issue than a physical description of the actor who was legally determined to have performed them" (Cohen 209). 6. To this end, one of the ironies central to Eagleton's play is the fact that E d w a r d Carson, fellow Irishman and later a leader of the Unionist opposition to H o m e Rule, was one of Wilde's prosecutors. For more of Eagleton's critical commentary on Irish nationalism, and its relation to irony in literature, see his contribution to the Field Day pamphlet (co-authored w i t h Fredric Jameson and E d w a r d Said) Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature, 23-39. 7. Anderson uses the term "meanwhile" in Imagined Communities to describe the "simultaneity" of the process of nationalism, a "transverse, cross-time, marked not by prefiguring and fulfilment, but by temporal coincidence, and measured by clock and  106 calendar" (24). Anderson in turn is basing his assertions on Walter Benjamin's notion of "Messianic time," as outlined in his "Theses on the Philosophy of History" (Illuminations 253-64). According to Bhabha, however, "In embedding the meanwhile of the national narrative, where the people live their plural and autonomous lives within homogeneous empty time, Anderson misses the alienating and iterative time of the sign" ("DissemiNation" 309): Anderson fails to locate the alienating time of the arbitrary sign in his naturalized, nationalized space of the imagined community. Although he borrows his notion of the homogeneous empty time of the nation's modern narrative from Walter Benjamin, he fails to read that profound ambivalence that Benjamin places deep within the utterance of the narrative of modernity. Here, as the pedagogies of life and w i l l contest the perplexed histories of the living people, their cultures of survival and  resistance,  Benjamin  introduces  a  non-synchronous,  incommensurable gap in the midst of storytelling. From this split in the utterance, from the unbeguiled, belated novelist there emerges an ambivalence  in  the  narration  of  modern  society that  repeats,  uncounselled and unconsolable, in the midst of plenitude. (311) Bhabha's supplementary, subaltern, and substitutive—rather than simultaneous, synchronic, and serial—use of "the meanwhile" as the ambivalent, "arbitrary sign of the modern nation-space" (309) in "DissemiNation" approaches more fully Benjamin's historical-materialist "conception of the present as the 'time of the now'" ("Theses" 263). Introducing into this "enunciative present," this "now-time" of the nation, a  107 "differential and iterative time of reinscription," a marginal discourse of storytelling, allows Bhabha to explore the whole question of cultural difference "as the perplexity of living, and writing, the nation" ("DissemiNation" 310, 311). I w i l l be returning to this complex and provocative essay by Bhabha i n chapter six. 8. See also M . L. McKenzie, "Memories of the Great War: Graves, Sassoon, and Findley." 9. Gregory Woods supplements Fussell's comments in Articulate Flesh: Male Homoeroticism and M o d e r n Poetry. 10. See, for example, Andrea D w o r k i n , Pornography: M e n Possessing Women. 11. The connection between horses and adolescent male sexual object-choice had of course already been explored, to great dramatic effect, by Peter Shaffer in Equus, a possible intertext w i t h The Wars in this regard.  In the case of Shaffer's play,  however, Alan's failure to consummate his relationship w i t h his female co-worker prompts h i m to blind the horses who had hitherto aided h i m in the pursuit of autoerotic pleasures. 12. O n the importance of "gesture" in Findley's fiction see his comments in "Alice Drops H e r Cigarette on the Floor" 20; see also D a v i d McFarlane, "The Perfect Gesture," and Brydon, " A Devotion to Fragility." 13. Cf. the following exchange i n Findley's recent play, The Trials of Ezra Pound: M U N C I E : Y o u seem not to care for Mister Eliot. E Z R A : I love him. Don't you know he's one of m y sons? M U N C I E : I see.  108 E Z R A : The whole of 20th century English literature is mine. Y o u didn't know that, Muncie? Eliot, Joyce and Yeats: all mine. A n d Mauberley. The whole of 20th century literature—all—to say nothing of the past, which I've reclaimed . . . M U N C I E : I had thought H u g h Selwyn Mauberley was a fiction, Mister Pound. E Z R A : A n d he is—he is. So, doesn't that tell you about the rest of them! (38) 14. In a letter to Felix E. Schelling dated 9 July 1922, Pound claims that he is "no more Mauberley than Eliot is Prufrock," and that his poem is essentially a "study in form, an attempt to condense the James novel. . .. The metre in Mauberley is Gautier and Bion's ' A d o n i s ' ; or at least those are the two grafts I was trying to flavour it with" (Letters 180-81). Ironically, in declaring his "general distaste for the slushiness and swishiness of the post-Swinburnian British line" (181), Pound also betrays his poem's homophilic lines of influence/filiation: to Henry James; to Theophile Gautier, French aesthete, author of Mademoiselle de M a u p i n (1835), favourite of Wilde; and to the ancient Greek poet Bion, who composed the "homo-elegiac" "Lament for A d o n i s " (c. 100 B.C.E.). 15. For a more in-depth analysis of this "tendency" within post-World War II Italian film see Mellen, "Fascism in the Contemporary Film."  For an analyis of the  configuration of discourses of fascism, homosexuality, and masochism within Alberto Moravia's original literary  text, II conformista, see A n d r e w  Interruptus: Fascism and the Deaths of History."  Hewitt,  "Coitus  109 16. See, in this regard, Richard Plant, The Pink Triangle: The N a z i War Against Homosexuals. 17. In her essay "Fascinating Fascism," Susan Sontag ponders how a generation of post-Stonewall homosexuals could have made fascist aesthetics "no more than a variant of camp," how "a regime which persecuted homosexuals [could have] become a gay turn-on," concluding that it is the prevalence of sadomasochistic sexual practices among gay men "which make[s] playing at N a z i s m seem erotic" (97, 102). 18. For a further re-evaluation of Freud's (and others') theories of masochism see Gilles Deleuze, Masochism: A n Interpretation of Coldness and Cruelty. 19. Findley employs a similar narrative technique in The Wars. See pp. 9-10 and 18183. 20. See, in this regard, Simone Vauthier's reading of the "narrative strategies" employed by Findley in The Wars. 21. Cf. Barbara Gabriel on The Butterfly Plague: "If the eugenics discourses of The Butterfly Plague have been either marginalized or elided altogether i n readings of the novel, that is partly due to Findley's o w n straining for allegory in a fiction i n which the unrepresentable of the Holocaust confronts the historical subject who is already outside of the frame of representation" ("Performing the Bent Text" 243). 22. Once again Mosse's study is helpful here, especially chapter eight, 153-80. 23. See especially chapter two, pp. 31-52, for Frye's discussion of how classical myth functions in relation to the Bible. It is interesting to note the extent to which the symbol of Mount Ararat (or a derivation thereof, most often in the form of a tower or ziggurat) figures in modern Canadian poetry.  See, for example, F.R. Scott,  110 "Lakeshore"; P.K. Page, "Cry Ararat!"; Dennis Lee, C i v i l Elegies; and Phyllis Webb, "Leaning," the last three lines of which serve as the epigraph to Findley's Voyage. 24. The term, although it nicely recalls Dollimore, is actually C i n d y Patton's.  In  Inventing A I D S she uses "[t]he idea of dissident vernaculars" in order to "[suggest] that meanings created by and in communities are upsetting to the dominant culture precisely because speaking in one's o w n fashion is a means of resistance, a strengthening of the subculture that has created the new meaning" (148 n.12). One such "dissident vernacular," according to Patton, is pornography, at least as it operates within a gay community ravaged by AIDS. Recognizing the need to balance carefully cultural assumptions about sexuality and representation in assessing the potential for pornography to intervene positively in safer sex education, Patton nevertheless argues that "a theory of sexual vernacular makes no sharp distinction between 'sex' and 'text,' but views sexual performance, sexual identities, and sexual networks as constructed in and as language. . . . Sexual vernaculars are the identifying characteristics of liminal sexualities—being 'in the life' historically precedes more visual markers of subcultural affinity" ("Safe Sex" 44, 45).  On  how  (homo)sexual "vernaculars" resist the seductive rhetoric of end-time implicit  in  "oracular" pronouncements on A I D S see m y '"Go-go dancing on the brink of the apocalypse': Representing AIDS." O n the "moral" dimensions of counter-discourse in Findley's metafictions see Pennee, M o r a l Metafiction; and Ingham, "Bashing the Fascists." 25. See, for example, Jack Babuscio, "Camp and the Gay Sensibility" (1984); Jeffrey Escoffier, "Sexual Revolution and the Politics of Gay Identity" (1985); Martin  Ill Humphries, "Gay Machismo" (1985); A n d r e w Ross, "Uses of C a m p " (1988); Sue-Ellen Case, "Toward a Butch-Femme Aesthetic" (1989); Carole-Anne Tyler, "Boys W i l l Be Girls: The Politics of Gay Drag" (1991). See also the recently edited collections C a m p Grounds (1993) and The Politics and Poetics of Camp (1994). Of course, all of these discussions were preceded by two now-classic studies: Esther Newton's Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America (1972); and Susan Sontag's "Notes on C a m p " (1966). While I take issue w i t h Sontag's assertion that "Camp sensibility is disengaged, depoliticized" (277), and w i t h her remarks on the "peculiar relation between C a m p and homosexuality" (290), I am in general agreement w i t h her definition of camp as "a certain mode of aestheticism. . . ., one way of seeing the w o r l d . . . . not in terms of beauty, but in terms of artifice, of stylization" (277). See below. 26. The link between femininity and masquerade in psychoanalysis was first made by Joan Riviere i n her 1929 essay, "Womanliness as a Masquerade." M o r e recently, lesbian-feminist theorists like Sue-Ellen Case (in "Toward a Butch-Femme Aesthetic") and Judith Butler (in Gender Trouble) have used Riviere's essay to subvert traditional identity categories, so that gender, for instance, is read ironically or parodically, and is thus displaced into a series of performing signifiers. For his part, Bhabha claims that "colonial mimicry is the desire for a reformed, recognizable Other, as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite. . . . M i m i c r y is, thus, the sign of a double articulation; a complex strategy of reform, and discipline, which 'appropriates' the Other as it visualizes power" ("Of M i m i c r y and M a n " 126).  112 27. In The Use of Pleasure, the second volume of The History of Sexuality, Foucault posits the classical Greek model of male-male love in counter-discursive relation to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century  articulations of  (hetero/homo)sexuality  outlined i n volume one. More specifically, he focuses on sexual activities as they are elaborated and "problematized" through technologies of the self, "bringing into play the criteria of an 'aesthetics of existence'" (12).  Similarly, what Foucault calls "a  history of 'ethics' and 'ascetics,'" encapsulated in the phrase "care of the self" (which w o u l d eventually become the title of The History of Sexuality's third volume), is "concerned w i t h the models proposed for setting up and developing relationships with  the  self,  for  self-reflection,  self-knowledge,  self-examination,  for  the  decipherment of the self by oneself" (The Use of Pleasure 29). In his "emblematic" reading of the English book "as an insignia of colonial authority and a signifier of colonial desire" (102), Bhabha identifies the effect of uncertainty that afflicts the discourse of power, an uncertainty that estranges the familiar symbol of English "national" authority and emerges from its colonial appropriation as the sign of its difference. Hybridity is the name of this displacement of value from symbol to sign that causes the dominant discourse to split along the axis of power, to be representative, authoritative. Hybridity represents that ambivalent "turn" of the discriminated subject into the terrifying, exorbitant object of paranoid classification—a disturbing questioning of the images and presences of authority. ("Signs Taken for Wonders" 113; my emphasis)  113 Finally, the strategic implications of camp have also been examined—somewhat differently than in this chapter—by D a v i d Bergman in a 1993 essay called "Strategic C a m p " ; and by Dennis Denisoff in "(Re)Dressing One's Self: Artifice and Identity Construction i n John Glassco," a paper presented as part of the "Theorizing Fashion/Fashioning Theory" panel I organized for the 1994 A C C U T E conference in Calgary. 28. Findley may also be alluding here to the "notorious" book of camp porn drawings, L'amour bleu. 29. For her part, Sontag claims that "Camp taste turns its back on the good-bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment. Camp doesn't reverse things. It doesn't argue that the good is bad, or the bad is good. What it does is to offer for art (and life) a different—a supplementary—set of standards" (286). 30. Gabriel has perceptively pointed out how Octavius Rivii's "coding as oriental ephebe" in The Butterfly Plague "anticipates the Lucy figure of Findley's N o t Wanted on the Voyage, who is even more explicitly drawn as the Onna gata of the Japanese K a b u k i theatre, that ideal stylization of the feminine, which is always performed by a man" ("Performing the Bent Text" 233). 31. I am indebted to M a r n i Stanley for drawing my attention to this article.  Chapter Three  Critical Homophobia and Canadian Canon-Formation, 1943-1967: The "Haunted Journeys" of Patrick Anderson and Scott Symons  Even our literature cannot embrace and comfort them we have few poems for naked sixteen-year-old boys (Patrick Anderson, " Y . M . C . A . Montreal," A Visiting Distance 131)  We are well into a literature of depravity and a culture munificently complicit w i t h psychic deprivation. A n d given the wave of "lady oracles" as current vogue, one might readily predict the next "with-itlit", for the 1980's:—sado-masochistic homosexuality! A natural kickback. The simple and overriding and unstated fact that we are confronted w i t h is this: people who have done no living can do no writing. (Scott Symons, "The Canadian Bestiary" 16)  In 1943 A . J . M . Smith, then professor of English at Michigan State College, published The Book of Canadian Poetry. In his introduction to the anthology, 114  115 Smith states that "[t]he main purpose of this collection is to illustrate in the light of a contemporary and cosmopolitan literary consciousness the broad development of English-Canadian poetry from its beginnings at the end of the eighteenth century to its renewal of power in the revolutionary w o r l d of today" (3). This early reference to "a contemporary and cosmopolitan literary consciousness" points in turn to one of Smith's more contentious critical claims, made near the end of his introduction. In assessing modernism's impact on Canadian poetry since the 1920s, Smith distinguishes between two different, although related, poetic schools or traditions: the "native" tradition, marked by "the simplification of style and the emphasis upon the harsher aspects of reality" (29), includes E.J. Pratt, W.W.E. Ross, Raymond Knister, Earle Birney, Dorothy Livesay, and A n n e Marriott; by contrast, the "cosmopolitan" tradition, verse whose "[a]llusiveness of imagery and directness of language are characteristic features of metaphysical poetry" (30), lays claim to F.R. Scott, Robert Finch, A . M . Klein, Patrick Anderson, P.K. Page, Margaret A v i s o n , and of course Smith himself. A l t h o u g h Smith goes on to assert that these "new" poets, unlike their predecessors, "[were] not much concerned" with questions of nationalism (31), his implicit valorization of the "cosmopolitan" tradition nevertheless succeeded in creating a new national canon of modern Canadian poetry. A s Dermot M c C a r t h y suggests, Smith's introduction "can be said to inaugurate the second stage of Canadian literary history," representing "both a continuity and a break w i t h [the] Romantic-nationalist tradition" consolidated in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century anthologies and critical texts compiled by the likes of E . H . Dewart, W . D .  116 Lighthall, Roy Palmer Baker, J.D. Logan and Donald French, and Lionel Stevenson. To be sure, the fledgling Canadian modernist movement, then centred in Montreal, was by no means wholly united behind Smith, as the title of John Sutherland's 1947 anthology, Other Canadians, attests. In his introduction, Sutherland insists that "Bishop" Smith's "Eliotian" critical sensibilities have produced a false binary in Canadian poetry, in which the established cosmopolitan tradition must be seen to triumph over the upstart native tradition: "If cosmopolitan G o o d is to be victorious in the accepted manner, then a devil—i.e. the native tradition—must be conjured up to challenge it: the hoax must be perpetrated, even though M r . Smith knows it is utter nonsense to talk about a 'tradition' of Canadian poetry" (8). While this passage might at first glance suggest otherwise, Smith and Sutherland were actually not so far apart in their respective views of Canadian poetry (the two w o u l d briefly work together on Northern Review), a fact that Sutherland comes close to admitting when he surmises that what Smith really meant by the "native" tradition was poetry approved by the Canadian Authors Association: "I can only regret that [Smith] has never referred to the C . A . A . by name, not just because it is healthy to call a spade a spade, but because a consideration of the C . A . A . can help to clarify the question of the national or native tradition in Canadian poetry" (6). In contrast to Smith's cosmopolitan (and, Sutherland suspected, far too "clerical") corrective to this influence, however, Sutherland argued that only socialism could provide the necessary counterbalance to the "literary colonialism" then infecting Canadian  117 poetry (see Other Canadians 14-20). Of course, just as his penchant for "calling a spade a spade" w o u l d repeatedly land h i m in hot water, so too w o u l d Sutherland, following his o w n "Eliotian" conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1954, eventually repudiate this position.  1  Responding in part to Sutherland's criticisms, Smith noted in his introduction to the revised 1948 edition of The Book of Canadian Poetry that the gulf between the "native" and "cosmopolitan" schools was "neither so fundamental nor so wide" as many supposed, and, indeed, that "the most significant tendency of recent Canadian poetry has been the merging of these two traditions in the work of Birney, Livesay, Klein, Page, and, possibly, Anderson" (viii). Of the poets mentioned i n this list, only Page and Anderson are included in Sutherland's Other Canadians. This is itself somewhat ironic given that later the same year both Page and Anderson (along w i t h Smith and a host of other Canadian literary luminaries) w o u l d resign in protest from the editorial board of Northern Review, of which Sutherland was managing editor. The origins of this dispute once again date back to 1943, and reveal something of the interplay between discourses of nationalism and sexuality in mid-World War II Canadian literature and, perhaps even more significantly, Canadian literary criticism. A t the time of the publication of the first edition of Smith's The Book of Canadian Poetry, Patrick Anderson—British expatriate, Oxford and Columbia alumnus, Canadian landed immigrant, Labour Progressive Party member, pacifist, and homosexual—was editor of Preview, an influential avant-garde literary magazine in Montreal, which published writers like A . M . Klein, F.R. Scott, and  118 P.K. Page. H i s main "rival" in the Montreal "little magazine" scene was none other than John Sutherland, editor of First Statement, which counted among its stable of contributors the "triumvirate" of Canadian "social realist" modernism: Louis Dudek, Raymond Souster, and Irving Layton (who were all featured prominently in Other Canadians, and who, together, w o u l d go on to launch Contact magazine and press in 1952). In the June 1943 issue of First Statement Sutherland printed an article of his o w n entitled "The Writing of Patrick Anderson," in which Anderson's homosexuality, his shameful childhood secret, is read as a sign of his poetry's inherent lack of honesty: while I have no desire to make an expose of Anderson's personal life, I surmise that the distinction between the "frightened boy" and "the hero who sings of joy" [in the poem "Montreal"] could be traced back to some period in the writer's childhood, when there occurred a sexual experience involving two boys, one of w h o m was frightened and the other demonstrated his joy. Whether or not this deduction is  completely correct, I do know that something of the kind occurred in Anderson's childhood. The point that I wish to make is that, in the lines quoted from "Montreal", some sexual experience of a kind not normal has been twisted and forced into its present shape in the poem, where it wears the false aspect of some universal fact, or has to be accepted as a general mood in which people today participate. Surely these lines alone w o u l d signifiy the falsity of the poet's medium and his habitual distortion of content. (4; my emphasis)  119 Needless to say, Sutherland's homophobic speculations reveal more about his o w n "panicked" response to "Montreal" than they do about the poem's author. Objecting to having been positioned—against his w i l l , to be sure—as a passive participant i n a "homotextual" seduction, and, what's more likely, to having been seduced, Sutherland shifts the focus of discussion to authorial intention, suggesting that the sexually dissembling Anderson is using the "false aspect" of his verse to beguile naive and unsuspecting readers into acquiescent acceptance, if not wholehearted embracement, of a way of life "of a kind not normal." "Falsity" is of course also here a synonym for "un-Canadian-ness." To this end, i n "The Great Circle," an unpublished "George Jones" (Sutherland's favourite literary persona) sketch that documents Sutherland's ongoing "literary war" w i t h Preview, Anderson's sexual "perversion" is read as a sign of his poetry's national dissimulation (and vice-versa): George wrote an article that attacked his opponent on literary grounds. The poem published by the rival editor was inadmissable, because it did not grow out of Canadian soil. It could not be Canadian because George could not understand it, and if he could not understand it, he was sure no one else could. N o t being as plain as the nose on your face, it must come from a perversion in the writer's character. What the poor fellow was doing was not giving you a peep into his communistic world of the future, but a peep into his sexual aberrations: whatever he said had a double meaning, and the thing to be criticized was his complete unawareness of it.  120 George did not object to sex in poetry—in fact he was [in] favour of it—but he argued that anyone so unconscious of his real subject matter could only produce an abortion. H e also said more than once that he was attacking his rival on literary and not on personal grounds, (qtd. in Fisher 10-11). Nevertheless, as Robert K. Martin points out, this "ostensibly literary" critique carried w i t h it some very "personal" consequences, both for Sutherland and for Anderson: "Faced with the possibility of a libel suit, Sutherland was forced to print a retraction in the following issue of First Statement, but the damage was, in large part, done" ("Sex and Politics" 110). M a r t i n is referring, most immediately, to the fact that Anderson's poetry, which had appeared in four of the first seven issues of First Statement, "was not published there again until the final issue in 1945" ("Sex and Politics" 110). Over the course of these two years the feud between the two editors (Miriam Waddington retails Sutherland's retraction not as a vindication for a talented poet accused of "sexual deviation," but rather as an unfair "humiliation" for a promising "young critic" [ l l ] ) had 2  abated enough for Anderson's first collection of poems, A Tent for A p r i l , to be accepted for publication by First Statement's press. Soon after, in 1945 (the year Anderson became a Canadian citizen), Preview and First Statement actually combined their resources, merging into Northern Review. Coexistence at the new magazine was far from amicable, however, and tensions came to a head over the August/September 1947 (vol. 1.6) issue.  121 The source of controversy was yet another vicious, ad hominem attack initiated by Sutherland, this time against Robert Finch. Once again the underlying tenor of the attack was homophobic. Reviewing Finch's Poems, which w o n the 1946 Governor General's A w a r d for poetry, Sutherland derides the book's "excessive self-consciousness," its tendency toward "coy and distressing confession," its "naked and embarrassed" tone, its "decorative nature pieces." In short, Finch's poetry is not "manly" enough for Sutherland; "the would-be pedestrian moralist" in Finch gives way to nothing more than a "dandified versifier" (Review of Poems 39). A s w i t h Anderson, Finch's "cosmopolitan" style becomes, i n Sutherland's m i n d , symptomatic of a deviant sexual disposition.  3  The review cost Sutherland dearly, at least in terms of editorial staff: in addition to those of Anderson, Page, and Smith, resignations were tendered by Neufville Shaw, F.R. Scott, A . M . Klein, and Ralph Gustafson, all of w h o m wished to make it clear that the vituperative opinions expressed in Sutherland's review in no way reflected their own. The detente between the Preview and First Statement groups, and, i n particular, between Anderson and Sutherland, was sundered for g o o d .  4  In 1946 Anderson published his second collection of poetry, The White Centre, w i t h Ryerson Press. The following year, with his marriage to American artist Peggy Doernbach crumbling (Patrick Campbell describes the union as a mistake from the beginning, "a 'propagandist marriage' that went right against Patrick's sexual proclivities" [96] ), Anderson retreated to England, where he 5  "met the man w i t h w h o m he w o u l d spend the rest of his life, . . . Orlando Gearing" (Whitney, "From Oxford to Montreal" 44). In 1948 Anderson was back i n  122 Montreal, however, to take up a lecturing post in modern poetry at M c G i l l University recently vacated by A . M . Klein. Two years later he was offered a tenure-track Assistant Professorship by M c G i l l ' s English Department, but Anderson declined the offer, departing instead for a temporary appointment i n Singapore at the University of Malaya, an experience which eventually formed the backdrop to Snake Wine (1955), the first of Anderson's three autobiographical prose works (which also include Search M e [1957] and The Character Ball [1963]). By 1953 Anderson and Gearing were more or less permanently settled back i n England, and Anderson, although still a citizen, was not to return to Canada for another 21 years. In 1953 McClelland and Stewart also published The Colour as N a k e d , Anderson's third poetry collection; included among the book's final poems is one (to w h i c h I w i l l shortly return) in which Anderson offers the following enigmatic assessment of a country he called home for more than a decade: W i l l i a m , as I sail away from a country where the good lies reflected in your eye— crewed by these half-naked boys corridors that smell of school nose anxiety and fog, rainbows flutter d o w n the waves, hours of waiting food and tea find me in this bleak saloon, as when Sunday black and drab  123 wanders oceans of ennui and the funnies drift away. ("Leaving Canada" 86) After the appearance of The Colour as Naked Anderson all but abandoned the writing of poetry, and it w o u l d be 23 years before Borealis Press, in Ottawa, 0 w o u l d publish his next volume of new and selected poems, A Visiting Distance. G i v e n the long gap between his third and fourth Canadian literary imprints, not to mention his prolonged physical absence from the country, Anderson's relative obscurity in the annals of modern Canadian literature is perhaps to be expected. A n d yet, Anderson was by no means idle during this time, a period which witnessed the publication of no less than eight volumes of his memoirs and travel sketches, primarily w i t h the British publishing house Chatto & W i n d u s ; as for choosing to live abroad, this does not seem to have had a negative impact on the career of another writer first published in the pages of Preview, namely Mavis Gallant (although recognition of her work in Canada was initially slow i n coming). In fact, the sustained marginalization of Anderson's work from the aggressively masculinist and heterosexist canon of Canadian literature, and particularly modern Canadian poetry—despite his having published in 1946 "Poem on Canada," a long verse narrative to rival any of E.J. Pratt's "national epics" in terms of breadth and historical detail—cannot simply be attributed to passive acts of critical omission. Rather, in successive literaryhistorical accounts published between 1949 and 1976, it was through an actively intentional "appeal to a virile nationalism . . . that Anderson could be excluded  124 from Canadian literature" (Martin, "Sex and Politics" 111). This appeal to virility has a long history in Canada, extending back well into the nineteenth century, and is profoundly sexist as well as homophobic. Leading the crusade against Anderson we find, not surprisingly, John Sutherland. In a long article published in Northern Review in 1949 Sutherland attempts something of a "reassessment" of Anderson's poetry, claiming that he w i l l "evaluate [Anderson's] achievement and indicate his promise" (8). H a v i n g learned his lesson, Sutherland sticks close to the specific poems under consideration this time, offering a not altogether unconvincing textual analysis of the dialectic of "motion" and "stillness" at work in Anderson's recurring symbol of "the white centre." Towards the end of the article, however, particularly in his examination of "The Self is Steep" (from A Tent for A p r i l ) , Sutherland steers his argument in a somewhat different direction, suggesting that this dialectic is indicative of an even more fundamental dualism in Anderson's poetry: "We have reached the tentative conclusion that the stillness and motion of this centre are two images or projections of the self that operate in the creative process" (26). Far from signalling Anderson's poetic achievement, however, this dualism embodies the main "'problem' of Anderson's poetry" (26), that is, the conflict between social "action" and psychological "sleep," or what Sutherland calls Anderson's inability "to objectify his o w n personal emotions or conflicts in terms of social significance" (27). This is strangely at odds w i t h Patricia Whitney's more recent construction of Anderson as poet and political activist, roles which she sees merging most successfully in Anderson's contributions to E n Masse, the obscure "cultural  125 magazine" he edited briefly for the Labour Progressive Party in 1945, and w h i c h he sought to establish as "both a vehicle for political change and a document of artistic merit" ("En Masse" 76).  6  Ignoring such extra-textual considerations  altogether, Sutherland maintains that the poetic "cul-de-sac" in Anderson's work emerges from a third preoccupation, what Sutherland refers to as Anderson's depiction of Freudian narcissism, which, in Sutherland's estimation, necessarily militates against the revolutionary impact of any professed Marxist poetics: "At bottom [Anderson] adopts revolutionary politics in obedience to a certain ideal of aggressive action, or of masculinity, which he hopes to beguile w i t h proletarian subterfuges: nevertheless, he cannot discard his Christian inheritance, or change an almost obsessive idealism that springs from something puritanical and feminine in his nature" (26). This construction of Anderson as "feminine" and effete, a "foreigner" whose close ties to the sexually suspect socialism espoused by British poets like Stephen Spender and W . H . A u d e n precluded his full participation in the national project of "writing a masculine, virile 'poetry of [Canadian] experience'" (Francis 27), was to predominate for the next quarter century. Referring to Anderson as "Audenesque in appearance and mannerisms," Wynne Francis suggests, in her 1962 article "Montreal Poets of the Forties," that Anderson was poetically impotent, unable to come to grips with Canada in his verse, "that he had failed, that Canada had somehow won. H i s leave-taking was more like a baffled retreat and he retained the hope that he w o u l d return some day to the land that he wanted to call his own" (27, 28). By contrast, Francis concludes, First Statement  126 poets like Dudek and Layton "[scorned] the artifice of metaphor and symbol, . . . preferred to shout huzzahs and hurl insults, to fight, spit, sweat, urinate and make love i n their poems, and did so in deliberate defiance of Preview" (27). In The M a k i n g of M o d e r n Poetry in Canada (1967), Michael Gnarowski extends this critical perception, stating that the "young, gauche and raw" poets associated w i t h First Statement "were obviously destined for the greater achievement," and that the "loss of interest and influence on the part of those associated w i t h Preview" produced "a more virile grouping among the poets of Montreal" ("The Role of 'Little Magazines'" 220, 221). N e i l Fisher, in his 1974 "assessment" of the "celebrated rivalry" between First Statement and Preview, likewise succumbs to these by-now-entrenched categorizations of "feminine" dilletantism and "masculine" purpose: "PREVIEW was a literary newsletter; FIRST S T A T E M E N T was an aggressive magazine. . . . P R E V I E W was a hobby; FIRST S T A T E M E N T , a vocation" (8). Writing in the second edition of the Literary History of Canada (1976), M u n r o Beattie claims that the description of Anderson as '"a k i n d of teadrinking D y l a n Thomas'" is an apt and even "perceptive" one (283). H e then goes on to admit that while Anderson's "obsession" with "the appearance and sensations of teen-aged youths who are less conscious of their budding sexuality than their observer is" often proves "troublesome," "it has also been the inspiration of some of his most satisfying poems" (284). Throughout this twenty-seven year period, Christopher Ringrose, while completely eliding the issue of sexuality, was at the very least one of the few critics willing to champion Anderson's poetic voice as "authentically" Canadian. "If Patrick Anderson ever does return to  127 Canada," Ringrose concludes in a 1970 article, "he w o u l d be justified i n demanding a reassessment of his poetry, or at least that we abandon the current cliches about his work" (23). Anderson set about dismantling one such cliche himself in a 1973 rejoinder to his critics. Recognizing that the "virile" rhetoric used repeatedly in accounts of the Montreal poetry scene of the 1940s masked nothing so much as a latent misogyny, Anderson concludes: I always think recourse to virility as a value-judgement is dangerous, especially where women are concerned (their manly M i r i a m Waddington versus our languishing Patricia Page); it smacks of the Hemingway-Callaghan fight and makes me want to match Bruce Ruddick, who used to roll naked in the snow and was one of the most belligerant men I have met, against, say, the undoubtedly ebullient Irving Layton. ("A Poet Past and Future" 18) By this time, Anderson had already returned to Canada once (in 1971), and was about to make a second, extended visit: "Baffled for so many years by what he felt was Canadian critical indifference to his work, [Anderson] was discovering that his reputation as a Canadian poet was not so moribund as he had feared" (Campbell 93). Evidence of this came in a most unusual form, specifically a copy of a 1953 review of The Colour as Naked by Northrop Frye, one of the foremost arbiters of literary taste in Canada at the time. Professor Frye found the book "delightful to read" and "recommended [it] without reservation" (qtd. i n The Bush Garden 24). This was a decidedly—and perhaps necessarily—New Critical antidote  128 to the "intentional phallacies" perpetrated by Sutherland and his ilk. Unfortunately, as Anderson points out in the preface to the 1977 M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart edition of his "Selected Poems," Return to Canada (Anderson's last book, published two years before his death), "It took nineteen years for Northrop Frye's enthusiastic review . . . to reach me" (9). Throughout this time Canada was nevertheless to remain for Anderson "a sort of 'country of the mind,'" one w h i c h "had released [his] imagination and which was still . . . a place [he] was glad to have adopted" ("A Conversation with Patrick Anderson" 72). * **  Just over two decades after Sutherland's attack on Anderson in 1943, Scott Symons was similarly savaged in print over the 1967 publication of his first novel, Place d'Armes. The intervening years had of course witnessed a fervent growth in Canadian nationalism and a concomitant solidification of the literary canon i n this country, impulses which were only heightened in the frenzied build-up to Expo 67 and Canada's centenary celebrations. Indeed, as McCarthy notes, Smith's The Book of Canadian Poetry can also be said to have helped pave the w a y for the third and "most powerful version of Canadian literary history, . . . the displaced Protestant teleology of Frye's 'Conclusion'" to the first edition of the Literary History of Canada (31-32). It was just such a "displaced Protestant teleology" that Symons was reacting against in the hyper-Catholicism of Place d'Armes. H u g h Anderson's penitential entry into Notre Dame Cathedral to receive H o l y C o m m u n i o n at the end of the novel—and his subsequent post-coital "embrace" of the square outside—reflects not only a celebratory loss of his (and, by  129 extension, Symons's) "male maidenhead" in the asshole/"assoul" of the FrenchCanadian hustler, Andre; it also signals the successful defeat of the EnglishCanadian "Blandmind" mentality, which Symons claims always wants to "'square' the Gothic medieval cathedral" (Interview with Gibson 312), eschewing any bodily connection w i t h it: "This is the definitive Canadian disease. That we've all been Norrie Fryed! That we've all been bitten by such a little WASPerie! . . . The brute fact is that the Methodist-Presbyterian Canadian culture is against us being civilizedly articulate and sentient and sensual, if you wish, and palpable" (Interview w i t h Gibson 316). The added irony is of course that Symons was himself scion and hitherto favourite son of just such a Methodist-Presbyterian W A S P culture, born into a prominent family from Rosedale, then "Heart of Pan-Canadian Snobland," as Symons puts it in Civic Square (1969), "Residence-Royal of the Family Compact" (11). A n d for most of his first thirty-two years Symons did his best to live up to his oligarchic heritage, graduating from the University of Toronto's Trinity College and King's College, Cambridge w i t h a flurry of degrees and awards, marrying an heiress from a wealthy Toronto family, and becoming assistant curator of the Royal Ontario Museum's Canadiana collection. In reality, however, Symons was, during this time, growing increasingly disenchanted w i t h the state of his personal life, his choice of career, and what he saw as the crumbling infrastructure of English-Canadian society. By the late autumn of 1965 Symons had resolved "to smash the impasse of his marriage, his creativity and his nation"  130 (Taylor, Six Tourneys 211). H e did so, significantly, by boarding a train for Quebec. This trip, which saw Symons spending three weeks in a cramped hotel room adjacent Montreal's Place d'Armes, and which subsequently became the basis for his novel of the same name, was not his first visit to the city; nor was he arriving completely ignorant of Quebecois culture. In 1960, soon after returning from Paris (where he had been studying French literature at the Sorbonne), Symons joined the staff of La Presse, quickly publishing over the next six months a series of twenty-five articles examining the sources of the political and intellectual ferment i n the province and, in effect, prophesying the future: "At a time when English Canada remained largely ignorant of the challenge that was about to be mounted in Quebec, Symons had predicted the Quiet Revolution" (Taylor, Six Tourneys 203-204). The articles w o n Symons a National Newspaper A w a r d , as w e l l as honorary "French Canadian citizenship" among his Quebecois peers (see Taylor, Six Tourneys 204). But what was missing from this earlier attempt at cultural immersion was a sexual conversion of the sort described so hyperbolically in Place d'Armes. It is not enough to "know" French Canada; one must " K n o w " it as well. A n d , as H u g h puts it in Place d'Armes, in the midst of his back-to-back "tricking" w i t h Y v o n and Pierrot, "only the Biblical ' K n o w , ' w i t h its capitalized ' K ' describes for me this kind of knowledge" (38). A l o n g w i t h Cohen's Beautiful Losers (1966) and A q u i n ' s Trou de memoire (1968), texts I discussed in chapter one, and which bracket the publication of Symons's o w n , Place d'Armes can be said to have helped inaugurate Canadian  131 literary postmodernism. A l l three books are highly metafictional (not to mention extemely misogynistic). Place d'Armes alone is composed of at least five different "personal narratives," most distinguished by their o w n typeface (10 point roman, 12 point roman, italic, boldface, etc.). The book opens w i t h a third-person frame narrative, in which protagonist H u g h Anderson, about to leave Toronto, determines to write "a short novel on L a Place d'Armes in Montreal" (3). In order to accomplish this task, H u g h begins to keep a "Novel Notebook" for "his o w n private edification," as well as "[a] kind of revenge against the restrictions of the N o v e l itself—a sort of intimacy. The intimate privilege of the first person" (4). However, on Day 2 of the journey the reader soon discovers that H u g h is keeping another first-person diary, this one a record of his "assault on reality," a "log-book" of impressions, opinions and rants which he calls his "Combat Journal": "Between m y notebooks, my Combat Journal and what I manage to write of m y novel, the picture should be complete. A s complete as I can make it. A n d if I succeed, then I'll have m y novel from it. Then the rest can be set aside" (23). O n Day 7 H u g h finally begins his novel, Place d'Armes's fourth narrative layer. Yet, immediately a fifth layer is introduced when Hugh's main character, A n d r e w Harrison, begins his o w n first-person diary. A t this point separate storylines become hopelessly enmeshed and deliberately confused, something which H u g h remarks upon i n his "Combat Journal": "by allowing m y protagonist, A n d r e w , to write directly of his adventure, into his Diary (which then becomes me! weird, that), by presenting the rationale of it, his Diary becomes m y N o v e l , becomes m y Adventure, becomes me now—and m y N o v e l , being merely his Diary is reduced, and what I  am living becomes merely my N o v e l " (97). By the end of Symons's text this is i n fact what happens, w i t h Andrew's diary merging not only w i t h Hugh's novel, but also w i t h H u g h ' s "Combat Journal": "as I [Andrew] type this diary n o w I realize that m y novelette is in fact some deeper assault on reality than I cared to admit. It is war . . . between reality and me—I'll call this diary a Combat Journal: That's it—my Combat Journal—I'll stick a label on the front cover" (265-66). H u g h has become his o w n main character, the writer writing as well as being written: "Suddenly I [Hugh] have it . . . have it all—the novelette—the story . . . absurdly clear—even the name of the man: H u g h Anderson!" (267). Like Cohen and A q u i n (both of w h o m appear i n Place d'Armes, Cohen as himself, "a member of that fraternity of exilefd]" Jewish writers [140], and A q u i n as the revolutionary novelist Jacques Prevost, a man "who rejected his youth—killed his mother in revenge—went sterile—and took his revenge, again . . . in politics," and who, moreover, inscribes a copy of his book ' " A m o n ami H u g h Anderson . . . ce livre qu'il a mieux senti que la plupart de mes amis Canadiensfrangais'" [117] ), Symons is also attempting, in the midst of all this metafictional 7  subterfuge, to re-articulate—in part by re-eroticizing his relationship w i t h Canada, to provide "a vision of a sexualized nationalism" by focusing on the "figure of a doomed visionary whose thwarted sexuality mirrors that of a nation" (Martin, "Cheap Tricks" 199). A s H u g h notes in his journal at the end of Day 13, "better, by far, to be a pederaste than a 'federaste' . . . trust the French Canadian to find le mot juste for the gelded Canadian who makes a career out of his self-castration i n the Ottawa Pork Barrel. A l l federastes are of course pederastes manques" (141).  133 Whereas this strategy earned for Cohen and A q u i n critical accolades and Governor General's A w a r d s (both refused), it earned for Symons only enmity and scorn. Place d'Armes was almost without exception savaged by reviewers w h e n it first appeared, reviled for being sexually prurient and nationally seditious. A s Charles Taylor notes in Six Tourneys: A Canadian Pattern, "Most of the critics not only attacked the book for its literary faults; they also emphasized its homosexual passages, and were explicitly offended by the author's broadsides against English Canadian society" (217). Spearheading the attack was Robert Fulford. In a review published in the Toronto Star under the headline " A Monster From Toronto," Fulford concluded that H u g h Anderson "may well be the most repellent single figure i n the recent history of Canadian writing" (qtd. in Taylor, Six Tourneys 217). This blatantly homophobic construction of Place d'Armes's protagonist—and, by extension, its author—as monstrous has persisted in eclipsing the novel's significant technical achievement, so that in successive critical studies of Canadian literary postmodernism which claim Cohen and A q u i n as precursors (Hutcheon's Narcissistic Narrative and The Canadian Postmodern, Soderlind's M a r g i n / A l i a s , to cite the main titles mentioned in chapter one) Symons is consistently left out of Q  the picture. Soon after the publication of Place d'Armes events in Symons's private life colluded in solidifying his disreputable public image. H a v i n g fallen i n love w i t h a handsome seventeen-year-old from a prominent Toronto family, Symons was forced to flee the country for Mexico when his lover's parents sought the intervention of the Toronto Police Department's Morality Squad. For almost a  134 year Symons and his lover were on the run, evading both Canadian embassy officials and Mexican Federates. A s Symons commented on his situation, "I face the absurd reality of being some mere latter-day Oscar Wilde!—only possible i n a still Victorian Canada" (qtd. in Taylor, Six Tourneys 219). Symons was only able to return to Canada without fear of immediate arrest when it was announced that Place d'Armes had w o n the Beta Sigma P h i Best First Canadian N o v e l A w a r d . Three years later, however, he felt compelled to escape Canada again, this time to Morocco. Like Anderson before him, then, Symons's outsider status, the perception of h i m as both a national and sexual outlaw, made a voluntary form of exile appear if not inevitable, then certainly desirable. A n d while Symons's "returns" to Canada have been more regular and permanent, the work of both writers has to a large measure remained exiled from the canon of Canadian literature.  However,  as Robert K. Martin has noted (see "Sex and Politics" and "Cheap Tricks"), recent developments in gender theory and postcolonial studies offer productive ways in w h i c h to reread and reposition this work, not to mention the entire narratives of Canadian literary modernism and postmodernism, which, as I have attempted to suggest here, as well as in chapter one, are themselves queerly ripe for reassessment. One such way is to view Anderson and Symons not merely as poet and novelist, but also as travel writers. * **  Patrick Anderson's most sustained critical examination of the place and function of homoeroticism and homosexuality in Western literature can be found in his  135 introduction to Eros: A n Anthology of Friendship, the volume he co-edited w i t h Alistair Sutherland in 1961. A s Anderson remarks therein, the subject of the book is "any friendship between men strong enough to deserve one of the more serious senses of the w o r d 'love'" (8). Thus, included among the pieces collected i n the anthology are excerpts from Homer celebrating "the heroic comradeship" between Achilles and Patroclus, one or two of Shakespeare's homoerotic sonnets, a couple of Whitman's "Calamus" poems, several English public school stories, and so on. Commenting on this broad spectrum, Anderson intones none too modestly that he does "not think it is the job of an anthologist to be too firm about his categories, at least when the collection is something of a pioneer" (12). Still, he is firm enough in his literary self-convictions to place his o w n work within the historical parameters of this homoerotic tradition, including among the "Exotic Encounters" section a passage from Snake Wine. It is, I think, significant that Anderson chose to anthologize his prose in this context, rather than his poetry. For while much of Anderson's early poetry is clearly preoccupied w i t h eroticizing male friendship, it nevertheless helps, I w o u l d suggest, to read this work through the l e n s / p r i s m of his subsequent prose, particularly his "Oriental" and "Mediterranean" travel writing. Indeed, as I hope to demonstrate, such a move not only provides a much needed corrective to the virile nationalist dismissal of Anderson's verse, but also helps to expose, to "bring out" if you w i l l , its homosexual lines of filiation, especially in the case of literary precursors like Hart Crane and L o r d Byron. Of Byron, it has recently been argued that, in addition to being one of the most popular and influential writers of his time, he also "invented a new form of  136 'travel poetry'": in "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage a recognizably new attitude to travel is given narrative form, and a new kind of traveler is delineated i n the form of the romantic rebel" (Porter 126). In Byron and Greek Love, however, Louis Crompton wonders whether the poet's bisexuality might better "explain the psychology of the so-called Byronic hero" (8). For Crompton "[a] dawning awareness of his bisexual nature . . . was important in inspiring [Byron's] first trip to Greece and Turkey" in 1809-11 (12), just as his later exiled return there in 1816 was i n large part attributable to prevailing attitudes of "Georgian homophobia" in England. Certainly his strong appeal to Anderson, both as a biographical subject to analyze and as a poet to emulate, w o u l d seem to stem in equal measure from Byron's role as "travel writer" and "sexual nonconformist." In both D o l p h i n Days (1963), his "Notebook of Mediterranean Pleasures," and Over the A l p s (1969), a book of "Reflections on Travel and Travel Writing," Anderson devotes whole chapters to Byron's treks through Greece (the latter book also includes a chapter on another "notorious" homosexual traveler exiled from England, W i l l i a m Beckford), documenting i n detail the poet's successive relationships there w i t h Nicolo G i r a u d and Loukas Chalandritsanos: "In some such waters Byron and Nicolo bathed. Despite their whirlpools and dreary depths, we cannot ignore the physical exaltation and intellectual sympathy which the two must have experienced as they re-entered 'le paradis des amours enfantins [sic]'" (Dolphin Days 135). Moreover, in First Steps in Greece (1958) Anderson admits that his o w n childhood fascination w i t h the country had "something to do w i t h The Body," as well as the fact that "Lord Byron had concluded a disreputable life by dying for it" (11). Byron's influence  137 on Anderson is even reflected, I w o u l d argue, in the above cited passage from "Leaving Canada," the pathos of which can also be found in Childe Harold's decision to abandon his "fellow bacchanals" and his "native land" for "scorching climes beyond the sea": A n d now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart, A n d from his fellow bacchanals w o u l d flee; 'Tis said, at times the sullen tear w o u l d start, But Pride congealed the drop within his ee: Apart he stalked in joyless reverie, A n d from his native land resolved to go, A n d visit scorching climes beyond the sea; W i t h pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe, A n d e'en for change of scene would seek the shades below. (Canto I, VI) However, much more of a poetic presence in "Leaving Canada," and, arguably, within Anderson's entire ouevre, is Hart Crane, "a favourite American 9  w h o m . . . [Anderson] had discovered . . . in his o w n Caribbean landscape during the Christmas of 1939" (Dolphin Days 35-36). A s in Crane's "Voyages," the celebrated sequence of six lyric love poems that he wrote for E m i l Opffer in 1926, and in which he "attempted his most sustained literary inscription of homosexual relations as the incarnation of 'the W o r d made Flesh'" (Yingling 91), the sea provides for Anderson a "flood/ of romantic imagery" w i t h which to describe male friendship (Colour 86). In particular, the second stanza of "Leaving Canada"  138 seems to contain several echoes of Crane. For example, not only does Anderson's "silk and simpleton the dream" (86) recall Crane's "silken skilled transmemberment of song" i n "Voyages III" (Collected Poems 104), but Anderson's subsequent evocation of William's "cousin's suicide/ leaped beyond the r i m of g o o d / in the midnight" (86) can in part be read as an allusion to the American poet's o w n death by drowning after jumping from the deck of the Orizaba into the Gulf of Mexico 250 miles north of Havana on 27 A p r i l 1932. "[P]ast midnight" is, of course, the point at which Crane's "Voyages"—in sequence V , specifically—are "overtaken" by the "Slow tyranny of moonlight," the lovers unable to "deflect this tidal wedge" of time and change (Collected Poems 107). Only at this point—separation—does Anderson's o w n poem begin: i n the opening stanza the speaker is already "sail[ing] away" from W i l l i a m and "a country [Canada] where the g o o d / lies reflected in your eye" (Colour 86). However, despite the "icy and bright dungeons" of the sea in "Voyages VI" (Collected Poems 109) and the "Icebergs smelling of dead fish" in the final stanza of "Leaving Canada" (Colour 88), both Crane and Anderson conclude their respective poems w i t h a transcendant vision of the "Still fervid covenant" of bodily desire transmembered into something more spiritual, and therefore "unbetrayable" (Crane, Collected Poems 110): in "Voyages VI" this vision is accomplished through "The imaged W o r d " (Collected Poems 110), in "Leaving Canada" through the "ordering look" of memory (Colour 88). Although the immediate destination of the speaker at the end of "Leaving Canada" is England, Anderson himself left the country in 1950 for a two year  139 sojourn i n Singapore, an "episode" that provides the basis for Snake Wine, as well as several of the poems included in The Colour as Naked. In the latter text it is possible to trace the same kind of self/other dialectic that Sutherland saw operating at the "centre" of Anderson's earlier poetry, this time played out i n terms of the distance (both physical and psychical) travelled between the "intense cold," "rose of ice" and "white turn" of Canada and the t(r)opical pleasures of Singapore/Malaya, whose "strange birds," "jacarandas" and "sensuous  11 technicolour"  feed but do not fully sate '"the deeper, more complex needs of  the northern soul,'" as Anderson, quoting from Thomas Mann's "Mario and the Magician," puts it in the opening section of Snake Wine (58).  Commenting later in  that text on some "other reasons w h y Canada should appear over the edge of the balcony" of his house in Singapore, Anderson writes: "the tropics demand their opposite, palms call forth images of ice and snow, and this not only because the modern m i n d enjoys a paradox and likes to see different kinds of experience wrestling together; rather because behind the difference there lies a dreaming similarity" (226). A n interesting theory. In practice, however, Anderson's o w n neo-Adornian poetics preclude such easy synthesis. H i s "negative dialectics," make of Canada, as utopian ideal, as "white centre," a mere unreal semblance of harmonious unity (as, indeed, politically it always has been), while the defamiliarized and unreconcilable shapes and sounds and sights of Singapore—its "canon of prohibitions," to use Adorno's term (Aesthetic Theory 53)—only point out the necessary failure of any attempt at poetic syncretism. (It is perhaps no  140 coincidence, then, that after his stay in Singapore, which culminated i n the publication of The Colour as N a k e d , Anderson largely abandoned the writing of poetry altogether, and, moreover, only returned to poetry when he started thinking about Canada again—and, concomitantly, when Canada started thinking about h i m again.) Thus, in Canada, out of "the lovely negativity of i c e / pleasures alight in flocks upon the ponds," "summer and winter [stroll] hand i n hand" and "the b e l l / of dark" is kept at bay ("Sestina in Time of Winter" 20). In Singapore, however, the poet's "ghostly, . . . projected s o u l / panicfs]" and his "amputated" other seems "separate and grey," reminding us that in "Plato's cave" "when illusion d i e d / . . . man and lens were left outside" ("A M o n k e y in Malaya" 68). Whereas in Canada "a poem hardly makes a shadow" and is "a thing of light" ("The Candles: Dorchester Street" 33), in Singapore The poet must be devoured by his terrible image. The stuffed bird going black on the flowered w a l l , the stillness caged like a condor holds face from lace, the cupboard place from the parlour, mice behind golden picture, dark from dark, O into a mirror flies my face, in a metaphor I am altered, and the bird in the glass and the bird in the w o r d strikes back. ("The Strange Bird" 84) What Anderson is here confronting in his "consideration of the Orient," according to Roland Barthes, is nothing less than "the possibility of a difference, of a  141 mutation, of a revolution in the propriety of symbolic systems" (Empire of Signs 3-4). Whereas Canada remains for Anderson a fixed symbolic system, where poetic images signify stasis, containment, causality, and where in "the lovely negativity of ice" there is still a white centre out of which "pleasures alight i n flocks u p o n the pond," Anderson's Singapore, like Barthes's Japan, manifests itself as a v o i d , a black hole ("dark from dark"), an empire of perpetually inscrutable and endlessly proliferating signs, where "the bird in the glass" is also "the bird i n the word," and where "the inside no longer commands the outside" (Barthes, Empire 62). Of course, Somerset Maugham had, in The Casuarina Tree (1926) and A h king (1933), already captured the Western colonial perspective on the "chaos" of Malaya, warning of the dangers of "running amok" in its uncentred spaces.  In  Snake Wine there is never really any question of Anderson succumbing to the "darkness" of Singapore, of the poet himself wanting to "go black," and thereby "plunder [his] European self" (72).  A t least certainly not to the extent that a  similar process of "going native" was possible in Canada (that is, the Canada that Anderson saw or was permitted to see), where elisions of race and class then appeared more easily negotiable. Indeed, i n Snake Wine, as the empire begins both to strike and to write back, the reader finds Anderson quickly abandoning his wartime Canadian socialist principles and eagerly assuming all the trappings of colonial privilege: "Ever since London, where my friends were so amusing on the subject, the idea of having a servant has been almost an obsession w i t h me, as a symbol of luxury, a challenge to my imagination and tact, and an opportunity to  142 get into direct relation w i t h the East" (43). To be sure, i n the case of Anderson and his newly acquired "Boy," A h Ting, it soon becomes difficult to tell "which . . . is really the master" (43); indeed, in this domestic menage A h Ting is at least i n part Anderson's jailer, a dialectical image reinforced by the ubiquitous presence of A h Ting's key chain. Throw homosexual desire into this admixture of racial and class differences and one can potentially understand Anderson's uneasy and disquieting fascination w i t h the "dark margins" of Singapore, "a crazy w o r l d of flaring lamps, far too much beer, and children whose business was to flirt w i t h Europeans for money" (281), "a place where the evocative cry Boy! w i t h its connotations of Ganymede, Giton and the interests of some of m y L o n d o n friends, echoed from every corner" (32). Anderson's textual regulation of these competing differences forces h i m to transform the beguiling boy i n the cachou tree w i t h w h o m he shares "a smile of complicity" i n Snake Wine (72) into a well-scrubbed public school martyr, of the likes described by Hopkins or Housman "with [their] tightlipped art," i n a poem included some twenty years later i n A Visiting Distance (103). Anderson ruminates upon this dialectical process of rendering the "primitive" boy "in terms of classical art" at greater length i n Search M e , an "autobiography" of his years i n Canada, Spain, and the Black Country of England. Commenting on a "game" he liked to play, in which "two boys repeated, if i n rather exaggerated ways, the two types of friend I had sought when I was myself young," Anderson distinguishes between what he calls the "brown" boy, w h o is "rather brutal-looking," and whose body emphasizes "the mere possession of  143 flesh," and the "fair" boy, who is "the pretty type, slim and delicately built," "content to be passive" (106, 107). H e then goes on to claim that "[m]uch of m y childhood seems to me now the attempt . . . to reach completion through . . . friendship w i t h a fair one, although this was likely to be such a rare occurrence that b r o w n substitutes had often to be found" (108). It w o u l d appear that Anderson continued to seek out "brown substitutes" as an adult as w e l l , both in his prose and in his poetry. For the description of Toto's gypsy dance at the end of Search M e (216-17), or Terrence's Carmen Miranda routine in Snake Wine (6061, 70), or the "unorthodox but dramatic photographs" of Paul, George, M i k e and Evangelos at the "Rock and Roll" bar in First Steps in Greece (110-23), are all of a piece w i t h Anderson's depiction of Timofyey, the "twelve year old w i t h the mouse fringe," who is "neither male nore female," who wears "neither a shirt nor a dress," i n The White Centre ("Boy in a Russian Blouse" 57), and the "wide boy," the "Ganymede k i d " who "sit[s] in the nightclub so sulky," in The Colour as N a k e d ("Spiv Song" 77, 78), and the "sailor picked up somewhere near the Zoo" who "had a train to miss" and a "warm wet gravel of [a] kiss" in A Visiting Distance ("Strangers Brought H o m e " 97). The connection that I am making here between Anderson's early "Montreal" poems and his later "foreign" prose has much to do w i t h the fact that although he eventually became a citizen of the Canadian nation (in 1945, as mentioned above), Anderson remained for the most part a sexual tourist in Quebec. In his 1989 memoir of Anderson, Patrick Campbell notes that "[i]f Greece had been the epicentre of Patrick's old world, rediscovered in the fifties long after  144 the ritual steeping in the classics at Sherborne and Oxford, then Canada had previously occupied that position during the forties" (93). More specifically, I w o u l d argue, it was Quebec that occupied the position of Greece for Anderson during the forties. A n d , perhaps even more particularly, Montreal.  (Anderson  concludes his 1974 interview w i t h Seymour Mayne by stating that "I guess I am a Montrealer" [79].) The metaphorical equivalency established between Quebec and Greece in Anderson's writing, it seems to me, is less a geographic than an erotic one, mapping the desire, rather than the distance, between two fantasies of otherness. A s Robert K. Martin has persuasively argued, "English Canadian writers w h o have wished to attack their o w n culture for its Victorianism, its Puritanism, and its moral rigidity have turned to Quebec w i t h the same ambivalence that the late Romantics regarded Italy or Greece" ("Two Days in Sodom" 28). Anderson, the so-very "English" Canadian writer, the "tea-drinking D y l a n Thomas" gradually coming to writerly awareness of his sexuality, could hardly then have avoided becoming occasionally Byronic in his poetic descriptions of his new city, as indeed Byron w o u l d later figure so prominently in many of Anderson's travel memoirs. Thus, in a poem like "Montreal" "the frightened boy utter[ing] his tedious soliloquy" and the "other hero [who] sang of joy like a tenor" harken back not "to some period in the writer's childhood," as John Sutherland w o u l d have us believe ("The Writing of Patrick Anderson" 4); rather, they "belong to [another] theatre [Anderson] knew" ("Montreal"), namely the legendary samesex love affairs (Zeus and Ganymede; A p o l l o and Hyacinth; Sylvanus and Cyparissus) performed in classical mythology and restaged by successive  145 generations of poets, including the Romantics. In the end, of course, Byron's Romantic vision of Greece was also a political one—exemplified no better than in his o w n death. So too with Anderson's vision of Montreal, where "the terraces of class run d o w n to our nationhood," where "the broad street of the Jews/ lay open between the twisted fascist alleys," and where the "people's armies" are composed of "French and E n g l i s h , / Jew and not Jew, artist and public" ("Montreal"). The "infinite consanguinity" (to borrow a phrase from Crane's "Voyages") of sexual and national politics infusing Anderson's writing on Quebec finds further expression in two chapters in The Character Ball, chapters that trace "interior" journeys—"exteriorized," respectively, in a late-night cruise of the city and a tranquil summertime "idyll" in the countryside—Anderson w o u l d return to, i n poetic form, in A Visiting Distance. In the case of the opening of the chapter entitled "The Teeth of the Lion," Anderson was actually returning to a setting first explored in "Night Out," a poem included in A Tent for A p r i l . Both works describe the casual fraternity experienced in a Montreal tavern, yielding enough textual clues to suggest that, in each case, the tavern in question is i n fact a gay bar: in "Night Out" "soldiers opaque with purpose/ [drink] gymnastically on death's edge," "the evening opens to an endless prospect/ of male and easy city," and d a w n brings w i t h it "transformed identities" and "logical breakfasts" (Tent); in "The Teeth of the L i o n " the Peel Tavern is a place where "no women are allowed," where "[e]yes must be kept to themselves," and where "degenerate intimacies," though discouraged, are nevertheless possible (The Character Ball 161). One such "degenerate" intimacy comes closer to fruition for Anderson when he is joined by  146 Jacques, a handsome blond Quebecois "tough," who "strutted and rolled his shoulders like the hero of a Western" and was "the essence of youthfulness" (161). Jacques, a former pro baseball player, has turned to "a life of crime" (162), suggesting that his character might also have served as the basis for Anderson's "wide-boy" in the poem "Spiv Song." Suffering from a painful toothache, Jacques immediately enlists Anderson's aid in accompanying h i m to the dentist. What follows is a brief tour through the seedy streets of Montreal's underworld, where doctors keep offices above strip clubs, that culminates in a drunken confrontation in Anderson's apartment. Throughout the comic sketch, Anderson offers glimpses of both local colour—"There is a superstition in Quebec that if you bury your teeth in the garden you are more likely to breed boys" (164)—and sexual tension: "Jacques turned round, grinning. ' Y o u got any girls in this house?' he asked. The dusty light from the small bulb over the sink romped in his hair. Then he swung forward into the dark of the hall. In the shadow his swollen face seemed all the more flushed, gay, contemptuous. 'Don't bother to answer,' he added" (165). Returning to the poem "Night Out" via this story, we notice that the changes Anderson makes to the version included in A Visiting Distance (retitled "Night Out: Montreal Tavern") consist mainly of adding extra elements of quebecite, of introducing into the homoerotics of place symbolized by the tavern a measure of national alterity as well: enter le gang, les boys, Sweet Caps inhaled into theatre-red lungs which move the furry pectorals below  147 pindot and check and stripe, then pouted out from powerful gargoyle lips the adult signatures deforming in the air, pants hitched, brought forward the curious nakedness of human hands too big, like animals for hurt, escaped from somewhere's d i m paysage, the shoulders hunched to bury them on the freckled wooden moon of an evening's pleasure. (A Visiting Distance 35) The speaker of the poem is at once inside and outside this scene, content to be a silent observer "when friend denounces friend," but also recognizing that the urinal "that weeps and prays all day,/ for all of us all day," is "familiar as a cave," an altar "where we confess ourselves and write our names" (A Visiting Distance 35, 36). Questions of inside and outside, figure and ground— especially as they relate to nationalism and sexuality—are also paramount in "At Baie St. Paul," a prose sketch that "documents" an "idyllic" summer holiday spent by the fictionalized Anderson and his wife, "Mary," in Quebec's Laurentians. Even though there is a war on, and even though the province is gearing up for a plebiscite concerning its participation in that war—"Votez Non for conscription on every w a l l " (The Character Ball 110)—the Andersons are initially loath to abandon their metropolitan condescension regarding the essential "vitality" of the rural habitants and paysage: "Mary and I, who felt so tender towards the landscape, . . .  148 felt that, whatever the politics, there must be innocence and lyricism and gaiety underneath" (111). Only the arrival of "the deserter" jolts Anderson out of his colonial complacency, forcing h i m to acknowledge that to the Quebecois townspeople he and his wife are very much "les Anglais, the imperialist oppressors and therefore in league w i t h the police" (119). Watching the young man hide his A r m y greatcoat in the river, Anderson realizes that, despite his political sympathies ("leftist supporter of the war," "proponent of a Second Front"), he w i l l "do nothing about it" (117). Instead, the incident provokes "sudden sympathies" within Anderson, a recognition of "mutual hiding": "as I identified myself w i t h the deserter, something in me deserted too" (121). T w o earlier Baie St. Paul sketches, both published in Preview in 1943, make no mention of the episode with the deserter, but nevertheless provide clues regarding Anderson's deeply ambivalent attachment to the region and its inhabitants. The first, entitled "Notes from M y Journal: Baie St. Paul," focuses on a local boy, Pierre, and his "fiches," a collection of tracts that formed "a kind of encyclopedia of Catholic thought" (10). While dubious of the claims made by Pierre's fiches, Anderson is reverent in his appreciation of Baie St. Paul itself: "I had seldom been so attracted to a place as I was to Baie St. Paul. Its people were kind and hospitable, and I felt that I could understand and sympathise w i t h their grievances and loyalties, just as I could sympathise w i t h the Boers or the Irish" (11). In "Further Notes from Baie St. Paul," Anderson introduces his readers to the conjuror Brother Maurice, a mysterious Mannian figure (featured prominently in the final published version of "At Baie St. Paul") who seems to cast a pall over  149 Anderson's vision of the landscape and of himself: "I was, I suppose, over ready to detect the sinister and strange, especially since this countryside symbolised many confused haunting preoccupations of my own—this place that was so lovely and so wrong, so much minority-land, rich in grievances, frustrations and outmoded faiths" (7-8). The identification between Quebec as national minority and Anderson as sexual minority that runs throughout all three stories is made much more explicit in the poem "Remembering Baie St. Paul." Returning to the landscape "after thirty years to salvage a sketch or a poem," Anderson realizes that his "heart's minority was saying N o " to heteronormativity in much the same way that "Quebec said N o to conscription": Obsessed w i t h our propagandist marriage, too nervous to be hurt,  we took years to cry out the two considered N o ' s that broke us up (Visiting 149) Thus, in both prose sketch and poem, Anderson's peregrinations in "minorityland" enable h i m to realize, "at least in retrospect, that his o w n separate status as a gay man, like the status of the Quebecois resisters to British imperial service, must make h i m doubt the utility of a common front that allows no place for difference" (Martin, "Sex" 113).  150 That no similar writerly epiphany seems to have occurred to Scott Symons i n the nearly twenty years between the publication of Place d'Armes and his most recent novel, Helmet of Flesh (1986), suggests something of the way in which his "textual nationalism" comes perilously close to reproducing situations of "sexual colonialism," the way in which, in order to rewrite "homosexuality" (identity) as "mansex" (mere activity), Symons repeatedly transforms all other differences (national, cultural, class, even architectural!) into fetishes. In Place d'Armes, for example, Pierrot's rotten teeth, like Jacques's in "The Teeth of the Lion," are "indelibly Canayen . . . like rotted patates frites," the "life-giving dirt" of his body suggestive of "a lusher, richer wine. Pourriture noble" (38). In Helmet of Flesh, moreover, Symons repeatedly tropes on the novel's title, remarking at one point that Marrakech is "like a cathedral with a hard-on," its hordes of beautiful brown boys like "Roman candles, sparklers, detonating where they stand" (276, 42). Thus, paradoxically, in employing French-Canadian hustlers and Moroccan boys as textual representations of national alterity Symons also requires of these characters an absence of signification other than the purely sexual. They are simply a metaphorical means to an equally metaphorical end: the shattering of the English-Canadian writer's "male maidenhead." (It is surely no coincidence that "Keb," the diminutive York Mackenzie bestows upon his Moroccan lover in Helmet of Flesh, is also short for "kebab"—"dark meat" on a skewer—nor that it rhymes w i t h "zeb," the Arabic word for penis.) The charming, folkloric, and servile foreign youths that populate Symons's fiction make no permanent demands on either his protagonists or his readers, and whatever image of the  151 "other" we are permitted to glimpse in their lithe, pliant, and frequently malnourished bodies perforce remains a composite one: in Place d'Armes Y v o n Pierrot-Andre are more or less interchangeable; in Helmet of Flesh York distinguishes between the young men he meets w i t h names like "Blue Boy" and "Blondboy," but remains unable to describe his lover, Kebir, in any terms other than absence ("couldn't think about Kebir, because Kebir then vanished" [42]; "Couldn't think what Kebir was, only what he wasn't!" [117]). If ever there were a candidate in Canadian letters for the sobriquet of "Byronic hero," it might well be Scott Symons. Like Byron's Childe H a r o l d and D o n Juan, Symons's H u g h Anderson and York Mackenzie, Helmet of Flesh's putative hero, compose "personal narratives" of their travels (and sexual conquests), "combat journals" outlining their disaffection from their "federastic" birthplaces, which simultaneously double as Baedekers to the "pederastic" pleasures awaiting them in "foreign" lands (in the case of Symons, Quebec and Morocco). Yet, as Robert Martin has recently pointed out, it is "important to examine some of the premises on which Symons casts himself as revolutionary hero," particularly the ways in which his "search for a more hospitable gay place may involve the appropriation of the other for what amounts to a kind of sexual tourism" ("Cheap Tricks" 198). Focusing on Place d'Armes, "a travel journal that wants to rewrite the conventions of travel writing," Martin demonstrates h o w Symons's "remapping" of Montreal as "a city of male desire"—a textual strategy materially reinforced by the annotated maps, postcards, newspaper clippings, and souvenir brochures included in the manila pouch on the inside front cover of the  152 1967 first edition  —constitutes an example of what M a r y Louise Pratt has  termed "anti-conquest" literature, that is, literature in which colonial guilt is attenuated and national virtue accentuated through the eroticization and fetishization of otherness (see Martin, "Cheap Tricks" 202, 203; and Pratt, Imperial Eyes 38-68). A n d yet, while Pratt's representation of the "protagonist" of anticonquest travel writing as the "seeing-man," the "male subject of European landscape discourse . . . whose imperial eyes passively look out and possess" (7), easily relates to H u g h Anderson, it even more aptly describes York Mackenzie. A s Joseph Boone has recently noted, "The number of gay and bisexual male writers and artists who have traveled through North Africa in pursuit of sexual gratification is legion as well as legend" ("Vacation Cruises" 90). Think of A n d r e Gide and Oscar Wilde meeting in Algeria i n 1895 (a desert "encounter" delineated by Jonathan Dollimore at the beginning of Sexual Dissidence, 3-18). Think of the perverse pleasures and sexual escapades of Gustave Flaubert and Lawrence Durrell in Egypt, or those of Sir Richard Burton and T.E. Lawrence in "Arabia," or those of just about everybody else—including Paul Bowles, W i l l i a m Burroughs, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore V i d a l , A l l e n Ginsberg, Joe Orton, Jean Genet, Ronald Firbank, Michael Davidson, and Roland Barthes—in Morocco. It is thus hardly surprising that Scott Symons, exiled from the "Canadian Bestiary," the "world's most succesful anaphrodisiac," should also eventually find his w a y to this libidinal paradise—a place that "is everything Canada ain't" (Helmet 72)—and, what's more, that he should choose to make it the setting of his third "confessional" novel.  153 In many respects, Helmet of Flesh picks up where Place d'Armes leaves off, opening w i t h a sensuous description of a crowded city square alive w i t h music and dance: "The street dissolved, and he was standing in an immense open square. A sound like tambourines exploded about thirty yards away, and curious he hastened towards it" (11). Just as the cathedral spires of Notre Dame symbolize male plenitude in Place d'Armes, so does the tower of the ancient Koutoubia mosque incarnate the "phallic liturgy of Marrakech" in Helmet of Flesh (271). Like H u g h , York fashions himself as a fugitive from his o w n culture, an "escapee" of "the whole fucking Canadian Protestant plausible Gliblib gynarchical" regime, a sexual adventurer who has travelled to Morocco in order "to look orgasm in the eye," that is, to reaffirm his masculinity, and thereby his national identity (Helmet 22, 21). A l s o like H u g h , York keeps a notebook or diary, recording his impressions of and experiences in this new land. A sense of perspectival doubleness thus pervades Helmet of Flesh. N o t only are Canada and Morocco repeatedly juxtaposed, but the narrative itself is constantly shifting: diegetically between the third-person frame and the interior first-person commentary of York's diary; temporally and spatially between Marrakech and Osprey Cove, Newfoundland; stylistically between lush participial romanticism and biting declarative satire. A s a result, it is often very difficult to distinguish between what is "reality" and what is "fantasy" in the text, between those events York has actually experienced and those he has imagined, or even hallucinated (such as the "magic carpet" tea ceremony w i t h K a r i m in chapter eight). This process is exacerbated by the competing emotional pulls York feels  154 towards Kebir, the young Marrakshi boy he meets on his first day in Morocco, and John, the Canadian lover waiting for h i m in Osprey Cove. In York's m i n d the two men become fused as one: York even gives Kebir John's two-headed falcon talisman to wear for the duration of his stay in Marrakech. A s Peter Buitenhuis has remarked, the novel's plot structure is also doubled, "consisting] of two great and dizzy loops": "The first takes York through and beyond the Atlas mountains to a remote oasis and back; the second takes h i m to a sheikh's mansion in the interior near Demna before returning h i m to Marrakech and his departure for Canada" (64). Accompanying York on his first trip into the sub-Saharan interior are two British men he meets at the G r a n d Hotel Fauzi: James Goodison, an apparently upper class Oxbridge type conducting research on the Glaoui, "the last great warlord of North Africa" (38); and Anthony Napier, a retired army colonel and "perambulating zebophile" who is conducting certain investigations of his o w n under the burnouses of local Moroccan lads (148). What starts out "[l]ike a Boy's Own Annual escapade, or Chums" (89), soon turns into a frightening journey into Africa's "heart of darkness," culminating in what York's sensory-overloaded mind registers as a bloody sacrifice in M ' H a m i d . The British gentlemen—who, it turns out, are not really gentlemen at all, the one merely "imitation," the other disgraced (187)—are themselves contrasted w i t h the vaguely aristocratic French decadents w h o m York meets at "le tout Hotel des A m i s " upon his return to Marrakech: Monsieur Claude, "Grand Master of A l l Ceremonies," a painter who is forever finding angels in the faces of the boys who sit for h i m (258); Richard, who, like "an endless subjunctive clause . . . out of  155 Proust," has come to Marrakech to die (299); and Bertrand, a "fallen satyrling" addicted to heroin and his o w n beauty (270). A t an allegorical level, of course, both sets of castaway characters can be seen to represent the two "founding nations" of Canada. While the Grand Fauzi and Hotel des A m i s groups never interact directly in the text, English and French (not to mention Canadian and Moroccan) are brought together symbolically in the novel's final chapter at the dinner party hosted by Herbert and Rebecca, a "volubly normal" British couple (311), for the Hotel des A m i s "boys": here the common enemy becomes the American tour party that invades the restaurant and takes over the dance floor. York, while fascinated by the European expatriates he meets in Morocco, is also at great pains throughout the text to distance himself from them. This takes the form of his repeated insistence that he is neither gay, nor a tourist. For, according to York, the "gay world is a predicate of phallic failure" and tourists "parasite a culture" (261, 260). The problem w i t h such an assessment is that it completely elides the economics of York's relationship w i t h Kebir, which York not only places outside the Third W o r l d "tourist trade in boys" (see Boone 99), but also Occidental "instalment plan" sex: "K. only gives what he already holds. The opposite to debit-loving, expense account sex (play now, pay later)" (Helmet 118). A n d yet, while York, unlike most sexual tourists in Morocco, may not have to pay Kebir for sex, this does not mean that their relationship is completely non-exploitative.  In  this regard, it is important to note that Kebir is not just York's lover; he is also York's guide: "Keb's task in life still was—to be Kebir. To be the person he was:  156 the splendour of their voyage through the mountains, song of that high valley, endless dance of Morocco" (252). A s in Place d'Armes, the body of an autochthonous other ("manscape") becomes synonymous in Helmet of Flesh w i t h the indigenous landscape; it is unexplored territory (unexplored, but not necessarily virgin) to be charted and possessed, a "whole nation lying rampant" under a colonizing eye/I (Place 39): "Black crepuscular landscape, mountains and valleys of Marrakshi named Kebir. A n d rising in that landscape, a giant red flower on a black stalk. Rich tulip of Kebir's cockhead" (Helmet 57). Robert Martin has convincingly documented Symons's debt, in Place d'Armes, to A n d r e Gide's L'immoraliste (see "Cheap Tricks" 207). In Helmet of Flesh, w i t h its N o r t h African locale, the debt to Gide's 1902 novel, as well as to his 1926 autobiography, Si le grain ne meurt, is even more pronounced. Like M i c h e l in L'immoraliste, Helmet of Flesh's York undergoes a near-death experience on the edge of the desert; also like Michel, York's "surrender to inner passions" is frequently "projected outward onto the African landscape" (Boone 101). But just as Anderson's Snake Wine finds an unlikely intertext in Barthes's Empire of Signs, so can Symons's Helmet of Flesh be read, it seems to me, against the grain of Barthes's posthumously published Incidents. Both Helmet of Flesh and Incidents are, in their o w n way, travel books: the one a novel that maps a clear identitarian itinerary of exile and return, the other a journal documenting an international cruising circuit. Both are also what I w o u l d label "visual" texts, in the sense that they are concerned w i t h the power of observation, the defilement of perception, and the narcissism of the desiring gaze  157 (in the body of the other might I catch a glimpse of my true self). Yet, whereas Symons casts York as a kind of "Don Quixote who quails at a teapot" (Helmet 329), the passive, all-seeing "anti-conquest" hero shuffling nervously at the centre of the "dervish dance that goes on all around him" (Buitenhuis 65), Barthes's Moroccan impressions are recorded at a distance, not to mention at a slightly skewed angle. The semiology of Barthes's text is one of refraction rather than mere reflection, fleeting "evanescence" rather than perpetual "synaesthesia."  14  Whereas York is constantly trying to make sense of Morocco, to plumb its depths for hidden meanings, to naturalize the landscape and its inhabitants syllogistically, Barthes's Moroccan diary is all about surface and the suspension of meaning, his writing deliberately aphoristic, encoded, citational. For Barthes, language itself becomes the necessary detour through otherness: "I enjoy A m i d o u ' s vocabulary:  dream and burst for get an erection and have an orgasm" (Incidents 29).  Of  course, ironically, both Symons's and Barthes's Moroccan texts can be taken as examples of what Martin has called an "ecriture gaie," a way of "writ[ing] homosexually without writing homosexuality," inspired in part by the corpus of Barthes's o w n works ("Roland Barthes" 282). The masturbatory prose of Helmet of Flesh, for example, its almost apocalyptic puissance, follows the "productive" prescription made by Barthes at the end of The Pleasure of the Text; in turn, the fragmentary, epigrammatic, and voyeuristic style employed by Barthes in Incidents is of a piece w i t h his later works, most notably A Lover's Discourse. The question remains, however, as to which text/style, in its bodily specificity, is better suited to the representation of cultural difference.  158 Certainly Symons would appear to be more susceptible than Barthes (or Anderson, for that matter) to the totalizing gesture. Witness, for example, the opening and closing refrain of Civic Square: " A l l cocks are beautiful." Symons's limited edition second novel, 848 pages of unbound typescript loosely packaged in a mock Birks blue box (a recurring symbol of castrating matriarchy throughout the book), is, in formal terms at least, perhaps his most experimental; it is also, in m y opinion, his least successful. Divided into three "segments," the novel is actually a series of 33-35 letters penned by "Scott," and addressed to "D.R.," or "Dearreader."  These letters are dated chronologically, spanning the period  between 10-11 M a y 1966 and 21 A p r i l 1967, but are arranged i n no particular sequential order: for example, letter #29, which starts on page 387 of the text, is followed by letter #7 on page 400; and letter #9 (pp. 451-85, 522-58, and 575-99) is interrupted by letter #31 (pp. 486-521) and letter #32 (pp. 559-74). Occasionally, "D.R." writes back to "Scott," as in letter #14, and the two "characters" finally c o m e / c u m together in a phallic moment of "psychic tumescence" at the end of the novel.  18  Civic Square is thus partly structured as a nineteenth-century epistolary romance, a collection of love letters through which Symons gradually seduces us, his readers. Mostly, however, it is an extended rant, a litany of complaint. Writing i n and of Toronto, his "hometown," and the city he has come to associate most w i t h the "Blandmind" mentality stifling English Canada, Symons is, for the first time, unable to offer any redemptive vision at the end of all his sermonizing. There is no Morocco or Quebec to supply the necessary ecstatic alternative.  159 Compared to Montreal's Place d'Armes, and Marrakech's Djema-El-Fna, Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square is cold and passionless, its new city hall oppressively ugly and virtually panoptical in design. A g a i n , like Anderson before h i m , Symons is here confronting that quintessentially Canadian paradox of inside and outside. Accustomed to his role as intrepid outsider, travelling to new lands and cultures in search of an exportable identity, Symons finds himself, once back inside the heart of English Canada, incapable of importing difference. * **  In Haunted Tourneys: Desire and Transgression in European Travel Writing, Dennis Porter uses Freud's concept of the "uncanny" or "unhomely" (Unheimlich) to suggest that "there is a sense in which our desire to leave a given home is at the same time the desire to recover an original lost home. . . . [T]here is a deja vu of travel that is to be understood in part through the theory of the uncanny. The lands we pass through are haunted even if the ghosts do not always manifest themselves directly" (12). Of course, for Freud, the "original lost home" is also the womb, a concept not without relevance to Anderson and Symons, both of w h o m had their o w n peculiar Oedipal fixations. In the final stanza of Anderson's "Dear Son," for example, the title character "ride[s] the children's pony of his lust" within his mother's "jolly tent" (The Colour as Naked 27); for his part, Symons seems more intent on matricide in Place d'Armes, railing against Canada's " N e w M o m m y , " w i t h her vagina dentata, "eating all, everyone—thousands sacrificed to this new smotherlove" (155). Moreover, in Helmet of Flesh York asserts that "Gay w o r l d is M o m m y ' s revenge, passed through Sonny-boy. M o m m y ' s cunt-rule  160 passed up dear Sonny's arse (eroticism of hate, from generation unto generation!)" (262). The irony here is that this "eroticism of hate" is fully congruent w i t h the "virile nationalism" espoused by Sutherland and his successors in their critical attacks on Anderson, Symons's virulent misogyny the manifest sign of a deeply internalized homophobia. In both versions/visions of Canada, women are consistently left out of the picture, their sole apparent function to breed patriotic sons (who then eviscerate them in words, if not in deed), a point w h i c h w i l l be investigated further at the beginning of chapter five. Immediately superseding the womb, then, is another home: the nation, an "imagined community" capable of manifesting its o w n ghostly patterns of exile and return. A s Charles Taylor puts it in Six Tourneys, each of the subjects profiled in his book "was forced into a life of loneliness and isolation. They felt compelled to escape their Canadian society, and to sharpen the edges of their identities in different forms of exile. . . . They journeyed into spiritual realms which modern Canada ignores or denigrates, yet none was an escapist: each was concerned to formulate a vision that w o u l d work in Canada, for Canadians" (v, vi). This is i n keeping w i t h Anderson's assertion in Over the A l p s that the most successful traveler is the one who achieves "that balance between inner and outer which suggests experience appropriated, a vision achieved" (32). Certainly his o w n "desire not to lose faith with Canada" was repeatedly signalled by the inclusion of "substantial pieces on [his] adopted homeland in every one of [his] early prose books" (Anderson, " A Poet" 10). Symons likewise admits to "a nostalgia. For m y  161 land, and its people. I'm a romantic. A sin in this era of belated Canadian positivism" (Place d'Armes 11). But the sense of national longing that runs throughout so much "travel writing"—including that of Anderson and Symons—is more often than not accompanied by an equally palpable element of sexual transgression, as Porter's study makes so abundantly clear, w i t h its chapters on Flaubert, T.E. and D . H . Lawrence, Gide, Freud, and Barthes. This too is the subtext of Taylor's book, the foregrounded homosexuality in the concluding Symons chapter remaining the unspoken secret in the preceding two on Herbert N o r m a n and E m i l y Carr. One can only speculate on how Canadian literary history—and, in particular, the narratives of Canadian modernism and postmodernism—might have been different, or differently written, had Anderson and Symons received a more sympathetic hearing from their contemporary critics. What the examples of Anderson and Symons do suggest is a somewhat different "Canadian pattern" from the one proposed by Taylor, one whose every rewriting—in works by C o l i n McPhee (A House in Bali), Edward Lacey (The Forms of Loss, Path of Snow), John Glassco (Memoirs of Montparnasse), Stan Persky (Then We Take Berlin)  and  rereading (in this chapter, for example) helps to reconceptualize "the complex undercurrents of those fantasized geographies of male desire that depend on, even as they resist, the homoerotics of [a nationalist] discourse" (Boone 104). Of course, this "pattern," as both Taylor and I have described it, is in many ways only applicable to English Canada. In Quebecois literature and culture, where inside and outside frequently get reversed, and where the trope of exile is  162 used repeatedly to designate Quebec's position within Canada (hence the political relevance of a slogan like "Maitres chez nous"), nationalist fantasies—at least as they have been represented on stage over the past two decades—seem to be far less resistant to homoerotic and homosexual encrypting. M u c h to the chagrin of someone like Hubert A q u i n .  163  Notes 1. In "Montreal Poets of the Forties," Wynne Francis notes that Sutherland's introduction to Other Canadians "does not ring true . . . because Sutherland was not  a socialist. . . . It is probably the one critical article that he sincerely regretted having written and by 1950 he w o u l d have recalled all copies from circulation if he could have had his way" (30; my emphasis). 2. Sutherland's retraction, printed on the front cover of volume 1.20 of First Statement, reads as follows: I w i s h to retract all statements made i n m y article, "The Writing of Patrick Anderson", which i n any way concern the motivation of M r . Anderson's poetry and prose.  I apologize for misreadings of M r .  Anderson's works, and for m y statement  that a story  entitled,  "Dramatic Monologue", was a part of M r . Anderson's diary. - John Sutherland 3. A much more generous assessment of Finch's life and work, one that contrasts the "formalist aesthete" and "lifelong bachelor" with the "expatriate wild-man" and "boastfully homosexual" poet, Edward Lacey (4), has recently been offered by D a v i d H e l w i g i n "Robert and Edward: A n Uncommon Obituary." 4. See K e n Norris, The Little Magazine in Canada, 1925-80, especially 27-55, for a full account of the ins and outs of Preview, First Statement, and Northern Review. 5. For Anderson's own—albeit "fictionalized"—accounts of his relationship  with  Doernbach see "At Baie St. Paul," i n The Character Ball (109-28), and "Remembering Baie St. Paul, i n A Visiting Distance (147-49) and Return to Canada (42-43). I w i l l be  164 returning to these pieces, and, in particular, the differences between them, later in this chapter. 6. For a further analysis of Anderson's affiliation w i t h E n Masse, see Michael Gnarowski, " N e w Facts and O l d Fictions: Some Notes on Patrick Anderson, 1945 and E n Masse." Unlike Whitney, Gnarowski sees E n Masse as little more than a "radical interlude" for an essentially "bourgeois poet" biding his time between the demise of Preview and the birth of Northern Review, literary magazines "less closeted within an ideology" (68). 7. "Reverting momentarily to Leonard Cohen" in his article "The Canadian Bestiary," Symons asserts "that [Cohen's] book truly set the stage i n Canada for a society whose bravest souls were 'beautiful losers' (and whose myriad cowards were the national smuglies). A n d in French Canada, Hubert A q u i n seconded the motion" (14). 8. In ' " A National Enema': Scott Symons's Place d'Armes," George Piggford has recently suggested why, in formalist terms, this marginalization might be justified. 9. Elsewhere in The Colour as N a k e d , for example, Anderson concludes "Voyage to the Saguenay" w i t h an oblique reference not only to Crane, but also to the "favourite American's" most famous poem: Was there ever fitted fine and spry ship such as ours to cock and peak the brow and set the sealegs w i t h a nautical tilt along the strange sweet summer, soft and low, between the island flats and channel narrows pricked out w i t h buoys and dredge's sultry smudge  165 and crane above reflection black and gauche, as evening comes and the talented orchestra appears our only engine, and we move to strangers, ships in the night, tomorrow's appetite, and Murray Bay and golf and bridge and love? (30-31; my emphasis) Anderson had previously displayed a debt to Crane's "The Bridge" in writing his o w n national epic, labeling section IV of "Poem on Canada" "The River." For both Crane and Anderson the river in question is at once an actual body of water (Crane's Mississippi vs. Anderson's St. Lawrence) and a metaphor for the railway snaking its w a y "West [across] the land. A n d North" ("Poem on Canada, The White Centre 42). Finally, Anderson's Dolphin Days likewise ends w i t h an extended riff on the "balance between earth and angels" achieved in Crane's "last, and perhaps best poem," "The Broken Tower" (223-24). 10. For a more in-depth reading of the "anatomies" of homosexual desire encoded in Crane's "Voyages" see Thomas Yingling, Hart Crane and the Homosexual Text 91103; and Robert K. Martin, The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry 130-36. M a r t i n also discusses Crane's influence on Anderson in "Sex and Politics" 116-17. 11. The quotations are from the following poems in The Colour as Naked: "Song of Intense C o l d " (26); "Sestina in Time of Winter" (19); "Soft Blizzard" (41); "The Strange Bird" (83); and " A Monkey in Malaya" (68).  166 12. M y o w n analysis of Anderson's Malayan excursus owes much to Philip Holden's Barthesian reading of another "orientalist" text by Maugham, The Painted Veil. See H o l d e n , " A n Area of Whiteness." 13. M a r t i n lists eleven such items ("Cheap Tricks" 200-201). The pouch i n the copy I consulted contained only ten; it was "missing" the clipping from L a Patrie extolling Symons as a "native son." 14. O n Barthes's "evanescence" see Porter, Haunted Tourneys 301; on Symons's "synaesthesia" see Buitenhuis, "Scott Symons" 67 and 68. 15. Cf., i n this regard, Canadian playwright Sky Gilbert's More Divine, in which, after having had his Moroccan boys "perform," the character of Barthes proclaims: "Perhaps if you do not understand it is because there are no words in your language; a thing that contains lust and love, that is fleeting and forever, that is contained in the body and yet read w i t h the soul. If I am remote it is because I w i s h I was a philosopher and as for truth, I prefer parenthesis" (217). 16. I w i l l be returning to Barthes, and Robert Martin's reading of his "ecriture gaie," in chapter seven. 17. There are 33 numbered letters, plus one beginning on page 611 headed "Letter #?," and one starting on page 722 entitled "The Last Letter." 18. In "Is the Rectum a Grave?" Leo Bersani equates "psychic tumescence" w i t h sexual "self-hyperbole," a struggle for power, for being on "top," which is itself "a repression of sex as self-abolition," a psychosexual "shattering" experienced only  through  penetration, only by being fucked (218). Terry Goldie has recently used Bersani's  167 article to analyze the aesthetics of "phallic power" and "anal negation" i n Symons's Place d'Armes. See his "The M a n of the L a n d / T h e Land of the M a n " 161-62.  Chapter Four  "Pour exprimer un probleme d'identite": Michel Tremblay and His "Bastard Sons"  Si je releve d'abord . . . [le] sujet des variantes litteraires de l'homosexualite au Canada francais, c'est que je reconnais . . . une valeur sociologique. Aussi, ce deviationnisme sexuel me parait l'explication la plus vraisemblable et la plus inavouable d'une litterature globalement faible, sans eclat et, pour tout dire, vraiment ennuyeuse. . . . Cette sorte d'inversion qui me parait avoir contamine serieusement la presque totalite de notre litterature, n'est pas une inversion qui s'affiche ou qui cherche a scandaliser. N o n , c'est une inversion profonde: done, elle prend soin de se voiler ellememe par une thematique diversifiee. . . . Les categories litteraires de l'inversion n'ont pas ete systematiquement inventorizes jusqu'a ce jour, mais quelque chose me dit que ces categories sont ties nombreuses et contiennent une proportion majoritaire de stereotypes qui, precisement, s'annoncent comme des cas de non-inversion. S'il est une situation humaine generatrice de dissimulation, c'est bien l'homosexualite. (Hubert A q u i n , "Commentaire I" 191)  168  1  169 Je ne sais pas si j'ai beaucoup parle d'homosexualite au theatre! . . . Les premieres fois que j'ai utilise des personnages homosexuels, c'etait pour exprimer un probleme d'identite. L a Duchesse . . . [et] Hosanna ne sont pas des pieces sur l'homosexualite. N o n que je ne veuille pas en parler, mais je me servais d'eux pour d'autres raisons, pour leur volonte d'etre quelqu'un d'autre, a l'image de notre societe. (Michel Tremblay, "II y a 20 ans" 73)  2  A l l right, it's confession time. Despite all my sophisticated theoretical posturing i n the previous chapters, we now arrive at that point in the dissertation where I must come out as a closet Canadian nationalist. I admit to voting "yes" to the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, to being almost apoplectic w i t h worry during the television coverage of the most recent (1995) Quebec referendum, pacing the apartment frantically, phoning my parents immediately after the narrow "no" victory to verify that their house on the West Island of Montreal had not yet been torched by vengeance-seeking separatists. This is perhaps not the response one w o u l d expect from the typical British Columbian, whose d i m view of QuebecOttawa political relations frequently betrays his or her o w n secessionist impulses (witness the recent furor over whether or not to recognize B.C. as a "distinct" region worthy of its o w n constitutional veto). But then, unlike most residents of B.C. (the majority of w h o m w o u l d seem to me to be expatriates from Ontario),  170 much of m y youth and adolescence was inextricably bound up w i t h the rise of the contemporary sovereigntist movement in Quebec. M y parents moved to Sherbrooke, Quebec from N e w York City (my father, a Maritimer by birth, had a postdoc at Columbia) in 1975, a year before the unthinkable happened: Rene Levesque's Parti Quebecois w o n the provincial election. Je me souviens que /that while I was blissfully watching the precocious Rumanian gymnast, N a d i a Comaneci, w i n all her gold medals at the Montreal Summer Olympics, the A n g l o exodus from la belle province—not to mention the substitution of slogans on all motor vehicle license plates—had already begun. O u r family stayed put, however, at least for the time being. In 1977, in the middle of Grade 3, we moved to Chateauguay, part of Montreal's "south shore," and connected to the island by the infamous Mercier Bridge. (Chateauguay is also bordered by the Kahnawake—then Caughnawaga—reserve, several of whose inhabitants w o u l d blockade the Mercier Bridge in sympathy w i t h the M o h a w k Warriors at Kanesatake in 1990.) We remained in Chateauguay for the next six years, long enough for m y parents to be temporarily vindicated by the "no" victory in the 1980 referendum on sovereignty-association, and for me to acquire the rudiments of official bilingualism through French immersion classes. O h yes, and to fall in love w i t h my best friend, who also happened to be named Peter (but that's another story entirely; or is it?; see Probyn, below). In 1983 we were on the move again, this time to Ontario. Mississauga, to be precise, where I underwent an acculturation process so thorough that by the time I graduated high school I had lost most of my fluency in French. Just as I  171 was about to begin my first year as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, m y parents moved back to the Montreal area, where they continue to reside. They are the only Anglos I know of who voluntarily headed back into the fray of Quebec separatist politics after making it to the apparent safe haven of life i n the Toronto suburbs. So there y o u have it: some of the reasons w h y m y interest in competing Canadian and Quebecois nationalisms is anything but academically dispassionate. The fact that m y perapatetic parents live in Quebec, that so many of m y friends and colleagues continue to make Montreal in particular their home, means that I have a personal stake—however small—in the future status of that province within the Canadian federation. Nevertheless, when the occasion warrants it, I am not above taking a cold and calculated view of Quebec sovereignty, which, as I see it, is founded primarily on an antiquated and outmoded nineteenth-century concept of nationalism ill-suited to late-twentieth-century post-national globalism, what Michael Ignatieff, in a recent study, has referred to as "blood and belonging." Distinguishing between "civic" and "ethnic" nationalisms, Ignatieff notes that whereas the "psychology of belonging" accompanying the former is based on a shared belief in certain political practices, government institutions, and legal rights, the definition of belonging attached to the latter maintains that what holds societies together is not common citizenship but common cultural roots, a common ethnic/racial/religious/linguistic heritage, in short people "of your o w n blood" (4-6). "Belonging, on this account," according to Ignatieff, "is first and  172 foremost protection from violence. Where you belong is where y o u are safe; and where y o u are safe is where you belong": To belong is to understand the tacit codes of the people y o u live with; it is to know that you w i l l be understood without having to explain yourself. People, in short, 'speak your language.' This is why, incidentally, the protection and defence of a nation's language is such a deeply emotional nationalist cause, for it is language, more than land and history, which provides the essential form of belonging, which is to be understood. (6, 7) The linguistic metaphor deployed in this passage is, I think, telling, especially in the context of Quebec nationalism, which, as the debates surrounding Bill 101 and French-only versus bilingual signs (Bill 178) have demonstrated, is repeatedly framed within a discourse of linguistic survival. Ignatieff's use of the term "belonging" is, however, somewhat more problematic, in that he allows it to substitute for a general theory of national identity without at all taking into account how such an identity is articulated within and across multiple communities (of which the "national" is but one); without, in other words, paying attention to what Elspeth Probyn (following from Giorgio Agamben and others) has referred to as the local, the particular, the quotidian exigencies of "being and longing"—be-longing in its "so-what" singularity, its "whatever" specificity (see Love 45 and passim). In her monograph, "Love in a C o l d Climate": Queer Belongings in Quebec, Probyn outlines a theory of belonging that returns the 3  concept first of all to the body, that reconfigures community relations i n terms of  173 desire and power, and that encapsulates the tensions between a mode of individual existence ("being") and a fantasy of social interaction ("longing"): "an ethical practice of belonging and a politics of singularity must start from where one is—brutally and immediately from one's belonging, modes of being and longing" (64). Above all else, according to Probyn, a queer, postcolonial and feminist social theory of belonging must resist the compartmentalizing of different forms of community affiliation into different epistemological domains, and must instead consider the manifold ways in which identity categories like "nationality and sexuality constantly rub against each other" (35). Writing as a Welsh lesbian academic who, at the time, was teaching sociologies of gender and sexuality at a francophone university in Montreal (she has since relocated to Australia), Probyn goes on to note that "the sentiment that first moved me to write this essay was caught up in a lingering desire to experiment with, if not to prove, m y belonging in Quebec," and "to think through the particular piquance of sexuality and nationality that constitutes Quebecois expressions of identity" (26, 27). To be sure, Probyn, like Ignatieff, does not wish to separate the concept of belonging (both national and sexual) from its frequent associations w i t h violence: [T]o speak of these images [of belonging] in terms of their 'so-what' singularity is not to condone their violence; it is not to be blase i n the face of the terror that they may bring. Rather, i n refusing equivalence, it is to be moved, to be touched by the impact of this image, and this one, and this one. It is to be bodily caught up in ways of being a being-such, a being shorn of the trammels of  174 identity as individual possession. . . . [I]t is to argue that [these images of belonging] seek to reproduce relations of a general order, the order of the same. A s they graft certain relations of gender and sexuality they participate in the reproduction of the homosocial relations, of the nation as normal. (65) Nowhere was the potential for violence in images of national belonging more evident than in the normalizing discourses of same-ness "reproduced" during the course and aftermath of the 1995 referendum campaign, with Lucien Bouchard lamenting Quebec's comparatively low birth-rate among "les races blanches," and Jacques Parizeau's recriminations about "les votes ethniques." For "les gens de souche" and "les Quebecois pure laine" psychic identification with the aspirations of political autonomy is thus perhaps best defined (in a reversal of Julia Kristeva) as "nationalisms without nations." O r to put this another way, Quebecois nationalism, which is, as I have already indicated, essentially a linguistic nationalism, has, since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, been, above all else, an attempt to reconcile the frequently divergent interests of "nation" and "state," where the former is defined as "a people" w i t h a language, history and tradition of their o w n and the latter as the "institutional apparatus" of self-government. A s Ignatieff puts it, "francophone Quebecois identify Quebec as their nation, and Canada as their state, while English-speaking Canadians identify Canada both as their nation and as their state. . . . Quebec has never needed Canada as a nation. N o w it is asking itself whether it even needs it as a state" (112). For Charles Taylor, Quebec sovereignty is most fundamentally a  175 political desire to establish a link between nation and state in order to guarantee institutional control over the expression of the French language that is deemed intrinsic to Quebec national identity (see "Why D o Nations Have to Become States?" 40-58).  4  The irony is of course that, in the wake of the 1995 referendum  on Quebec sovereignty, the rest of the Canadian provinces have caught up w i t h Quebec in demanding a devolution of state control at the federal level i n regional (i.e. provincial vs. national) affairs. Moreover, as support for a post-partition partition of Quebec grows within the province's non-francophone communities, the question may no longer be one of reconciling nation and state, but rather—in a return to Machiavelli's Renaissance Italy—city and state. This is especially the case i n Montreal, Quebec's most "cosmopolitan" metropolis, and the overwhelming majority of whose population voted "no" in the last referendum. The comments by Bouchard and Parizeau point to the fact that Quebec nationalism's relationship w i t h race and ethnicity is, to say the least, agonistic and historically complex (let's not forget Mordecai Richler's recent expose of the long legacy of anti-Semitism in the province, made all the more bizarre by the Hassidic community's endorsement of Parizeau and the "yes" campaign during the last referendum, and recently brought to the surface again w i t h the furor over Lieutenant-Governor Jean-Louis Roux's swastika-wearing university days; and let's not forget either the constant effacement in the sovereigntist rhetoric of selfdetermination of similar struggles within the province's Indigenous communities, particularly the Northern Cree nation, which held its o w n referendum prior to Quebec's, and the M o h a w k nation, which demonstrated just how far it w o u l d go  176 in defending its land claims at Oka/Kanesatake in 1990 ). Moreover, as 5  Bouchard's comments further attest, Quebec nationalism's relationship w i t h gender is still thoroughly inflected by the misogyny of the Catholic C h u r c h (the so-called "revenge of the cradle" ideology ). It should come as no surprise, then, 6  that Quebec nationalism's relationship with sexuality, and particularly homosexuality, in many ways reflects an even more profound displacement of contemporary social anxieties within the province. A s m y first epigraph from A q u i n demonstrates, in the nationalist rhetoric of Quebecois cultural criticism, homosexuality has frequently been characterized as the "enemy within," chief among a discursive taxonomy of "categories of inversion," a nefarious process of identitary dissimulation capabable of "contaminating" almost all of Quebec literature, for example (see Schwartzwald, "Fear of Federasty" 186-87). A t the same time, the second epigraph from Tremblay, no less a Quebec nationalist than A q u i n , confirms that homosexuality has likewise been subject to repeated "metaphorical, sometimes allegorical, often sentimentalized conscription [as a trope of decolonization] in Quebec popular culture" (Schwartzwald, "'Symbolic' Homosexuality" 265). Robert Schwartzwald, whose work I have been following here, has, in a series of related essays, shown h o w thoroughly imbricated are the discourses of nationalism and homosexuality in Quebecois cultural production. In one of his more recent articles on the subject, for example, Schwartzwald analyzes the work of three contemporary Quebecois social theorists—Jacques Lavigne, Gilles Therien, and Jean Larose—in order to determine w h y "the homophobic elements of [Quebec's] learned discourse on  177 identity are largely inconsistent with both liberal legal discourse and popular attitudes" of tolerance of homosexuality in the province, and to assess what exactly such a situation can "elucidate about discursive engagements between subject positions articulated around nationhood, on the one hand, and sexualities, on the other" ("'Symbolic' Homosexuality" 266). Using Schwartzwald as m y principal theoretical guide, in the remainder of this chapter I w i l l be drawing upon the work of three contemporary Quebecois dramatists—Michel Tremblay, Rene-Daniel Dubois, and Michel Marc Bouchard—in order to explore similar "discursive engagements" between nationalism and sexuality in the production and reception of their plays, both inside and outside the province. The problem faced by each playwright is essentially the same: how to affirm a gay identity that is at once part of and separate from a cultural narrative of nationalist over determination. H o w each playwright tackles this problem is another matter entirely. * **  In 1965 a precocious twenty-three year old writer from Montreal's east end began work on a play about 15 married and single women, ranging in age from m i d teens to 93, who gather together in the kitchen of Germaine Lauzon on the rue Fabre sometime during the post-Duplessis 1960s in order to help paste into books the one million trading stamps w o n by their hostess. Produced for the first time three years later at Montreal's Theatre d u Rideau-Vert, Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Soeurs was an instant success, changing forever the face of drama in Quebec. In place of polite interpretations of the French classics, here for the first  178 time was a Quebecois play: set amid the working class district of francophone Montreal, focussing on the squalid and marginalized existence of the people who lived