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A politics of memory : cognitive strategies of five women writing in Canada Thompson, Dawn 1994

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A POLITICS OF MEMORY: COGNITIVE STRATEGIES OFFIVE WOMEN WRITING IN CANADAbyDAWN THOMPSONB.A., The University of Alberta, 1986A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Programme in Comparative Literature)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1994Dawn Kathleen Thompson, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department of 6(PiEThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate___________DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTThis dissertation attempts to develop a counter—memory,a cognitive strategy that provides an alternative to themost prevalent mode of political action by members ofminority or subaltern groups: identity politics. It beginswith Teresa de Lauretis’ semiotics of subjectivity, whichposits the human subject as a shifting series of positionsor habits formed through semiotic and cognitive “mapping”of, and being “mapped” by, its environment. De Lauretismaintains that the subject can transform social realitythrough an “inventive” mode of mapping. The first chapterof this study is a semiotic analysis of the memory system atwork in Nicole Brossard’s Picture Theory. It argues thatBrossard’s use of holographic technology is an inventionthat attempts to alter women’s maps of social reality.Quantum physicist David Bohm has also employed the hologramas a theoretical model. By merging Brossard’s holographicmemory with Bohm’s theory of a “holomovement,” this studydevelops an epistemological strategy that alters not onlythe map of reality, but also the dominant representationalmode of cognitive mapping.This enquiry then moves on to other novels written inCanada which have a strong political impetus based ongender, nationality, ethnicity, race and/or class: MargaretAtwood’s Surfacing, Marlene Nourbese Philip’s Looking forLivingstone, Beatrice Culleton’s In Search of April Raintreeiiiand Régine Robin’s La Ouébécoite. Through textual analysis,it attempts to establish that although these novels make nomention of holography, each of them employs a memory systemthat inscribes itself holographically. That holographicmemory provides an alternative political strategy to the“identity politics” at work in each of these texts. Eachtext, in turn, like a fragment of a hologram, adds anotherstructural and political dimension to the hologram. Theprocessual structure of the holographic theory provides aground for alliances between different political agendaswhile resisting closure. As an epistemological strategy, itpromises to alter both the method and the ground ofknowledge.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract . . . . . . . iiAcknowledgement . . . . . vEpigraph . . viPre-holographic fragments: Setting up the memory theatre . 2Theatres within theatres: situatinga holographic counter memory . . . . . 6From identity politics to apolitics of counter-memory . . . 8Previewing the memory walk . . . . . . . . 13CHAPTER 1: Re-inventing the world: Calculating thecon/volutional integrals of holography inNicole Brossard’s Picture Theory . . . . . . . 20Screen—skin my mind: a holographic memory . . . 43Screen—skin my world? . . . 46CHAPTER 2: ReSurfacing: Quantum visions of shamanictransformations . . . . . 65Signs from underground . . . . . . . . . . 66“Maps and dreams”: cognitive maps andinventive dreams . . . . . . . . 72“Dwelling” in a holographic memory theatre . . . 83“At the last judgement we will all be trees” . . . 92CHAPTER 3: Looking for livingstone in Marlene NourbesePhilip’s Looking for Livingstpne . 95In search of Silence . . . . . . . 100From Silence to livingstone . . . . . . 105From Livingstone to livingstone . . . 110CHAPTER 4: Typewriter as Trickster: Revisions ofBeatrice Culleton’s In Search of April Raintree 119Revising “Beatrice Culleton” . . . 131Orality, literacy, holography . . . . . . 141CHAPTER 5: The wandering memory of Regine Robin’sLapuébécoite . . . . . .149From the materiality of languageto a marxist materiality . . . . . . . . 167In/conclusion: a writing that is never whole . . . 177Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . 186VAcknowledgementThis dissertation was made possible by financial assistancefrom The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council ofCanada and Multiculturalism Canada. I would like to thankthe members of my dissertation committee, Professors ValerieRaoul and Peter Childers, for their valuable criticalinsights and suggestions; my dissertation supervisor,Professor Lorraine Weir, for constantly forcing my synapsesto fire in new directions, and for her generous support andencouragement throughout my graduate career; Casey, whonever fails to remind me that physical play is just asimportant as intellectual play; and Kym Samis, for daring toexplore the space of intersubjective memories with me.“in the midst of writing there is merriment”-Gertrude SteinviEpigraphIt is as if the book before us is only one version, one twist ofthe kaleidoscope ... of an infinitely permutating, connectingprocess in which the single event .. is never more than one stepin a larger process.(Dana Polan, translator’s preface to Deleuze andGuattari, Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature xxiv)12Pre-holographic fragments: setting up the memory theatreii s’agit de faire de l’histoire un usage guil’affranchisse a jamais du modèle, a la foisinetaphysique et anthropologique, de la mémoire. Iis’agit de faire de l’histoire une contre-mémoire, — etd’y déployer par consequent une tout autre forme dutemps.(Foucault, “Nietzsche, la genéalogie,l’histoire” 167)...la mémoire sans antériorité, la mémoire d’un passégui n’a jamais été present, une mémoire sans origine,une iuémoire d’avenir, c’est sans rapport convenu ouconvenable avec ce que nous appelons courainmentmémoire... . Une mémoire sans antériorité, l’anamnèsegui se passerait radicalement de tout passé antérieur,est—ce encore une experience de la temporalité? Sesfigures appartienrient-elles a une rhétorique de latemporalité ou a une rhétorique de l’espacement?(Derrida, Mémoires pour Paul de Man 93; 134)In order to ensure that their mathematical calculationsmatch their expectations, physicists sometimes find itnecessary to measure time in “imaginary numbers.” Eventswhich take place in “imaginary time” are said to exist inEuclidean space—time, where the distinction between time andspace disappears. Euclidean space—time is an imaginaryfour—dimensional universe, a mathematical device used tocalculate answers about real space—time (Hawking 134).However, the efficacy of this construct has led scientiststo speculate that...maybe what we call imaginary time is really morebasic, and what we call real is just an idea that we3invent to help us describe what we think the universe islike.... A scientific theory is just a mathematicalmodel we make to describe our observations: it existsonly in our minds.... So it is meaningless to ask: whichis real, ‘real’ time or ‘imaginary’ time.(Hawking 139)Manifesting similar insights at the level of discourseand representation, both Michel Foucault’s notion ofcounter—memory and Jacques Derrida’s of a radical memorymake no attempt to provide answers about “real” memory andits relation to “real” time. Rather, these two alternativeconcepts of memory are designed to re—think the functioningof memory, and speculate on different possibilities for therelation of memory to social and personal history, and tospace. Foucault’s counter—memory forms the basis of thegenealogical method that he employs to map out the different“technologies” of individuals, the “subjection” of humanity(see L’Histoire de la sexualite; Martin et al., Technologiesof the Self). Personal history, subjectivity, and thepossibility of intersubjectivity as an alternative to theautonomous humanist subject are topics explored in Derrida’sMémoires pour Paul de Man. These two post—structuralistnotions of memory, related by their refusal to be limited bya linear conception of time and their transformation of theremembering subject, will loosely define the space of thisenquiry into a politics of memory. Memory becomes politicalwhen it is employed to rewrite notions of subjectivity andof reality, especially the realities lived and narrated by4minority subjects: female, post—colonial, ethnic minority,non-white, and/or lesbian.“Memory” here refers simultaneously to an involuntarilyorganized storage place, the faculty for thought itself andmnemonics, or rote memorization. Derrida suggests thatmemory is not only temporal but is also organized to someextent according to a rhetoric of spacing; it functions inspace—time. The notion of a “memory theatre” is helpful toimagine such a spatial memory. In the ars memoria ofclassical rhetoric, the elements of the orator’s speech arementally deposited around a room or theatre so thatperformance becomes a “memory walk” in order to retrieveeach element in turn. Different theorists have madeattempts to trace the development of this art from itsclassical origins to Freud’s psychoanalytic process (seeYates; Hutton). The present study attempts to add to thathistory by bringing the ancient “art of memory” into the ageof modern physics and electronic representationaltechnology.This dissertation sets out to imagine how a radical orcounter—memory might be narratively deployed as a cognitiveand, ultimately, a political strategy. As it takes on apolitical impetus, this memory becomes a memory of thefuture; it is no longer simply a record of the past, but amap for social change. The literary texts to be consideredare Nicole Brossard’s Picture Theory, Margaret Atwood’s5Surfacing, Beatrice Culleton’s In Search of April Raintree,Marlene Nourbese Philip’s Looking for Livingstone and RégineRobin’s La Ouebécoite; each employs a memory system that isalso a political strategy. In discussing these texts andrelating them to one another, I will try to avoid adistinction between theory and practice. Rather thanelaborate a complete theory and then try to make the texts“fit” into it, I will attempt to draw out the cognitivestrategies at work in each text that constitute or work toachieve a politics of counter—memory. Each text permits meeither to elaborate further on one aspect of the theory-in—process or to attempt to establish an alliance with it.Thus this study is itself structured, as much as possible,as a holographic memory theatre: a four-dimensional image ofthe process of cognition.’ Each of the texts to bediscussed, like a fragment of a hologram, produces anotherperspective on, and adds resolution to, the holographicmemory. The result is not a sequential argument, but thebeginning of a process: that of developing one alternativeto a mode of thinkinc about identity and its politics thatremains dominant.‘While holography is a form of laser photography thatproduces a three—dimensional image, this theory willincorporate memory, time and movement into the hologram, sothat it functions in four-dimensional Euclidian space-time.6Theatres within theatres: situating a holographiccounter—memoryThis enquiry situates itself, provisionally, withinthe boundaries of the Canadian nation—state and theliteratures written in that space. Yet that supposedly“bounded” entity is also part of a larger global system.Increased awareness of race, ethnicity, class and sexualityas determining elements in subjectivity and culture iscurrently energizing political action and altering literarycanons and institutions worldwide. This dissertationpositions itself within that energy.2 The last few decadeshave seen a surge of interest in “minor literatures”(Deleuze and Guattari 16-18) and especially the intersections between minorities: considerations of therelationships between race and gender, ethnicity and class,class and gender, race and class, racism and sexism, sexismand heterosexism, feminism and imperialism. The “etc.” thatusually follows the list of “race, gender, class” is beingforced to expand in its implied dimensions, first to includerelationships, and then to differentiate between identities2Through a revision of the process of cognitive mapping,by which a subject situates itself physically (and byextension, socially) in space, this study will question thepossibility of positioning or situating oneself at all, exceptvery provisionally. According to Heisenberg’s uncertaintyprinciple, to position oneself in an energy flux is to renderthat position indeterminate (Gribbin 119-21; Hawking 53-61).7and politics. Each of the texts to be discussed here workswith a different intersection between minority identitiesand politics.My choice to work with “Canadian” authors is notintended to insist on a unique Canadian specificity thatrenders its literatures most appropriate to this kind ofstudy. However Canada - with its history of dividedcultures; its participation in colonialism, post-colonialismand neo—colonialism; its strong feminist literary presence;its multicultural policy; and its renewed interest inaboriginal issues, especially land claims — does provide acomplex and interesting ground for the issues which I wishto discuss. In recent years, Canadian literary studies havebegun to participate in that complexity, producing a growingbody of criticism and theory addressing these issues.3 Ialso choose to work with literatures written in Canada inorder to “act locally,” rather than to focus on inequitiestaking place in distant countries, which may permit me tobelieve I can do nothing about them. I am supporting an3See, for example, the works of Barbara Godard, ED.Blodgett, Shirley Neuman, Francesco Loriggio, Simon Harel,Sherry Simon, Pierre Nepveu, Julia Emberley, Margery Fee andTerry Goldie listed in the bibliography, as well ascollections such as A Mazing Space, edited by Shirley Neumanand Smaro Kamboureli; Telling it: Women and Language acrossCultures, edited by The Telling it Book Collective; Languagein her eye, edited by Libby Scheier et. al.; the specialeditions of Canadian Literature edited by J.M. Bumsted andWilliam H. New and that of the Canadian Review of ComparativeLiterature edited by Joseph Pivato.8alliance, first between local feminist, anti—racist andanti—imperialist writers, and then between those writers andtheorists such as Teresa de Lauretis, Jacques Derrida andFredric Jameson, in an attempt to “think” more “globally”Both of these alliances are permitted by theconstruction of a counter—memory that opens up a possibilityof agency for those local and historical subjects. Theelaboration of this memory begins with a critique of thestill dominant humanist notion of memory and of the subjectconstructed by that memory.4From identity politics to the politics of a counter-memoryIf identity can be said to reside anywhere, it residesin memory. (The im/possibility of residing, or dwelling inthe Heideggerian sense, will play an important role in thisstudy.) Conventional notions of memory as a storage placethat is focussed on the past and provides coherence andcontinuity to a subject’s identity have led to “identitypolitics,” a political strategy of iuarginalized groups ini cannot ignore my own memory as it functions in thiseffort. And it will become obvious that, in a holographictheory, I cannot clearly distinguish my memory from those ofthe texts I analyse. Therefore, provisionally: a Canadianist,a comparatist, an aspiring theorist; a white lesbian from aworking class background aspires to enter a scholarlycommunity.9which, as the term suggests, one’s politics are based onone’s identity as part of an identified group. Identitypolitics are attempts to claim the right of self-representation (Butler 1-3). And yet the efficacy of thispolitical strategy is questionable. It has a tendencytowards fragmentation, isolation and eventually eitherstagnation or repetition (duplication) of the dominantstructure. From a post-structural perspective, thistendency is inherent in the notion of identity itself; ifidentity is based on unexamined essentialist positions, itspolitics, while useful to members of subaltern groups in theshort term, threaten to lead to exclusion, to the misrepresentation of those outside the group, and to thepossibility of group affirmation through the oppression ofother subalterns.Identity politics grounds itself in the ideology ofhumanism; to assert specific rights and privileges for onegroup, humanity or a sub—category, necessitates a definitionof that group, and to define is to practise a discourse ofexclusion. Throughout history, that defining line has beendiscursively drawn and redrawn in order to rationalizeexploitation of others, first on the basis of species, andthen of gender, race, age, nationality, class, and any otherdifference that permits a group of beings to be classified10or re—classified, and thus excluded from those rights andprivileges .To question humanism is to question the boundaries ofhumanity. If, as Michel Foucault maintains, humanism isbased on a model of humanity defined for different practices(psychological, educational, medical, marxist, liberal,facist) that only subsequently becomes normative and/orsupposedly universal, then to take an anti—humanist stance“doesn’t mean that we have to get rid of what we call humanrights or freedoms, but that we can’t say that freedom orhuman rights has to be limited at certain frontiers’”(Foucault cited in Martin, Technologies of the Self 15).When feminist, anti—racist or post-colonial critics attemptto re—draw the humanist line in order to include themselvesin the definition, the danger is that they are always goingto exclude someone else. Now it is they who will decide whois a woman, or Black or gay, etc. To retain the notion ofan identity as foundational to one’s politics, Judith Butlermaintains, is to continue to participate in a “metaphysicsof substance” that assumesa substantive person who is the bearer of variousessential and nonessential attributes ... [and] ischaracterized essentially as a pre—gendered [one mightadd to that pre—colored, pre—ethnic, pre—classed; wheredoes the list end?] substance or ‘core,’ called theperson, denoting a capacity for reason, moraldeliberation, or language. (10)5For a fascinating discussion of evolutionary theory assuch an exclusionary discourse, see Dawkins, The BlindWatchmaker.11This core would be based on what is defined as human, but ifit can be shown that even that definition is constructed,then what is the actual basis for identity politics?And yet without a foundation for one’s politics, how cananyone take a stand against the exploitation of subalterngroups? Even theorists who have rejected the notion of anessence sometimes find it necessary to make a strategic useof identity. For example, deconstructive post—colonialcritic Gayatri Spivak rejects the notion of a substantive,essential identity. However, since deconstructionnecessarily participates in that which it deconstructs andis thus itself open to deconstruction, when it comes to thespecific political agenda of a subaltern group, SpiVak findsdeconstruction to be a less than useful tool. In such casesshe suggests that one might “risk essence” or permit thestrategic use of an identity when one is working within aspecific political interest (In Other Worlds 205—8). Thisessence is then always open to affirmative deconstruction,by which an identity stand is taken, acknowledged asconstructed and temporary, but necessary for the specificcontext and always agreeable to its own deconstruction,especially from a position that is subaltern to it (Spivak,The Post—Colonial Critic 47). Affirmative deconstruction isone political alternative within deconstructive theory;however, because of the operation of deconstruction, it is12still based on that which it deconstructs: in this case,identity.If one begins with a more semiotic or discursive pointof view, which states that the “person”—ality is formedprecisely out of attributes such as gender, race and class,and that it has no core, then it is no longer necessary torefer to an identity substance or essence. Theorists suchas Judith Butler and Teresa de Lauretis would state thatidentity is relatively and provisionally constituted out ofsocial relations. Therefore politics are not a matter ofsubstantive “beings” requiring fair representation of theirinterests and rights, but rather politics begin with thetenet that those beings are themselves “representations.”Political agency could then come out of the possibility ofchanging those representations and their social meanings(Butler 16) through semiotic invention (de Lauretis, AliceDoesn’t 55). I hope to be able to show that if one beginsfrom a semiotics of the subject such as that discussed by deLauretis, rather than from a humanist position (upon which adeconstructive argument such as Spivak’s is necessarilybased), the strategic use of identity, or the “risk” ofessence, becomes unnecessary.I also hope to take de Lauretis’ semiotics even further.Rather than changing representations, a holographic theoryopens the possibility of changing the function ofrepresentation itself. Memory is implicit in de Lauretis’13theory. Just as she replaces the notion of a staticidentity with that of a series of shifting identifications,her theory permits memory to be read not as merely a filingcabinet, a collection of representations of past events, butas a process. While de Lauretis uses film as an exemplaryrepresentational medium, my choice of holography entailsmodifications of her theory of “subjectivity asrepresentation.” The result is the beginning of a theory ofa non—mimetic memory, a holographic memory which transformsa politics of self-representation into a politics ofperception.Previewing the memory walkEach of the texts to be discussed here deploys memory inthe service of a different combination of political agendas.Each attempts to construct a subject that is integrated intoher environment (linguistic, social, historical, physical),and capable of political agency in that environment.6 Eachseeks a somewhat utopian political goal that, from theI focus on women writers because of the large body offeminist theory (eq. by Simone de Beauvoir, Hélène Cixous,Luce Irigary and Brossard) concerned with the politics ofrepresentation. However, this issue is not necessarily limitedto women’s texts. For example, Jacques Derrida’s J.,Dissemination explores some of the same issues and, as I willsuggest, may well lend itself to a holographic reading.14perspective of post—structural theory, is either impossibleto attain or threatens to oppress other subalterns.However, I will argue that it is possible to read each ofthese novels in a manner that displaces not its politics,but the foundations of its politics. Beginning with themanner in which each of these texts subverts therepresentational function of language, I will illustrate howthey may combine to develop a counter—memory system, aholographic memory system, a strategic mode of thinking thatincreases their political efficacy.Nicole Brossard’s Picture Theory is a semiotic inventionin its attempt to employ holographic, rather thanlinguistic, representation; it produces a strategy tointegrate women into social reality while simultaneouslychanging that reality. Brossard’s invention is based on herliterary construction of a hologram, a form ofrepresentation employing laser light energy and multiplereflections to produce a three—dimensional image.Holographic technology has been employed to describe how thebrain actually functions, as a system of energy waves.Picture Theory employs holographic techniques to focus onthought processes and to alter the manner in which languagefunctions in thought; it attempts to create a holographicmemory in the iuindof the reader. After reconstructing thehologram in order to elucidate its effects in Brossard’snovel, I will expand this memory by introducing another15holographic theory, one which has been employed to describequantum reality. Brossard’s holographic memory will beintegrated into this wider theory of a holographic realityin order to render her utopian politics more material,practical and concrete.Ivlargaret Atwood’s Surfacing might at first appear tohave very little in common with Picture Theory; it certainlymakes no reference whatsoever to holographic technology.However, I hope to demonstrate, first, that it is verypossible to read this novel through (and as) a holographicmemory, and second, that to do so creates a fortuitous shiftin the novel, increasing its political impetus. In recentyears this work has been criticized for both its romanticismand its colonialism. Acknowledging the validity of thiscriticism, I contend that its political goals and methodsare nonetheless extremely innovative and valuable to bothfeminist and post-colonial politics. To read this novelthrough a holographic memory is to bypass its romantic andcolonial tendencies. In addition, Surfacing adds to theholographic theory that Brossard’s novel only begins toconstruct. It elaborates on the process of cognitivemapping, the situating of a subject-in-process in itsenvironment-in—process, and thus integrates the notion of amemory theatre into this theory. It also adds anotherdimension of integration; whereas Brossard focusses on theinsertion of women into discursive and social space, Atwood16explores the notion of “dwelling” in physical and nationalspace, adding a post—colonial politics to Brossard’sfeminist politics.Marlene Nourbese Philip, an African-Caribbean—Canadianwriter, permits a further development of the post—colonialdimension of this holographic theory, adding to it the issueof race. Looking for Livingstone is an attempt torecuperate African indigeneity. Like Surfacing, this novelseeks integration in a physical, national and culturalspace. Like Picture Theory, but for different politicalreasons, it posits a subject excluded from language andattempts to re-integrate that subject into discursive space.In order to effect that recuperation, Looking forLivingstone attempts to transcend the opposition betweenword and silence, between being a silenced people andspeaking that silencing. A deconstructive reading ofLivingstone as livingstone (a term which I employ as ametaphor for the holographic theory) permits me to bypassthat attempt at transcendence. This reading then suggeststhat an alternative political program is also at work in thetext, one based on invention rather than recuperation.Looking for Livingstone in turn permits me to begin toelaborate the manner in which Derridean memory mightfunction in this holographic theory.The fourth chapter, on Beatrice Culleton, may at firstappear to be out of place in this dissertation. In Search17of April Raintree is a far less “writerly” text, in theBarthesian sense, then the others I am discussing. And theholographic theory does not function in this text as clearlyas it does in the others. The relationship I attempt toestablish in this case is far more tenuous than those in theother chapters; in fact it is less a relationship than anindication of a similarity. Atwood’s use of First Nationsculture suggests that the holographic theory should workperfectly with native epistemologies that claim integrationwith the natural environment. However, as I will discuss inthe second chapter, contemporary First Nations and (in thiscase) Métis texts appear to resist such an easy correlation.Yet, by beginning with precisely the “un-writerly” nature ofthis novel, that is, its participation in orality, I attemptto draw out a similarity between the epistemologicalprocesses of oral culture and those of a holographic memory.My goal is one of a slightly displaced repetition: to findsomething similar to indigeneity in my own culture.The chapter on Culleton’s text is only a tentativebeginning of what would be an immense project necessitatingprolonged study of First Nations writers and philosophers.I choose to include it despite its limitations because,however tenuous the ties between a holographic memory andNative epistemologies may be, they do suggest a feasibleapproach to First Nations literatures for non—Nativecritics. To include this chapter in this dissertation also18works to counteract a tendency in Canadian literary andcultural studies, as well as Canadian politics, either totreat First Nations texts separately or, as is more oftenthe case, to avoid treating them at all, ostensibly becausethey deserve to be treated separately. While there arecertainly valid arguments for their separate treatment (seeEmberley 17-19), this segregation also often works to thedisadvantage of First Nations writers. Because of it, theirworks have, until very recently, been much less widelydisseminated and less often included in universityliterature courses. This tendency also encourages ignoranceon the part of non-natives by allowing us to claim that inorder to discuss this literature at all we must be expertson it. It was by excluding First Nations from theMulticultural Act, and treating them separately under theIndian Act, that the Canadian Government was able to createa double standard. While Multiculturalism worked towardstolerance and the preservation and encouragement ofdifference, the Indian Act worked towards assimilation(Frideres 99). By including this chapter despite (and inpart because of) the risk to the coherence of mydissertation, I am attempting to work against bothassimilation and literary and critical ghettoization.Régine Robin’s La Ouébécoite much more explicitlyengages semiotics, a holographic memory and a quest forintegration, this time that of an immigrant into Québec.19In this novel, Montréal becomes a hologram within a globalhologram and Robin traces exactly how semiotic invention canalter the fabric of that city. In addition, she expands thehologram by providing the opportunity to suggest a linkbetween this and another theory of cognitive mapping - thatof Fredric Jameson on the possibility of mapping postmodernhyperspace.Each of these texts develops a different politicalagenda; each works at a different intersection of politicsand each elaborates a political strategy that participatesto some extent in a foundationalist notion of identity. Ineach case, I attempt to draw out one aspect of the text thatpermits a cognitive shift, displacing identity whilemaintaining the political goals and thus offering analternative political strategy. The grouping together ofsuch heterogeneous writers is not an attempt to bring outtheir similarities by ignoring their differences. Rather, Ihope to show the possibility of an alliance between theirseveral different political aims by relating both theirsimilarities and their differences to a larger system, thatof a strategic cognitive process that is already at work intheir texts.20CHAPTER 1Re-inventing the world: Calculating the con/volutional integralsof holography in Nicole Brossard’s Picture Theory“Décembre la neige” (Picture Theory 108): “les motsvolaient dans toutes les directions” (112). And in theconfused blizzard of words, of signs disseminated across atext, you catch a glimpse of the hologram. The hologramenacts memory, or la mémoire: the faculty for thought.Memory is a semiotic system. And semiosis, like memory,functions holographically. What follows is a thoughtexperiment, an attempt to come to terms with anessentialist, utopian text from a constructivist positionwhile furthering the political program of that text.Nicole Brossard’s Picture Theory outlines a utopianfeminist project of integrating women into a reality thathas traditionally either excluded or imprisoned them. Hertheory begins with her lesbian identity. She argues that“une lesbienne est une réalité menaçante pour la réalité”(La Lettre aérienne 108). Excluded from and thus free ofthe dominant masculinist construct of reality, lesbians arein a privileged position to first expose that construct asjust one possible reality, and then to participate with allwomen in transforming it by transforming the language that21constructs it. Feminists have celebrated this novel,revelling in its transformations of language, its eroticismand its challenges to a masculinist epistemology.’ Thesefeminists also recognize its practical shortcomings:esoteric, highly theoretical and essentialist, its utopiaappears to have little to do with the historical conditionsof women and the possibility for real social change. Yet toread Picture Theory through a materialist processualsemiotics is to render its political program more concrete;the possibility of changing reality is no longer simply autopian dream.Conversely, to read Teresa de Lauretis’ semiotics ofsubjectivity through a holographic memory is also,surprising as it may at first appear, to render de Lauretis’semiotics more material. The incorporation of holographictheories of neurophysiology and of quantum reality willprovide a different perspective on Brossard’s “abstraction”:the hologram. It is hoped that this movement will allow thedeconstruction of her foundationalist theory while‘See, for example, critical studies by Forsyth, Knutsonand Weir, as well as Godard’s preface to her translation ofthis text.I employ the term “material” here in the same polysemousmanner in which it functions in de Lauretis’ theory: it referssimultaneously to the materiality of language, the writing ofthe body, and the conditions of production of both texts andwomen. This chapter will focus primarily on the first twomaterialities; the last chapter will offer a perspective ona more marxist materialism.22maintaining its breathtaking intensity and strengthening itspolitical commitment. Brossard’s holographic memory will inturn expand the horizons of the work of de Lauretis,rendering more specific and concrete her theory of mapping,which describes the manner in which semiosis is at work insubjectivity and perception.First, I propose to link de Lauretis’ politico-semiotictheory to the swirls and whorls of the sign system that isPicture Theory. According to de Lauretis, the human subjectis formed through representation: “we represent ourselves,we perform ourselves...” (Alice Doesn’t 49). Engaging,critiquing and melding Eco’s and Peirce’s semiotics andFoucault’s notion of “technologies of the self,” de Lauretisdevelops a materialist processual semiotic view of theproduction of human subjects. This entails a move fromsemiotics, a system of signification which producessigns and in which meaning is established by codes (AliceDoesn’t 4), to processual semiotics, which studies theactual working of codes, the production of meaning (105)rather than just the structure of the code (eg., Saussure’s“langue”). Thus semiosis is the subject of processualsemiotics, or “the practice by which a culture produces and/or assigns meaning to signs” (167). Semiotics becomesmaterialist when the semiotician also considers the modes of23semiotic production: the way in which labour is invested inthe production of signs and meanings which are materiallyrelevant to whatever is being represented or, moreappropriately, constituted by its representation (32): inthis case, a human subject.In Technologies of Gender, de Lauretis distinguishesbetween semiosis (as exemplified by Peirce) andsignification (based on Saussure’s semiotics, and from whichmuch of French post—structural theory stems, and whichassumes an essential discontinuity between the symbolic andthe real)(39).3 Peircian semiosis retains a connection tothe material, real world through the concepts of “habit” and“interpretant.” For Peirce, a sign causes an interpretant(an equivalent sign in the consciousness of the “subject”),am not in complete agreement with her distinction.Although I agree with de Lauretis’ criticism of Derrida’s useof “woman” (Technologies of Gender 24), I think that semioticsand Derridean theory can work in conjunction in a holographictheory. (For discussions of precisely how they might worktogether see Ulmer, Applied Grammatology and Weir, WritingJoyce.) Derrida’s notion of “textuality” collapses thatseparation between sign and referent, and he does acknowledgea temporary anchoring, the formation of a linguistic habit,that is similar to that which de Lauretis posits. However, heemphasizes that it can only be temporary. He describes theprocess of écriture by which no signified is ever reached, andthus which must reject even the atomistic notion of asignifier:[l]es signifiants <<éoriture>>, <<hymen>>, <<ph>>,<<tissu>>, <<texte>>, etc., n’echappent pas a cette loicommune [de l’écriture] et seule une strategieconceptuelle peut momentanément les privilégier en tantque signifiants déterminés voire en tant que signifiants,ce qu’a la lettre us ne sont plus.(La Dissemination 284)24which in turn causes a change in habit or a tendency towardaction. The movement from sign to interpretant to habittraces the translation of signification into action (41):The chain of meaning comes to a halt, howevertemporarily, by anchoring itself to somebody, to somebody, an individual subject. Thus, as we use signs orproduce interpretants, their significant effects mustpass through each of us, each body and eachconsciousness, before they may produce an effect or anaction upon the world. The individual’s habit as asemiotic production is thus both the result and thecondition of the social production of meaning. (42)Thus for de Lauretis, subjectivity is constructed through “acomplex of meaning effects, habits, dispositions,associations, and perceptions resulting from the semioticinteraction of self and outer world (in CS. Peirce’swords)” (18).Alice Doesn’t offers a detailed consideration of theprocess by which subjects are produced and producethemselves: the process of “mapping.” Synthesizingneurological and semiotic notions of mapping, de Lauretisillustrates the process by which subjectivity is constructedthrough interaction with environmental and social structuresas perceptions and expectations engage in a reciprocalstaging of each other.The process of semiosis, according to Umberto Eco, isthat of “mapping”: a transferring of pertinent elements fromone material continuum to another (Eco in Alice 54). Onemode of mapping, the one associated with art and creativity,is that of “invention,” which “chooses a material continuum25not yet segmented for [the purpose at hand] and proposes anew way of organizing (of giving form to) it in order to mapwithin it the formal pertinent elements of a content—type’”(Eco cited in Alice 55). The importance of inventions withregard to the political programs of both de Lauretis andBrossard is that “by establishing new codes ... inventionsare capable of transforming both the representation and theperception of reality and thus eventually can change socialreality” (Alice 55).There are, of course, limitations to inventions; theyare socially determined and even overdeteriuined. However,they are not mere copies or passive representations of anobjective reality. Whereas models of perception based onmimesis presuppose a subject passively perceiving andrepresenting to itself an external reality, from a semioticperspective such as that of de Lauretis, subjectivity isalready at work in semiosis and semiosis at work inperception (56). This means that subjectivity is implicatedin reality: perceiving <--> expecting reality, and changingit. If social relations determine reality to even theslightest degree, resistance is built into the system;reality (or that constructed by the dominant mode ofthought) can be changed.The second model of mapping employed by de Lauretisexpands on the possibilities of altering reality. DeLauretis cites psychophysiologist Cohn Blakeiuore to26describe a process of cognitive mapping by which “theactivity of the optical and cortical cells constitutes‘a mapping of visual space on to the substance of thebrain’” (Blakemore in Alice 54). Blakemore explains howexpectations influence that mapping process: “differentsorts of sense organs are specialized for detectingdifferent sorts of energy and the brain always assumes thata message from a particular sense organ is the result of theexpected form of stimulation” (Blakemore 17). For example,pressing on an eyeball causes visual sensations. Phis leadsBlakemore to question: “how much of our everyday perceptionis really created entirely within our brains, without anyequivalent external stimulus? And how much of the realworld are we simply incapable of perceiving because we haveno neural apparatus to do so”? (Blakemore 17)Moreover, cognitive maps are based on functionalimportance, distinctiveness or imageability, and valuesystems that can lead to an unspoken agreement to ignorecertain aspects of the environment (deliberate oversight),to augment other aspects and to infer non—existent onesbased on expectations. According to the cognitivepsychologists who study this process, we do not really readthe world, but catch only fleeting glimpses and then drawinferences and speculate on outcomes based on those glimpses(Downs and Stea 78).27“Above all, cognitive mapping refers to a process ofdoing....” (Downs and Stea 6). The position of a subject isalways provisional, always moving and transforming. Theformation of a habit may end the game of semiosis, as thechain of meaning comes to a halt by anchoring itself to asubject, but it stops only temporarily (de Lauretis,Alice 41). The subject is performative. De Lauretis citesPasolini: “.in living, in practical experience, in ouractions, ‘we represent, we perform ourselves’” (49).Working in the tradition of Aithusser and Lacan, andemploying their theories, de Lauretis replaces the humanistnotion of an autonomous and coherent “identity” with that of“identification”: “a movement, a subject process, arelation. The identification (of oneself) with somethingother” (Alice 141).Despite its general applicability, de Lauretis’semiotics of subjectivity is, like Brossard’s utopianproject, part of a specific political agenda. Her next stepis to look for technologies of gender — how sexualdifferences are produced through systems of representation(Technologies 6).The construction of gender goes on today through thevarious technologies of gender (eq. cinema) andinstitutional discourses (eg. theory) with power tocontrol the field of social meaning and thus produce,promote and “implant” representations of gender. But theterms of a different construction of gender also exist,in the margins of hegemonic discourses. Posed fromoutside the heterosexual social contract, and inscribedin inicropolitical practices, these terms can also have apart in the construction of gender, and their effects28are rather at the “local” level of resistance, insubjectivity and self—representation.”(Technologies 18)Although her work in both Alice Doesn’t and Technologies ofGender is specifically feminist, her semiotics ofsubjectivity is far more generalized; gender is only oneaspect of the construction of a subject. Clearly, deLauretis’ theory is applicable to more identifications thanthat of gender. The memory systems of Brossard, Atwood andthe other authors to be considered here will supplement deLauretis’ technologies of gender to incorporateidentifications of race, ethnicity and class. In addition,these texts will allow me to expand upon the role of memoryin both semiotic and cognitive mapping. They willfacilitate an extension of the project of Alice Doesn’t,beyond its “horizon, ... the question, scarcely broached asyet within feminist theory, of the politics of selfrepresentation” (7).Apparently much less subjective in its focus on aholographic “abstraction,” and less material in itsconstruction of a holographic “woman” (as opposed tode Lauretis’ material and historical “women,” AliceDoesn’t 5-6), Nicole Brossard’s Picture Theory nonethelessdeals with subjectivity, “toute la subjectivité du monde”(Picture Theory 170).29Like de Lauretis, Brossard is concerned with the mannerin which women are “subjected,” constructed as subjects, andhow they might perform themselves differently. ForBrossard, reality is a product of thought conditioned andlegitimized throughout history by a masculinist memory:La hantise de l’14 omme,4 sorte de frequence maladiveacheminée dans les cerveaux, longeant la lignesémantique d’un seul côté, fréquence absolue de lasubjectivité patriarcale tendue comme un filetrecueillant toutes les sens pour les unir en une seulevolonté de puissance. (98)It is only by being “brain washed” that women accept this“web of lies” (149). For Brossard as well as de Lauretis,language acts as a screen (“screen skin” (125): the cortexand the corps texte: “écran de séléction. ... On invente unclimat, une plage ou un hiver” 127), filtering perceptionand allowing only that which has already been learned(memorized) as reality to pass through the screen.Brossard’s response is first to reject this reality:“D’instinct et de mémoire j’essaie de ne rien reconstituer.De mémoire j’entame” (19; 149). And this memory “ne peutêtre d’enfance. Seulement d’extase, de chute, de mots. Oude corps autrement” (19): not le souvenir, but la mémoire:thought itself. This memory leads her to question signs andtheir effects: “sans doute s’est—elle concentrée sur l’idée4This format approximates the typography employed byBrossard to signify the illusory nature of masculinist power.30très precise du verbe définir ce soir-là qui l’amènerait ainterroger toute definition concernant des femmes” (169).Picture Theory focusses on precisely the language thatdefines, concerns (and concerne), surrounds and limitswomen. Brossard’s project is to promote “l’éclat du musée.Mules fragments retombent sur mes épaules. De la matièrepartout, pièces d’identitC : notes, lipstick, miroir,condom, des, argent, mille fragments s’assemblent sousvos yeux dans le musée, dans le livre, il faut les voirvenir” (112). This fragmented reality can then be replacedby one that is more holistic: a holos gramma in which womenare integrated because they have participated in itswriting.The process of semiotic invention at work in Brossard’sdevelopment of a new form of cognition can be deciphered byanalysing the manner in which she constructs Hologramme, thetext within Picture Theory.To begin, a brief explanation of the basic technique ofholography: a hologram is created by intersecting beams oflight. Light emanating from a laser is split so that onebeam illuminates the object to be recorded, then isreflected onto a photographic plate. The other beambypasses the object to reflect of f a mirror directly ontothe plate. Where the two beams meet on the plate, theycreate interference fringes, or patterns that appear to theeye as grey smudges, specks, blobs and whorls (Leith and31Upatnieks 24). It is from this hologram that the virtualimage, the illusion of a three-dimensional object may bereconstructed. To reconstruct the virtual image, thephotographic plate is once again illuminated by a beam ofcoherent light that releases the captured waves. A three—dimensional illusion appears. The hologram producesthe visual effect of parallax: the perspective of thesubject appears to displace the object in view (Leith andUpatnieks 24). Holography also allows the viewer to lookaround and behind a foreground image (Kostelanetz 418).With holography there is no fixed point of view, and nohorizon.Both technologically and structurally, holography isradically different from photography. It is not simply amore realistic, because three—dimensional, representation.There is no one-to-one relationship in holography. Anyfragment of the holographic plate, when illuminated, willreconstruct the entire image from a different perspective(Talbot 13). Thus each representation displaces the object.Holography actually bypasses mimetic representation sincethe “text” itself is beyond interpretation. Instead ofrecording the image of the object that it photographs,holography records the light waves themselves as they bounceoff the object; the image cannot be discerned without itsreconstruction (Leith and Upatnieks 30). In addition, onceit is reconstructed, the image remains beyond the code (the32photographic plate). The re-presentation, the hologram, isutterly inaccessible; the virtual image is merely anillusion. Thus the hologram is not a copy of the object,but a code for how the object manifests itself to the visualsense. Finally, holography also offers the possibility ofcompletely surrounding you; once you have entered thehologram, it is no longer possible to visually distinguishbetween reality and its representation.The light source for the inscription of Brossard’shologram is the sexual intimacy of “la scene blanche” inwhich “une telle abondance de lumière effrite le regard”(Picture Theory 36). This scene is repeated several timesin “L’Ordinaire,” the first part of the novel, then expandsto form the second section, “La Perspective,” and returnsagain and again throughout the remainder of the text. Likethe two beams of light needed to create the hologram, thefirst scene blanche is split into two scenes, “celle dulivre et celle du tapis” (27). In the latter, the two womenaredes peaux qui alors se concentrent extrêmement.Conjuge a l’éclairage, le plaisir d’audacerevêt dangereusement le corps de l’autred’une pellicule existentielle de laquellesurgit, condensée en une image, l’harmoniequi fait sens. (31)33This harmony is “la luiuière cohérente” (198) that createsthe hologram.The second scene is that of the book: the dictionary, orthe reference beam that causes the interference necessaryfor the inscription of the hologram. The dictionary is the‘tcontexte du déjà inscrit” (167) with and against which thenarrator/writer works “toute la nuit explorant au grand jourle contexte dans lequel les idées s’étaient formées puisrenouvelées...” (99). It is paradoxically both darkness andlight; a source of knowledge of a language that oppresses,it also offers the possibility of reclaiming language.Here, then, is the apparatus necessary for theinscription of the hologram. The reader is at first likelyto be confused by the swirls and spirals that are themnemonic traces of this sign system; gradually, however,s/he5 learns the techniques necessary to reconstruct thevirtual image and follow the semiotic process necessary toreach the Hologramme, a process which I will now retrace.“Dehors il neige sur toute l’étendue de la langue”(117). “De ma fenêtre c’était l’episode dans lequel M.V.restait collée a la langue publique en détresse parmi lessignes noués, string corde raide de la ligne sémantique”(191). Taking advantage of la poudrerie that is thedissemination of meaning (“décembre la neige,”) Brossard’s5To avoid both gender specific pronouns and awkward“she/he” combinations, I use the pronouns “s/he” and “he/r.34politico-linguistic project begins with the intensificationof the spiral paths traced by the snowflakes/signs.According to Brossard, in order to change the context ofthat which is already inscribed, women must speak and writewith an accent that will at once question and deformmeaning. To do so will create a revolution in both sensesof the word: “pour chaque mot une revolution complete autourde son axe: on examine le radical sous tous ses angles, atout point de vue” (La Lettre aérienne 96). While deLauretis describes in general how semiosis is involved insubjectivity and perception, Brossard’s text enacts thisprocess, both linguistically and mathematically. The twoscenes of the carpet and the dictionary lead the reader on aspiral path, tracing the process of inventing a reality inwhich women may be integrated. For Brossard, the processbegins at the roots: the Latin roots of the nouns cunnus(= vulva) and cunnen (= knowledge): the radicalPicture Theory reads the sign n with an accent,spinning it on its axis so that it becomes, like the snow,“Spinster Spirale” (190). The definition of fl as “idiot”indicates the con/text of women, cernées by a language thatis not their own. By broaching (“de mémoire j’entame”) thissubject6, Brossard frees the centre of the spiral of itssexist connotations: “on se concentre sur ce qui devenu61n her translation of Picture Theory, Barbara Godard hasrendered this sentence as: “From memory, I broach a subject.”35abstraction devient motivation et motif premier. Dans cesens, on n’a rien perdu, on a éliiuiné les anecdotescirconstancielles...” (Cotnoir et al. 189).n becomes abstract:En commençant par le mot femme a propos del’utopie, M.V. avait choisi de se concentrersur une abstraction pressentie. ... Elle n’auraitd’autre choix que le consentement. Consentir estvisiblement le seul verbe qui puisse ici permettrela vraisemblance, la transparence de la soie utopique.(165)With the verb con/sentir the text returns to the eroticismof “la scene blanche,” the conjoining of sense andsensuality. Through word association and transformation (ordissemination), the text returns again to the energy sourceof its poetry and of the hologram. “La fiction serait lef ii d’arrivée de la pensée. Le terme exacte” (PictureTheory 165).Because of its degraded connotations, can only bewhispered: “chu chotte chatte” (115). Or it appearssubliminally in the manner of Barthes’ concept of the eroticin jouissance: “the intermittence of skin flashing betweentwo articles of clothing” (Barthes 10). Brossard echoesBarthes, describing “la lumière dans les vêtements uneconfusion entre les tissus et la peau” (Picture Theory 50).As I will soon demonstrate, the hologram as a metaphor ofthe process of thought also functions subliminally (200): aflash of recognition, or as Brossard quotes Djuna Barnes,“‘une image est une halte que fait l’esprit entre deux36incertitudes’” (29). n is, quite simply, “Un iuotplutôt qu’un autre a la vitesse de la lumière” (Cotnoiret al. 199).“Un sexe de femme c’est mathématique” (PictureTheory 118); two sign systems, etymology and calculus,7meet as the sign gn is spun on its axis and the centrifugalforce pushes at the limits of its signification. Itsderivatives are calculated, and it undergoes themathematical process of integration. The radical n is amathematical function, a formula in the calculus, themathematics of change (Kolman 99). To explore the nature ofa function, one takes its limit and calculates itsderivatives.To take a limit is to “describe the behavior of afunction f when x is near but different from a”(Kolman 100). is derived from the latin cunnus.Let x = cunnus, and a = cunnen or connen derived from =knowledge, ability, or to fix in memory. As x and aapproach each other in “la scene blanche,” the equationdescribes the production of the light energy that createsthe hologram. The presence of flesh within thought(Weir 346) is revealed in “lap-ensée” (Picture Theory 115)and in la langue as, “souvent le sexe (fem.) c’est promettrea l’éclat sous une bouche ruisselante qui pense...” (127).7The mathematics of calculus were essential to theinvention of the hologram (Goleman 84).37And in direct contact, a con/fusion “lorsqu’elle s’y frottala tribade aux mots...” (188), this material and sensuallanguage forms “la lumière cohérente” that constructs andreconstructs the hologram. This is the pleasure of thetext, at the limits of language and sensuality:oui la langue pouvait être reconstituéeen trois dimensions a partir de sa partiedite de plaisir là ou fusionnent le corpslesbien, la langue et l’énergie... (188)In calculus, the instantaneous rate of change in afunction is calculated or frozen, just as a hologram freezesa three—dimensional image, by the calculation of itsderivative. The derivative provides information about thegraph of a function, the tangent of its curve; it shows howthe function appears, or would ideally appear, in space(Kolman 193). Once the derivative of a function is taken,the next derivative takes the derivative of that derivative,the slope of the slope, and so on; if the process continues,the curve eventually returns to the original function.However, the accent with which the function fl is readcauses each of its derivatives to denver or drift, and thuseach time it turns back on itself its course is slightlyaltered, so that it follows a spiral path. And, like ahologram, this spiral is three—dimensional.The derivatives of con are most evident in the scenes ofsexual intimacy, where, according to Brossard, “tout estconcentration” (Cotnoir et al. 195). Words such as38“con/centrer,” “con/fusion,” “con/juguer,” “con/denser,” or“con/verger” demand reconsideration as each turns in onitself, creating “des ref lets tautologiques” (PictureTheory 29). “La fiction déjoue alors l’illysybilité, dansle sens oü elle insinue toujours quelque chose de plus quite force a iluaginer, a dédoubler. A y revenir” (PictureTheory 32). Beginning with con/centrer, a doubled centre(cunnus and cunnus), the process of semiosis follows aspiral path as each derivative of causes a detour insignification. Each detour is, in EGo’s sense, aninvention.Mathematically, this repeated derivation leads tointegration, a process used in calculus to find the areaunder a curve (Kolman 99), which is also used to describethe interaction of the wave forms that cause theinterference fringes of holographic photography:“convolutional integrals” (Pribram 142). The non—sense ofan accent has no sense (meaning or direction) unless thereis recognition by others who also speak with an accent(La Lettre aérienne 91). The integration of women, as theylearn to understand Brossard’s accent, redefines orreinvents their semiotic environment, the city of Montréal,or the area under the curve of the spiral. This accent addsa third dimension to the text as “le corps consent achercher en permanence son espace d’intégrité, le volume”(Picture Theory 150).39In a “tranche anatomique de l’imaginaire” (170), PictureTheory freezes the city of Montréal into an abstraction.One application for holography is that it can be used tofreeze and thus analyze the properties of floating particlesin a sample volume, expanding the perspective of an analysisto cross-sectional geometry (Leith and Upatnieks 35).Montreal is shown in the winter, when “les mots,” likesnowflakes, “volaient dans toutes les directions” (PictureTheory 112) and are frozen for an instant in their whirling“Spinster Spiral” (190) vortex. The words themselves, likethe floating dust particles that cause the whorls to beinscribed on a holographic plate (Leith and Upatnieks 29),are extraneous. Rather, the process by which meaning isassigned to them is explored as, “lorsque décembre [ordésémer] la neige” (108), an instant in the disseminationof meaning across the text of Picture Theory (Weir, “FromPicture to Hologram” 349) is fixed, framed by a windowframe (134) so that it might be examined. The city iscrystallized in ice (169); it becomes the hologram of athree-dimensional prism, reflecting and splitting light(147). For one instant, the context is revealedholistically, in three dimensions: “surcroIt synchronie dela page de la chambre de la cite dans la nuit nombres etlettres.. .“ (206).Through the mathematical process of integration, thearea under the spiral, the city of Montréal, is mapped, just40as the corner of page 97 of the text lifts to reveal a mapof the city within it. Picture Theory re-maps the city sothat women may now be integrated into it; Brossard rewritesthe relation between self and reality by remapping reality.Just as the accent with which Picture Theory is writtencreates non—sense, the holographic techniques produce theinterference patterns of a book highly resistant tointerpretation. A three-dimensional linguistic text is nonsense as it is spoken or written in a linear language. Thusthe narrative moves ahead in quantum leaps, by reactions ofenergy and light (Knutson 165) and “‘a certaines momentsnous atteignont des limites, c’est limite l’origine de lassel’stoire stèle... •‘ Indicible aurais-je répondu” (PictureTheory 191). At the linguistic limit of Picture Theory isthe hologram, which goes beyond the limits of linearlanguage. The epigraph from Wittgenstein indicates that itis the sentence that sentences us. Thus it is in hergrammatical transgression, affirming that “la langue est unspectacle de ce que nous ne pouvons pas penser comme telles”(183), that Brossard offers “le spectacle de l’impensable”(Cotnoir et al. 178). The hologram “est sans limite Ianature des phrases une information visuelle parcourant noscorps a la vitesse de la lumière” (Picture Theory 186). Toreach the hologram in Picture Theory is to take part in arevolution: an invention which can transform reality (AliceDoesn’t 54).41Although it is necessary to read through Picture Theoryin order to reach the beginning of Hologramme, it is highlyunlikely that the virtual image will be reconstructed onthat first reading. It is only with subsequent readings,when the whole can be pictured simultaneously, that themulti-level word plays, repetitions and allusions take onmeaning. What Joseph Frank says of spatial form in Joyce’sDublin is true of Brossard’s Montreal (Weir, “From Pictureto Hologram” 346) and Brossard, as much as Joyce, “cannot beread — [s]he can only be reread (Frank 19).” A knowledge ofthe whole is essential to an understanding of any part, andthen, true to its holographic form, any part can illuminatethe whole. Picture Theory is a memory theatre; it must bememorised in order for the spectacle to take place.If the hologram can function holistically only inmemory, that function itself is to enact memory, or imémoire. Thought works subliminally (200): a flash ofrecognition, as the semiotic chain of meaning halts,temporarily, anchoring itself to some body for an instant(Alice Doesn’t 178). The jouissance shared between twowomen in les scenes blanches is also inscribed into the actof reading this text. The experience of the hologram, then,like that of jouissance, may only be expressed as:That’s it! This cry is not to be understoodas an illumination of the intelligence, butas the very limit of nomination, of the imagination.In short, there are two realisms, the firstdeciphers the “real” (what is demonstrated but not42seen); the second speaks “reality” (what is seen butnot demonstrated).... (Barthes 45_46)8Picture Theory writes its “reality.” It is the theoreticalexploration of a poetics/epistemology/utopia of thehologram, which functions on the edge of the spectrum ofwhite light, of light’s speed, and of language, French orEnglish:<<disissit>>langage qui ref lue dans mes yeuxcomme un horizon, bord de pense:réalité des bouches...(Brossard and Marlatt 3)Brossard explores thought in the process of making sense,both sensual and intellectual. Picture Theory bypassesrepresentation, because, like a hologram, it does nOtrepresent the object, but the process of perceiving thatobject. Plot, characters and settings are barely relevantto this text; what is important is the process of makingsense of it. Thus Brossard forces the reader to reconsiderhe/r perception of reality and fiction, sense and non—sense,and in altering this perspective, she theoretically altersthe context of women. Brossard’s poetry causes the readerto experience the semiotic process of re—mapping, orinvention, as a mind—hologram that is “un témoignageutopique” (85): the possibility of changing reality.i cite the translation of Barthes’ text in order topermit Brossard’s <<disissit>> to echo the “That’s it!” at theedge of nomination: the firing of synapses. My reading ofBrossard’s words interprets them differently than doesMarlatt’s translation as <<say’dbesayingsays>> (Mauve 17).43Screen skin my mind: a holographic memoryWhat Brossard’s poetry enacts, neurologists haveattempted to explain with regard to the functioning of thebrain.At first, neurobiologist Carl Pribram used holography asa metaphor for the neurological process; however, graduallythe notion of holographic memory came to have a physiological basis (Goleman 71). Pribram describes theholographic wave-front nature of brain-cell connections:[n]eurons possess branches like trees, and when anelectrical message reaches the end of one of thesebranches it radiates outward as does a ripple in a pond.Because neurons are packed together so densely, theseexpanding ripples of electricity- also a wavelikephenomenon— are constantly crisscrossing one another.(cited in Goleman 72)The interference patterns created by crisscrossing waveformsgive the brain its holographic properties (Talbot 20).Memory is stored in and activated by wave frequencies.According to Pribram, thought is not information processingand cannot be likened to most computer technology, becausethe brain does not break things down into their constituentparts; it operates holistically (Goleman 8O).Pribram found evidence that memories were not, aspreviously thought, localized at specific brain sites, but9As computer technology advances, it more and moreclosely mirrors the nonlocal functioning of memory (Briggs andPeat, Turbulent Mirror 170).44were distributed throughout the brain as a whole.’0 Non—localisation is also a characteristic of holography, bywhich a piece of a holographic screen or film will producethe entire virtual image. Moreover, frequency analysisdoesn’t function in the dimensions of time and space, but onaxes of spectrum and power: “‘in the frequency domain, timeand space become collapsed .. my memory is organized alongother dimensions than time and space — though space and timetags may be attached to particular memories” (Pribram citedin Goleman 84).Holographic theory explains many aspects of neurologicalfunctioning, for example, the brain’s immense capacity forinformation storage. By changing the angle at which the twolasers strike a piece of photographic film, it is possibleto record many different images on the same surface.Forgetting is then a matter of failing to find the rightangle. This also explains the associative nature of memorybecause if two objects are holographed at the same time,retrieving one brings the other along with it (Talbot 21).Researchers are at present studying the hypothesis that itis the light—sensitive molecule melanin (a molecule found inskin, but also in most other parts of the body) that mayactually be the “holographic film” (“screen skin,”‘°For another study of this effect, see Paul Pietsch,Shufflebrain (Boston: Houghton Miffun, 1981).45Brossard 125) in the brain (Briggs and Peat, The LookingGlass Universe 263).Although Pribrain’s theory of the holographic brain hasnot been irrefutably confirmed, recent developments inneurobiology have as yet to disprove it. It is acceptedin most circles, at least metaphorically, since memory isincreasingly considered to function within the wholeneural network. As another scientist describes it,“memory floats in an undulating sea of relationships thatare continually, if subtly, changing” (Briggs and Peat,Turbulent Mirror 171). Holographically, “pour l’instant lamémoire est en vue comme une site: toutes les regions ducerveau” (Picture Theory 128-9).To experience the hologram while reading Picture Theory,then, is to experience “une manifestation de la pensee dansses manoeuvres” (La Lettre aérienne 146). For Pribram,“thinking is not ... solely a linguistic enterprise, [it]derives from prolongations of states of active uncertainty”(Pribram 370); he employs the hologram to describe thesestates. Brossard describes the identical non—mimeticthought process: “‘une image est une halte que fait l’espritentre deux incertitudes’” (Picture Theory 29), and the actof deciphering the obscurity of Picture Theory enacts thathologram.1’“Susan Knutson points out that the structure of thisnarrative corresponds to the tree structure of synapses (166).46Screen skin my world?If the picture of reality in our brains is not apicture, but a hologram, what is it a hologram of?According to physicist David Bohm, perception is itself anabstraction; what we see as reality is a virtual image, anillusion of separate entities in space. Reality itself is ablur of holographic interference patterns. Our brainsinterpret these wave frequencies and from them construct“objective reality”; thought is thus a hologram of ahologram, but not in the same way that a platonic realitymay be thought of as a copy of a copy, as Bohm explains;rather, consciousness is only one particular frequencywithin the hologram of reality (Talbot 126).David Bohiu’s controversial study, Wholeness and theImplicate Order, provides the basis for a more material, orconcrete, reading of the “inventions” of both Brossard andde Lauretis. It allows me to expand both of these theories,and to integrate them into an epistemological model thatintensifies and augments their impetus for social change.Like Brossard and de Lauretis, Bohm begins his theorywith a critique of theories of mimetic representation.Wholeness and the Implicate Order rejects the fragmentingeffect of mimesis: “every form of theoretical insightintroduces its own essential differences anddistinctions.... {I]f we regard our theories as ‘direct47descriptions of reality as it is’... we will be led to theillusion that the world is actually constituted of separatefragments... “ (7). Positing that all perception is atleast in part illusion, Bohm is critical of the effects ofthis mimetic presupposition on which scientific or appliedknowledge is based. The logical outcome of this attitude(which corresponds to Brossard’s “hantise de l’H omme,” thatbecomes “une seule volonté de puissance,” 98) is that[ajil that counts in physical theory is supposed to bethe development of mathematical equations that permit usto predict and control the behaviour of largestatistical aggregates of particles. Such a goal is notregarded as merely for its pragmatic and technicalutility: rather it has become a presupposition of mostwork in modern physics that prediction and control ofthis kind is all that human knowledge is about. (xiii)For Bohm, language does not reflect the world, but is away of looking at, or even interacting with, the world; ourtheories are theatres for thought (3) rather than knowledgeof how the world is. Knowledge is then merely a proposal, aperformance that is continually under revision. This is howBohm introduces his radical reinterpretation of quantumreality - with the reminder that his theory, too, is merelya different manner of “mapping” the quantum world: aninvention. Or, as other physicists have described it,Bohm’s theory “attempts to devise not only a new map of theuniverse, but to create a new understanding of therelationship between maps and terrains” (Briggs and Peat,The Looking Glass Universe 94). Bohm does not state that48mainstream quantum theory is false, nor does he make anyclaims for the truth of his own theory. He merely statesthat his theory offers solutions to some of the paradoxes inthe more accepted versions of quantum mechanics.’2It is for this reason that Bohm’s work is not merely anattempt to “restore determinism and causality to quantumphysics” (Ilayles, The Cosmic Web 56) by postulating hiddenvariables, even though his theory and its preference forclarity, harmony and order (Bohm 2) may at first appearsuspect to one who has learned to distrust such“theological” terms. The notion of the implicate order isdeterministic, hut not classically so; it merely points outthat the dominant quantum theory is not the only valid one,‘21t is in part for this reason that Bohm’s work is socontroversial; he is less interested in finding the “truth”than in questioning how that truth is constructed and how itmight be constructed otherwise. This, of course, questions thefoundations of Western science. As an exceptional young manhe entered the domain of quantum theory “like a meteor” — hisresearch was ground—breaking and his 1950’s textbook, QuantumTheory, is considered to have been one of the best of itstime. One of his most important contributions was to disprove“von Neumann’s proof,” the mathematical formula that confirmedthe dominant view of quantum physics (the Copenhagen schoolwhich formed around Niels Bohr) by proving that “hiddenvariable” arguments could never work. Bohm invented one thatcould. It has since been disproved, but Bohm never intendedit to be an accurate picture of reality; his aim, which heattained, was to show that alternate formulations werepossible. This feat has led to some of the most important worknow in progress on the foundations of quantum physics (eq.that of John Bell on the non-local nature of quantum reality).And it has led Bohm even further from the confines of thedominant school of thought regarding the foundations ofquantum physics (interview with Dr. Philip Stamp, Universityof British Columbia Physics Department, October 6 1992; seealso Nick Herbert, Ouantum Reality).49nor is it a complete explanation of reality (Briggs andPeat, The Looking Glass Universe 97). It is preciselyBohm’s different notion of “mapping,” and the provisionalityinherent in his theory that guards against totalization andallows his theory, like de Lauretis’ subject, to beprocessual: a temporary “anchoring” position of an idea.“Wholeness” is Bohiu’s interpretation of the fact thatboth relativity and quantum theory imply that the world isan undivided whole. “In this totality, the atomistic formof insight is a simplification and an abstraction, validonly in some limited context” (Bohm 11). Bohm’s theorymight actually better be termed holistic, because it doesnot attempt to enact completion, closure, or stasis, butrather to emphasize interconnectedness. Even the word“holistic” however, tends to make some physicists and othertheorists uneasy, as they worry about the “flakier” aspectsof such a term (Gribbin 172) and its New Age interpretations. And yet these same theorists will quicklyacknowledge that even mainstream theories of quantum realityrequire far more radical changes in epistemology than haveyet filtered into other philosophical and scientificdomains.In The Holographic Universe (which, after the firstchapter has summarized the work of Pribram, Bohm and others,becomes a perfect example of the “flakier” aspects of NewAge uses of quantum theory) Michael Talbot explains that in50quantum physics, sub—atomic particles are neither particlesnor objects. They are waves which have no dimension; theymanifest themselves as particles only when observed:“everything we touch turns to matter” (Talbot 33-34). Ourperception of “objective reality” as made up of separate orfragmented elements, then, is an effect of on our fragmentedway of thinking (Bohm 7). Bohm traces the history of thismanner of thinking in the rise of modern science andphilosophy.Both Bohm and more conventional quantum theorists rejectthe concept of an objective, fragmented reality. Accordingto Bohm, Einstein’s theory of relativity led to a unifiedfield theory, as does quantum theory; however the two areincompatible because the first is deterministic and local,and the second indeterministic and nonlocal. (Non—localityrefers to the fact that at the subquantum level, as in ahologram and in the human brain, location ceases to exist,Talbot 41). However, quantum physicists continue topostulate, search for and then find smaller and smallerparticles (eg. positrons, neutrinos, mesons, quarks)(Gribbin 162; Briggs and Peat, The Looking GlassUniverse 78), thereby (as Bohm and his supporters claim)perpetuating a fragmentary view of reality in the face ofquantum theory’s denial of such a reality. In addition,there are some inexplicable aspects and philosophicalimplications of quantum theory that most mainstream51theorists choose to ignore. “If the math works, don’t fixit” seems to be the dominant attitude. Bohm, who likeEinstein was uncomfortable with the lack of determinism inquantum reality, attempts to bring relativity and quantumtheory together by speculating on hidden variables whichwould explain in a holistic manner what the quantum world isdoing when no one is looking at it.At first glance, Bohm’s theory might appear to be asfarfetched and utopian as Erossard’s. However, from a“realistic” or “common—sense” perspective, Bohm’s holistictheory is no less believable than the other interpretationsof reality based on quantum findings. The dominant“Copenhagen interpretation” claims that there is no realityin the absence of observation, or that the observer createsits own reality (Gribbin 159-162). Another interpretationis that reality consists of a steadily increasing number ofparallel universes (Gribbin 235-254). These interpretationsmay appear to the non-physicist to be more science fictionthan fact, and yet they are serious theories formulated bysome of the most respected thinkers of this century. Anunderstanding of quantum physics demands a radicallydifferent perspective on the nature of reality. Bohm’s workexperiments with one possibility.In an interview with Robert Temple in ScientificAmerican, Bohm explains that what the lens did for theatomic particle view of science (the lens magnified objects52on a one—to—one basis), the hologram does now; it presentsthe whole structure of which the human observer is a part.Yet Bohm does not merely replace the picture of reality witha hologram of reality; the hologram has its own limitations.Like a picture, or even cinema, the hologram freezes momentsin time. As Brossard’s hologram of Montréal illustrates, ahologram can only offer a series of static observations.Similarly, Bohm continues, one of the constrictions ofquantum theory is that it cannot conceive of movement orprocess; it offers just one static observation, then another(Temple 362) which is perhaps what transforms waves intoparticles. It is for this reason that Bohm extrapolatesfrom holography his notion of a “holomovement” (Temple 145).In doing so he takes this three—dimensional illusion intofour dimensional, non—Euclidean space-time.’3 Theholomovement is not simply a more accurate picture ofreality, because on the level of sub—atomic particles, “thevery fabric of reality itself possesses what appears to bean undeniable ‘holographic’ property” (Talbot 3).What Bohm claims, then, is that reality, which he refersto as the implicate order, is what is seen on a holographicplate: patterns of waveform interference: a mess of whorlsand vortices, like whirlpools in a stream (Bohm 179). Each‘3With this adaptation, Bohm also opens the possibilityof taking the virtual image into virtual reality, a task whichis beyond the bounds of this dissertation.53vortex is what we interpret, through a conceptual strategy(see n3 above), as a thing, what Bohm refers to in theexplicate order (the virtual image, abstraction or illusionof “objective reality”) as a “relatively autonomous sub-totality” (Bohm 189). These relatively autonomous sub-totalities are also referred to as moments, because just asnothing is separate, nothing is permanent; like the eddiesin a stream, they will eventually whirl into somethingelse.’4 “Bohm is not suggesting that the differences between‘things’ is [sic] meaningless. He merely wants us to beaware constantly that dividing various aspects of theholomovement into ‘things’ is always an abstraction, a wayof making those aspects stand out in our perception by ourway of thinking” (Talbot 48). As the terms “implicate” and“explicate” suggest, Bohm’s conception of reality is one of‘4Bohm’s description of time also has interestingimplications for time in Picture Theory and for thisholographic counter—memory. In the implicate order time is notthe movement of a particle across space, but rather differentdegrees of unfolding all present at the same time. “So insteadof describing movement as one point related to another, in theimplicate order movement is described as one form of present(one degree of enfoldment) related to another form of present(a different degree of enfoldment). All these different“presents” are unfolded together at any moment” (Briggs andPeat, Through the Looking Glass 118).Hence the “soeur anarchiste ... [c]elle qui vit partouten méme temps” (37) and the multiple dimensions of thehologram which exceeds space—time: “Je confonds les tempsparce qu’en moi subsiste une abstraction vitale qui me faittendre a la mémoire multiple” (85). only “la hantise del’H omme” is characterized by the arrows of linear time (96).54folds, in which both the implicate order and the past areenfolded and thus invisible to our conditioned perception.Bohm provides mathematical arguments for physicists,15but he also presents material of interest to literarytheorists and linguists. Like Brossard, Bohm is concernedwith how language conditions our perceptions and thustransforms reality. His response is also to “play” withlanguage and meaning. However, he takes the notion ofspeaking with an accent to much further extremes. And yettheir techniques are similar; both Brossard and Bohm attemptto create a language that does not reflect the hologram/holomovement, but participates in, or enacts it. Words inPicture Theory do not refer on a one—to—one basis to things.Rather, the confusion of their dissemination is an attemptto cause the reader to “experience” the hologram in he/rbrain. Bohm’s linguistic experiment, the “rheomode,” isalso an attempt to allow its speaker to interact with theholomovement.The rheomode (“rheo” from the Greek “to flow”) attemptsto overcome the subject—verb--object fragmentation of most‘51t is difficult to gauge Bohm’s reception by his peers.Acknowledging the brilliance of his early career, and carefulnot to reject his later work on the implicate order outright(“Who knows, in another century he might be considered oh thesame level as Einstein”), mainstream physicists look at Bohmwith approximately the same scepticism with which Britishphilosophers looked at French existentialism — “but what canyou do with it?” [ie. “How can you use it to predict orcontrol?”] (interview with Dr. Philip Stamp, University ofBritish Columbia Physics Department, 6 October 1992.)55languages by making all words variations of the verb. As aresponse to claims that language is necessarilyrepresentational and that the deep structures of Indo—European languages are inherently dualist (Hayles, ChaosBound l6),16 the rheomode creates no subject/objectdichotomy. It is also explicitly self-reflexive, and eachverb flows into the next. For example, Bohm begins with theverb “to levate,” meaning to lift something into attentionin such a way as to include the question of whether what oneis talking about is relevant to the context, while at thesame time calling attention to the fact that one is callingattention to something - that to some extent one isseparating it out of the whole by the tweezers of language.The verb “re—levate” means to do this all again, includingthe whole process of considering whether what one is sayingis relevant “this time” (Briggs and Peat, The Looking GlassUniverse 135). From the verb re—levate comes the adjectivere—levant, that is, whether or not in each case to re—levateis re—levant, and the noun (remembering that nouns can onlybe continued states of activity of the form indicated by the‘6Bohm acknowledges that not all languages are necessarilydualist, citing ancient Hebrew as an example of one that isbased on the verb—form. “However,” he claims, “in modernHebrew the actual usage is similar to that of English, in thatthe noun is in fact given a primary role in its meaning eventhough in the formal grammar is all still built from the verbas a root” (30). An exploration of other non—Europeanlanguages and literatures with regard to this issue would gobeyond the scope of this dissertation.56verb) “re—levation: a continued state of lifting a givencontent into attention” (Bohm 35). Other verbs andvariations similarly call attention to the process oflanguage, thereby, Bohm hopes, avoiding the fragmentationwhich language often brings about and creating a languagethat flows into, rather than represents, reality.’7Bohm goes on to illustrate how consciousness relates tothe implicate order. His theory offers an extension of thesemiotics of Teresa de Lauretis in its claim that memory andenvironment do not simply interact; rather, they areindissolubly linked: part of the same movement. Further,Bohm stresses that all thought is memory, or cognitivemapping in process: “Thought is ... the active response ofmemory in every phase of life ... intellectual, emotional,sensuous, muscular and physical ... all these are oneprocess of response of memory to each actual situation”(Bohm 50). Past—focussed memories might be considered asprevious “moments,” which leave traces (usually enfolded)that continue on in later moments, “though this trace maychange and transform almost without limit” (208).For Brossard, thought is instantaneous; the moment ofthe firing of synapses is a holographic process, and PictureTheory attempts to reconstruct this process subliminally in‘7This summary is a necessary simplification; I referreaders to the chapter on the rheomode in Wholeness and theImplicate Order.57the mind of its reader. Bohm contrasts the mechanicalfunctions of memory such as repetition, re—organization, andcombination to what he calls “perception” (using the word ina manner different from that of de Lauretis): a spatiallyorganized “flash of understanding” in which, holistically,“one can see the irrelevance of one’s whole way of thinkingabout the problem, along with a different approach in whichall the elements fit in a new order and in a new structure”(Bohm 51).It is here again that Bohm differs from conventionalquantum physicists, as he pushes at the limitations of thelanguage which they (often unquestioningly) use to describethe quantum world. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principleclaims that the observer interacts with the experiment(Gribbin 171). Bohm responds that “interact” is amisleading term because it still assumes that humanconsciousness and the subatomic particles of the experimentare separate entities; for Bohm, consciousness is anotherform of matter (Talbot 49).Teresa de Lauretis quotes neurophysiologist CohnBlakemore on mapping to assert that “perception works by aset of learned responses, a cognitive pattern, a code” andthat a map does not copy reality, but symbolizes it (AliceDoesn’t 54). As previously quoted, Blakemore goes on toquestion exactly “how much of our everyday perception isreally created entirely within our brains without any58equivalent external stimulus? And how much of the realworld are we simply incapable of perceiving because we haveno neural apparatus to do so?” (Blakemore 17). Bohm in turnprovides responses to both of these questions that allowde Lauretis’ semiotics to be taken even further: first, itis impossible to separate the brain and the environment it“perceives”; and secondly, it is the implicate order that isprecisely what we are incapable of perceiving.According to Bohm, then, reality is a vast flux of wavesand frequencies, and appears concrete to us only because ourbrains are able to take this holographic blur and constructfrom it the tables and chairs and other familiar objectsthat make up our world (Talbot 54). Thus “to say we are aholographic mind, looking at a holographic universe isanother abstraction, an attempt to separate things thatultimately cannot be separated...” (Talbot 55). Thought isnot a copy of a copy, or a hologram of a hologram, butrather a hologram within a hologram. “We can view ourselvesas a blur of interference patterns enfolded throughout thecosmic hologram” (Talbot 55): “Nos alentours étaient troisdimensions que nos corps éprouvaient avec clairvoyance danstoute l’étendue de nos mémoires (Picture Theory 79).As I have already discussed, Brossard also refers to thefragmentation of reality that arises as a result of a belief59in our representations as “direct descriptions of reality asit is” (Bohm 7).Du sens était en vue, amplifiait la réalité comme unecoiuète sonore... L’éciat du musée. Mule fragmentsretombent sur ities épaules. De la matière partout, piècesd’identité : notes, lipstick, miroir, condom, des,argent, mule fragments s’assemblent sous vos yeux dansle musée, dans le livre, ii faut les voir venir. (112)It is necessary to see these fragments coming — to see howthe world becomes a museum of fragments taken out of contextprecisely by the way we look at it — in order to changereality.To re—levate one fragment for a moment: “pieces ofidentity” — the literal translation is useful - identitiesare also fragments, and are defined by fragments assembledas in a museum; “[iji faut les voir venir.” Brossard’s“characters” do not mirror autonomous identities, but rathercontribute to “l’évanouissement de Ia personne” (115). Theattempt to follow the characters through the plot or to holdthem together, like holding words together as unities, is,sadly, what loses many readers of this text. Signs, thingsand persons are no more than relatively autonomoussubtotalities, continually undergoing transformations, asphonemes disengage and are reconnected across the network ofthe text (Godard, “Preface” to Picture Theory, 7-9)Cosmos osmose cosmos annule, avive, a—vide, gravite,l’affame la mere la femme la femme: (human mind)lap/ensée. lèformes chu chotte chatte.Décembre la neige. Visible pour une fois; vie-cible. Lesmots fonctionnent indéfiniment (l’évanouissement de lapersonne) a perte de vue en tout sens: chats pitres.Tristement. (115)60This text is structured non-locally; because of its spatialform the reader can flip to any page, any word, or anyphoneme in the rereading.Brossard’s project, then, is “L’indispensable [it isindispensable to think the unthinkable, the dis/pensable]trajectoire: déployer le reel gui est en soi l’espace activede la matière holographiée” (143). Her abstraction unfolds(or makes explicit) the implicate order.However, what happens to Brossard’s notion of“abstraction” when read through Bohm’s theory? For bothBrossard and Bohm, the virtual image of the hologram is theabstraction. However, if Brossard’s abstraction is theprimary gesture of her feminist project, it falls prey tothe same critique that Bohm levels at “objective reality.”And from de Lauretis’ perspective, it is based on herlesbian identity and remains utopically focussed on “woman.”This is only true if Picture Theory is read as a lineartext of which the hologram is the end result, as “la rêalitése condense en abstraction, la peau travaille... (186). Ifthe attainment of the third dimension, the body’s “espaced’intégrité, le volume” (150) is seen to be the goal ofPicture Theory, then the abstraction is utopian, impracticaland esoteric. However, reading Picture Theory through Bohmshifts the dominant effect of Brossard’s text from theabstraction, the virtual image of the hologram, to theimplicate order: the holographic plate and the process of61con/fusion into which it leads the reader, rather than theteleology of Barthesian jouissance. In this, Brossard mightbe said to provide a feminist revision of Barthes’ term.Brossard clearly asserts that the reality that is “lahantise de l’Il omme” is as much an abstraction as theholographic woman: “toute la réalité se condense enabstraction. Se dédouble, floue, difficile repere.Difficile apres. La hantise de l’H omme, sorte de fréquenceinaladive acheminée dans les cerveaux....” (98). What sherejects is the acceptance of this abstraction as the onlyreality possible: “un filet recueillant toutes les penséespour les unir en une seule volonté de puissance” (98).It is the recognition that this is an abstraction thatallows Brossard to abstract differently:a la source de chaque emotion, il y a une abstractiondont l’effet est l’êmotion mais dont les consequencesdérivent la fixité du regard et des idées. Chaqueabstraction est une forme potentielle dans i’espacemental. Et quand l’abstraction prend forme, elles’inscrit radicalement comme énigme et affirmation.Avoir recours a l’abstraction est une nécessité pourcelle qui fait le projet, tentée par l’existence, detraverser les anecdotes quotidiennes et les iuémoiresd’utopie qu’elle rencontre a chaque usage de la parole.J’ai tenté un jour de conquérir la réalité, de la rendreplausible. D’abord par insinuation, en glissant quelquesmots de travers: pour la saisir par la peau des plis,dans ses trous noirs comme une version sans fin, j’aifabriqué a son sujet un savoir a ma connaissance. (89)The importance of Brossard’s theory, like that of Bohm,is not the truth or falsity of its content, but itsaffirmation of the possibility of a different “mapping” ofreality.62“According to the holographic idea, matter is a kind ofhabit and is constantly born anew out of the implicate, justas the shape of a fountain is created anew out of theconstant flow of water that gives it form” (Talbot 137).This notion of matter as a habit coincides with a semiotichabit in terms of Peirce via de Lauretis; it is a “meaningeffect,” a “disposition, readiness (for action), a set ofexpectations” where the chain of meaning (or in this casethe chain of substance) temporarily anchors itself (AliceDoesn’t 178).” Thus both Eco’s notion of mapping or“invention” which by establishing new codes transformsreality, and that of cognitive mapping which producesreality by “sensation, cognition, memory, an ordering anddistribution of energy” (Alice Doesn’t 66), may be seen aspart of the flux between implicate and explicate order.Should we now be talking about holosemiosis? Semiosisis also a flux, most of which is implicate, and only becomesexplicate when “anchored” temporarily. Signs are usuallydepicted as functioning atomistically, as particles, andexisting in chains.’8 Perhaps a more apt image of them might‘8The Derridian notions of écriture, trace, différance,dissemination, plis, etc. have also been described as a chainof nonsynonymous substitutions that are part of a generaleconomy of operations (“La Différance” 4; 13). What if onealso imagined them as operating holographically, likefragments of a hologram? Or envisioned the flow betweenimplicate and explicate order, the enfolding-unfoldingprocess, as precisely a surface kinetics, a moire effectbetween figure and ground (Ulmer 39). Such a project isclearly beyond the bounds of this dissertation, but itspossibilities are fascinating. One version of this project has63be as vortices, taking shape for a moment and then flowinginto something new, yet still carrying enfolded pastsignifications.This has not been an attempt to provide a more concrete,because scientific, metaphysics of presence. It has simplybeen a temporary anchoring of an idea. The notion of aholographic memory within a holomovement offers a slightlydifferent angle from which to read not only feminist texts,but also, as the next chapter will illustrate, the issue of“dwelling” so central to post—colonial writing. The projectof attempting to think differently, like an understanding ofquantum physics, would seem to demand a radically differentperspective on the nature of reality. Bohm’s theory enablesan experimentation with one possibility that allowsBrossard’s “utopia” to be read less as a naively idealistproject than as one attempt at invention — an invention thatwill not by itself assure women’s integration into reality,any more than a utopian vision would. However thatinvention does become more than merely “un temoignageutopique”: it offers a more practical means to “stimuler enbeen suggested in an article by Zulma Nelly Martinez, “Froma mimetic to a holographic paradigm in Fiction: toward adefinition of feminist writing.” However, Martinez opts foran essentialist feminism and attempts to read both Derrida andBohm in a manner that would support her definition of “Woman.”nous une qualite d’émotion propice a notre insertion dansl’histoire” (Picture Theory 85), because it traces theprocess by which that insertion may come about.6465CHAPTER 2Resurfacing: Quantum visions of shainanic transformationsMargaret Atwood’s Surfacing makes no reference to eitherholography or quantum physics in its development of apolitical strategy. However, like Picture Theory, thisnovel employs experimentation with language and memory topoint towards a utopian integration of women into theirenvironment. Whereas Brossard strives to integrate womeninto a socially constructed historical reality, Atwood turnsto the natural world. By establishing that a holographictheory is also relevant to this text, I hope to show thatthis theory is not simply a product of one brilliant andinnovative text (Picture Theory). Rather, it designates acognitive strategy that may or may not be thematicallytreated, but is structurally at work in at least severalother feminist texts, and may have even further—reachingimplications. Moreover, this chapter is not merely anapplication of a theory to a text. Surfacing adds to andclarifies the holographic theory initiated in the firstchapter; like a fragment of hologram, it reconstructs thevirtual image from another perspective.The concerns in Surfacing are not limited to that text.They stretch back in time (or more precisely, enfold time)66to include Atwood’s rewriting of Susanna Moodie’s Roughingit in the Bush, and unfold again in a short story in herrecent collection, Wilderness Tips. I will begin with animage from Journals of Susanna Moodie, an image of a womanwho, like the virtual image constructed by Brossard’shologram, can be glimpsed only periodically across Atwood’swritten works.Signs from undergroundPicture two images superimposed within the domain ofCanadian literature. The first is the concluding collage inMargaret Atwood’s Journals of Susanna Moodie. It is theshape of a woman with long hair, wearing a flowing dress;she is painted in water—colour, with little detail, and sheis buried in the earth. Below her lie different strata ofrock, and above her the straight line of a street surface.On that surface, drawn in precise lines, well—dressed peoplestroll down sidewalks in front of nineteenth centurybuildings. There is a slight skew in perspective: thestreet is over there, between the sidewalks. She is here onthe other side where more buildings should be. Yet nothingis built, and nothing grows directly above her - just asmooth, hard, flat surface.67This figure of Susanna Moodie is haunted by anotherimage, one depicted on the concluding page of Peter Such’sRiverrun. This page is an excerpt from Such’s diary, thedate of which coincides with the date of publication ofRiverrun. The entry sings an elegy for Shawnadithit, thelast of the Beothuk people. It recounts her death in 1829,her burial, and the fact that her grave is lost; thecemetery has become a city street (145).’The poems which follow Atwood’s collage compose aprophecy. “Alternate Thoughts from Underground” brings thecollage into a modern Canadian city: “Down. Shovelled. Canhear / faintly laughter, footsteps; / the shrill of glassand steel” (57:1—3). The voice of the buried woman prays, “0topple this glass pride...” (11). In “Resurrection,” shehas become one with “those who have become the stone /voices of the land” (59:18-19), who proclaim that “at thelast / judgement we will all be trees” (24—25). Finally,‘In a chapter entitled “Le cadavre sous la fondation del’édifice: la violence faite a la femme dans le romancontemporain” (236—264) in Ecrire dans la maison du père,Patricia Smart traces a similar image in Québec literature,maintaining that it is “fle] cadavre de la femme qui soutientl’édif ice représentationnel et culturel fondé sur l’économiedu désir masculin” (249), that it is this representationaledifice which has immobilized women and that feministliterature transforms representation by reaching towards amore fluid and semiotic image (255; 263). An interestingcomparison might employ these images, as well as that whichI discuss at the end of this chapter, to discuss thesimilarities/relationships between sexism and imperialism andthe possible alliances between feminism and post-colonialismwith regard to Canadian, Québec and First Nations literatures.68although entombed in “concrete slabs” (60:7), she warns: “1have / my ways of getting through” (60:13-14), and concludesby addressing her reader:Turn, look down:there is no city;this is the centre of a forestyour place is empty (61:28-31)In the centre of a forest, at the beginning of Riverrun,the protagonist Nonosabasut trips over the roots of a tree —or what he at first takes to be its roots. Looking moreclosely, he finds that he has stumbled upon the bones of anold woman intertwined with the roots. He performs therequired ritual of respect by rubbing them with red ochre.In the preface to this novel, Such refers to its writing asthe acknowledgement of a debt to these people, to theirnames (ix). The names have become their bones and thenovel, the ochre.“At the last judgement we will all be trees.” Thechiasmus formed by these two texts crosses between tree—rooted soil and concrete: the remains of Shawnadithit’speople, once part of the trees, are now trapped in concrete;and Susanna Moodie is made to prophesy the crumbling of thatconcrete and the return of the trees. However, the Beothukpeople will not return; their silence is permanent. That Xperpetuates its history of marking the disenfranchisement ofFirst Nations peoples. Atwood’s collage ironically entombsShawnadithit in concrete in an attempt to transform Susanna69Noodie into “the spirit of the land she once hated”(“Afterword” 64).Atwood’s collection of poems enacts what Terry Goldiehas referred to as “indigenization” (73) by which the non-Native “goes Native” in order to belong to the land, ormore aptly put, to “naturalize [he/ri appropriation of theland” (Fee, “Romantic Nationalism and the Image of NativePeople” 24). In this process the Native sign is emptied ofsignification; it has no other function but mediation.2 Atthe time of its writing, Atwood’s feminist and post-colonialrevision of the figure of Susanna Moodie, Canada’s literaryepitome of British colonization, was surprising, extremelyeffective and politically appropriate in that it filled alarge gap in Canadian cultural and literary mythology. Shereclaimed this author by listening to what she refers to as“that other voice running like a counterpoint through[Moodie’s] work” (Journals 63). However the image ofShawnadithit becomes yet another (silent, silenced) voicerunning through Atwood’s work. The voice of Shawnadithit,through Such, exposes Atwood’s post—colonial act as an act2One might argue that all signs are empty, to the extentthat the signifier does not lead to its signified but only toanother signifier (Goldie 68). I would answer such a Derridianargument with an analogy between the emptying of the sign ofthe native and Teresa de Lauretis’ critique of Derrida’s useof the sign of the woman — one can agree with disseminationand also choose not to ignore the very material and historicaleffects of the temporary anchoring of a sign.70of recolonization.3 The last line of the Journals ofSusanna Moodie could well be speaking to the unheard voiceof Shawnadithit, telling it, “your place is empty.”The need to indigenize in settler colonies is perhapslarger than the issue of post—colonialism. The work ofDennis Lee on this subject begins with a very specific andpost—colonial awareness of a lack of “cadence” in Canadianwriting (“Cadence Country Silence”); in his later work,Savage Fields, he expands the problem of “cadence” to dealwith something that has been read as part of “the humancondition” (Blodgett, “Authenticity and Absence: Reflectionson the Prose of Dennis Lee” 114). The issue that links“indigenization” with Lee’s work is that of “dwelling,”which Lee adopts from Heidegger. Heidegger situatesdwelling in direct relation to Being by tracing theetymology from bauen to buan to bin: ich bin, I build, Idwell, I am: “die Weise, nach der wir Menschen auf der Erdesind, ist das Buan, das Wohnen” (141). Thus to accept aprecomprehended Being is to solve the problem of dwelling:“Die eigentliche Not des Wohnens beruht darin, dass dieSterblichen das Wesen des Wohnens immer erst wieder suchen,dass sie das Wohnen erst lernen müssen” (156).3Such avoids appropriation by acknowledging the debtinvolved in writing his novel and by the fact that he doesnot, like Atwood, employ the Beothuk’s story for his ownpolitical ends.71It may be difficult for a non-Native (such as myself) tounderstand the words spoken so often by indigenous peoples,that “we are the land.” I suspect that the attempt tounderstand through conventional European modes of cognitionis precisely part of the problem. Yet to attempt todeconstruct such a claim would be to reinscribe the violencealready perpetrated on them. I must therefore recognizethat their challenge to Western ontology simultaneouslyquestions Jacques Derrida’s erasure of Being. To movedirectly from Being to trace (Spivak in Derrida, QjGrammatology xv) is to forget the possibility that somethingsimilar to “dwelling” may exist outside the westernmetaphysical tradition.4 For now, I can only set thepossibility of indigeneity aside as unrepresentable (Spivak,In Other Worlds 209), even unimaginable as yet, for me, andfocus on dwelling as an issue of/for European immigrants.The problem of dwelling is not limited to post-colonialcultures; however, whether or not it is a “human” issue, orwhether to treat it as such is a universalizing, Eurocentricact, are questions that extend beyond the bounds of thisdissertation. Certainly, for post—colonial cultures,dwelling takes on an immediate, concrete and politicalimportance. And to consider the manner in which it is bound4For a discussion of the appropriation of the non—Westas anti—West by deconstructive critics, see Homi Bhabha, “TheOther Question: difference, discrimination and the discourseof colonialism.”72up in the material forces of imperialist politics,economics and language, and how literatures participate inthose forces, is to render it a post—colonial issue(Ashcroft et al. 29).“Maps and dreams”: cognitive maps and inventive dreams5While the last collage in The Journals of Susanna Moodieis a spatial enactment of the indigenization of a nineteenthcentury colonial, Surfacing is its more contemporarynarrative. My analysis of this text will focus first on themanner in which this novel’s post—colonial, nationalist andfeminist agendas empty the sign of Native spirituality inorder to employ it for their own purposes. I will thenpropose an alternative means of dealing with the problemof dwelling in Surfacing. Métis and First Nations writerssuch as Maria Campbell and Lee Maracle have admonished non—Natives to “find your own roots” (Griffiths and5Maps and Dreams is the title of a study byanthropologist Hugh Brody which illustrates some culturaldifferences in cognitive mapping between First Nations andnon—native peoples, and refers to “dream maps” of aboriginalspiritual space. Lorraine Weir has read the shamanictransformation in Surfacing as “Alcheringa,” the dream—timeof the Australian aboriginal peoples, “the fundamental unityof the ground of being, a unitary system enfolding man andnature, past and present.... (“Atwood in a Landscape” 145).Finding that space-time unmappable, this chapter employs Bohmto invent another.73Campbell 34). If an attempt to follow this advice resultsin the acknowledgment that a contemporary theoreticalstandpoint denies me the practical use of those roots, Imust find another way to deal with the problematic ofdwelling in a post-colonial context. The theoreticalapparatus initiated in the previous chapter provides aparticularly western means of rereading the transformativestrategies of Surfacing: semiotics and quantum physics, aholographic memory dwelling in a holomovement. Westernscience and technology may be used as narratives againstthemselves 6First, Surfacing is undeniably a post-colonial text. Atissue is the impossibility of dwelling on “[h)ome ground,foreign territory” (12). Childhood, Canada and rural lifeare portrayed with a Romantic nostalgia as somehow closer tothe land, in contrast to urban, destructive “American”imperialism. Yet the focus on “America,” regardless of howgeneralized that term becomes (and also precisely because of61n The Postmodern Condition - A Report on Knowledge(trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Manchester:Manchester UP, 1979) 19-23), Jean-Francois Lyotard positsnarrative as an alternative mode of knowledge to science. Headds that in oral societies where narrative dominates, waysof knowing are legitimized as products of actual socialrelations; there is no attempt, as there is in the case ofwestern science, to separate out knowledge as ‘objective’truth. One of the purposes of the present study isto make useof the explicitly narrative mode of knowledge upon which thescience of quantum physicist David Bohm is based (amd whichis closely related to “narrativity” in the semiotics of deLauretis). I will return to this aspect of orality in myfourth chapter.74how generalized it becomes) all but obscures other colonialsituations at work in the text. First, with regard to therelation between francophones and anglophones, theprotagonist’s focus on her own insecurity in the Frenchlanguage and her perception of the scorn of francophoneswhen she tries to speak French in the grocery store (27-28)obscures the material fact that it is she who brings moneyinto the economically depressed town. She also portraysherself as insecure (ironically, financially this time) asshe rationalizes her participation in the translation,appropriation and revision of Québec culture: “it isn’t myterritory but I need the money” (57). Secondly, there isonly one fleeting reference to “the others who used tocome,” those whom the government had “corralled and putsomewhere else” (92). “Fleeting” is the appropriate term;the rhetoric of the text denies these “others” materialexistence by portraying them “condensing as though from air”and then “disappearing.., as though they had never beenthere” (92). Although the protagonist finally realizes“how they must have hated us” (92), she makes noacknowledgement of her own “American”—ness with respect tothese First Nations people. Finally (and I will return tothis aspect), there is Atwood’s much documentedappropriation of native pictographs to facilitate theprotagonist’s vision—quest.75The protagonist’s motivation is that of members of allsettler colonies feeling alienated from the land andexperiencing a separation of language and place (Ashcroft etal. 9; 82). However, with the spiritual transformationmarked by the attainment of the non-rational moment ofdwelling, Atwood, like Lee, attempts to transcend the post-colonial in order to question the boundaries of humanity.English comes to stand for all human languages: imported,foreign (161): “[t]he animals have no need for speech, whytalk when you are a word” (195).According to Atwood, to be post-colonial is to claimpsychic space. She reads literature as a “geography of themind”; the post—colonial engages in an act of map-making(Survival 3). Her reading of thematic patterns as such,however, forms a mimetic model that her fiction ironicallymanages to reject (Weir, “Atwood in a Landscape” 151). Aswith Brossard’s Picture Theory, a semiotic reading of themapping process in Surfacing more fully develops itapolitical potential. To read the memory system at work inthis text as a semiotic process of mapping is to trace afeminist movement from cognitive mapping to invention.However it is also to point to the sign which, makingpossible such an invention, is violently emptied ofsignificance: that sign is found on the only physical maprepresented in the text, that locating the Ojibwapictographs.76If cognitive mapping is “a mapping of visual space onto the substance of the brain’” (Blakemore 17), Surfacingadds the elements of time and memory to this process bysuperimposing maps; the protagonist’s journey north to findher missing father entails the mapping of a changedlandscape over that of memory: “[n]othing is the same, Idon’t know the way anymore” (13). The landscape has becomea memory theatre, a map on which each sign or site (a road,a restaurant, a church, a sugar lump, the dock in front ofher father’s cabin) becomes the repository of a memory imagethat is revealed analeptically. The protagonist’s journeyis thus a memory walk, one that is rendered more and morecomplex as layers of memory and forgetting unfold. Forexample, the first sight of the dock in front of her cabinbrings up the memory of her brother’s drowning, just as manyother sites bring up childhood memories. However, thismemory is followed by the realization that she should not beable to remember it; she was not yet born. Herrationalization in turn points to another site on adifferent level of the memory theatre: “...perhaps I did seeit. I believe that an unborn baby has its eyes open and canlook out through the walls of the mother’s stomach, like afrog in a jar” (34—5). The frog in the jar points to herbrother’s laboratory in which he kept animals in jars, whichin turn is connected to the protagonist’s repressed memoriesof her abortion.77In addition to “natural” workings of the memory by whichsites bring up unbidden memories, a more “artificial” memorytheatre (Yates 19) is put to work in the protagonist’sreading of the landscape. Mnemonics are repeatedly used inorder to find her way: “it’s easy to lose the way if youhaven’t memorized the landmarks” (34); the brother’s secret,coded trail is now almost “illegible” - the memory of thecode is the only means of recognizing it (50, 141, 180).Blazes, beaver lodges, boulders, compost heaps, each is amemorized site, filed for use in orientation.According to Lorraine Weir, the “writing of placessituates them within a rhetorical space, the space ofdiscourse, rendering place textual [...and] assert[ingj thecentrality of reader in text” (144). Weir’s “Atwood in aLandscape” outlines this deception of the memory theatre asthe “assertion of a false centrality” by which “the writingof place divides man from ‘his’ world” (144). She then goeson to point out the manner in which, in Atwood’s “bordercountry,’ this deception becomes obvious” (144).It is precisely the non—coincidence of the memory—mapwith present geography (“Those weren’t here before,” 14;“suddenly there’s a thing that isn’t supposed to bethere,” 17) that brings up repressed memories and begins atransformation of the memory theatre. More specifically,there is only one map whose function the protagonist doesnot understand, for which she has no cognitive equivalent78and therefore which she at first labels “insane11: the maplocating/not locating the pictographs, which is the map thatleads her to enter the memory theatre. In border countryone realizes the non—coincidence between the view of a mapand from within that map (34). Images, places and thememorizer become confused. When the memory theatre becomesholographic, “I” becomes a place (195).Self and place actually begin to conflate earlier, atthe moment in which the different layers of the memorytheatre unfold. Despondent at lacking emotions, at havinghad to memorize them in order to mimic others (another useof mnemotechnics), the protagonist remembers having, as achild, pricked herself with pen—nibs and compasses,“instruments of knowledge” (120) and of mapping. Thismemory leads to that, still repressed, of her abortion:They slipped the needle into the vein and I was fallingdown, it was like diving, sinking from one layer ofdarkness to a deeper, deepest; when I rose up throughthe anaesthetic, pale green and then daylight, I couldremember nothing. (120-21)This memory in turn becomes a site in the memory theatre ofthe text itself, as it is up to the reader to map this imageonto the protagonist’s actual dive in the lake:Pale green, then darkness, layer after layer, deeperthan before ... the water seemed to have thickened, init pinprick lights flickered and darted. (152)am indebted to Lucie Bradacova from my class onCanadian Literature at Simon Fraser University (1992) forpointing out the correlation between these two passages.79In the echoes between these two passages, the map of theworld (the lake) and that of her body/mind coincide. Theprotagonist becomes a place, a memory theatre, and thememories sparked by her dive lead to a realization of whatactually happened to her. In hindsight the text alsobecomes a map not only of the island, but of her past, asmoments in the text, her brother’s drowning, the animals inhis “laboratory,” the fountain in the town, incongruousmetaphors such as “amputation” (46) for divorce, and thereference to the giving up of her baby as having it “slicedaway” (52) become mnemonic sites for the reader.With this moment of integration of human and non—humanalso comes a transformation of the form and function ofcognitive maps, as well as the language of mapping. The maplocating the pictograph is no longer so scientificallyprecise; it has transformed from map to invention, marking“sacred places ... new places, new oracles ... like steppingthrough a usual door and finding yourself in a differentgalaxy, purple trees and red moons and a green sun” (155—6).The names of plants along the trail, which earliersupplanted the plants themselves (“I keep my eyes on theground, names re—appearing...” 53), fade “but their formsand uses remaining, the animals learned what to eat withoutnouns” (160).Borders, fences and walls (including that of logic, 187)are to be rejected, first literally, as the “new rules”80gradually prohibit the protagonist from entering enclosedspaces (194). Then, even rationality is rejected throughthis repeated blurring of the borders between self and otherand self and place; there can no longer be a rational pointof view (181), since both rationality and a point of viewwould require a “self” to be situated in a specific locationin time and space. The protagonist enters a period of“earth-dwelling” (Weir, “Atwood in a Landscape” 150).This spiritual transformation has already beencriticized for the recolonization implicit in its use of theOjibwa pictographs (Godard, “Listening for the Silence” 134;Fee, “Romantic Nationalism” 16; Guédon 91—110). Surfacingis an early example of a vogue of feminist vision questsor shamanic initiations “wherein the Native woman (or man)[or sign] initiates a white woman into various Nativereligious practices through which she attains her creativeand personal “identity” (Godard “The Politics ofRepresentation” 190). In fact, the novel is often citedbriefly as a typical example of this kind of appropriation.However, the easy dismissal of the text by contemporarypost-colonial critics ignores both the complexity and thepowerful political implications of Surfacing.In “Atwood in a Landscape,” an article written beforethe notion of “appropriation” became an issue in Canada,Lorraine Weir remarks upon the profound implications of thetransformative strategy offered by Surfacing (154n)81and produces an elegant reading of that transformation.Entering into a dialogue with Heidegger and Dennis Lee, Weirproduces a feminist reading of the issue of dwelling inearth and world, suggesting that Atwood provides at least apartial solution to the problem of “savage fields” throughaccess to the shamanic tradition (147; 154n). Weir followsthe protagonist of Surfacing to the pictographs, to the“border of revelation, accessible only to those who haveleft world and assented to earth, to the integration of thehuman with the non—human, to an ethic of participationrather than that of domination” (147), and to themateriality of language. Thus Weir, like Blodgett and Lee,generalizes the problem of dwelling to a human issue. Forher the problem becomes the “violence of writing” and ofrepresentation (151). Weir claims that “to be drained ofthe blood of language (the blood which is the bliss of thetext in potentia, the claim of language on the body) is tobe capable of colonization” (149). In opposition to thisseparation of language and body, subject and earth, dwellingis “the sparing and preserving of that which is most deeplyhuman and of earth mediated not by world..., but by the textof flesh, the body’s capacity for earth—dwelling” (150).Today, post—colonialism complicates the previouslygeneralized problem of “dwelling,” Atwood’s feministproposal for a solution to that problem and Weir’selucidation of Atwood. Because if Atwood’s “system is one82whose shamans are women” (Weir 150), and those women arewhite, then they are appropriating that shamanic traditionand reenacting colonial domination.’Even more ironic is the fact that Atwood’s narrator—protagonist requires another sign of mediation betweenherself and the Native sign. When she first encounters thedrawings she cannot make sense of them and thus considersthem to be the acts of an insane (and white) man.Incredibly, it is academic prose that must interpret themfor her, impart meaning to these empty signs. And thatprose is written by a person whose gender is left ambiguousbut who speaks the masculine voice of reason (110-11).Rather than the spiritual information passing “from onewoman to another” (Weir 151), the rituals of fasting and ofleaving clothing as an offering (155) are suggested to theprotagonist by that prose, further emptying those Nativesigns.My goal then, in rereading this text, is to bringtogether the readings of Weir, Godard, and others, that is,to ally feminism with post-colonialism in Atwood’s text.use the term “appropriation” both deliberately andhesitantly: under erasure. In this dissertation, the word isinaccurate to the extent that it presupposes the concepts ofproperty, propriety and authenticity, which are part of anidentity politics (and which Derrida critiques in “Des Toursde Babel”). However “appropriation” is also a necessaryconcept to recognize the enormous imbalance of power, ofhistorical and physical conditions of production and of accessto publishing and to goods between, for example, an authorsuch as Margaret Atwood and Native artists.83Agreeing with Weir that Surfacing merits more attention incontemporary post—colonial criticism than a brief citationas a typical example of white western feministappropriations of Native culture, I propose another readingof the text, one that attempts to work parallel to Nativeecological politics by developing the text’s anti-humanistimplications. This would acknowledge the importance ofAtwood’s conflation of feminist and ecological concerns withNative spirituality. My intention here is to expand uponAtwood’s extremely innovative and effective politicalstrategies by “post-colonializing” them. In this, while Icannot make amends for Surfacing ‘s colonialist ideology, Ican acknowledge a debt to the Native ideologies by refusingto perpetuate their appropriation. Thus I now turn myattention away from the appropriation of Native signs and,detouring back into my own culture, focus on the map onwhich they are found.Dwelling” in a holographic memory theatreIt is that map and the process of mapping that itsignifies, even more than the pictographs which itsupposedly locates, that marks the transformation of theprotagonist. The map is at once nonsense and science;geometrically precise and vaguely spiritual; referential and84symbolic. It transforms science into narrative:science/f iction’. Both the map and the drawings aredestroyed (190), but the process of mapping remainsinscribed in memory. And the different translations of thesignificance of the map signal the transformations incognitive mapping undergone by the protagonist. The map isthe door (156) through which she steps into and becomes herown memory theatre.It is at the moment when the map ceases to function“properly,” that is, when it ceases to be locational (155)and begins to invent, that the two cognitive maps, thatinscribed in memory and that in process, begin to coincide.It is as if one, superimposed on the other, were slightlyskewed so that the lines did not match. The “vision’1 linesthem up. After this moment, ironically when the map and thedrawings finally make sense (155), the protagonist enters aperiod of “non—sense,” which her companions call insanity;Guédon calls it “a moment of coherence” (110) and Weir,“earth—dwelling.” But what exactly does that period entail?‘Purple trees (156) notwithstanding, this may beconsidered another conflation of Lyotard’s distinction betweenscientific and narrative modes of knowledge (see n6 above).‘°The moment at which the protagonist states that the mapfinally makes sense (155) is that which makes the least senseto the reader. Thus the reader, as well as the protagonist,must acknowledge the deception of he/r centrality (Weir 144).Here, as in Brossard’s Picture Theory, invention ischaracterized by a strategy that moves from sense to a nonsense that must be “entered” before it finally begins to makea different kind of sense.85Self and place conflate. Yet a closer reading of theexamples of precisely how they do so enacts anothertransformation, that of the notion of “earth—dwelling.”In fact, transformation is the key, as everything keepschanging into something else. With abolition of thedistinction between self, world and map; the protagonist hasbecome a part of her own memory theatre, and that theatre isholographic; she has entered into the holomovement.As discussed in the first chapter (43-55), the notion ofa holomovement is central to the theory of quantum physicistDavid Bohm, a theory that deals with Werner Heisenberg’suncertainty principle in a brilliant, if controversial,manner. Bohm claims that just as on the sub—atomic levelparticles are actually waves that only manifest themselvesas particles when we look at them, our perception of realityis also conditioned by our atomistic outlook. Perception isalways already an abstraction. The accepted theories ofquantum mechanics cannot deal with process, only with“freeze frames” of matter. Bohm attempts to deal withprocess, and thus with the inplications of space-time, bypostulating an “implicate order” that like a hologram isformed of patterns of waveform interference fringes: swirls,whorls and vortices, like whirlpools in a river. “Things,”which Bohm refers to as “relatively autonomoussubtotalities,” are abstractions; they appear to havesubstance in the “explicit” order but that substance is86illusory or at best temporary. The implicate order alsoenfolds time so that the past is not irrevocably gone,merely enfolded so that it is not immediately visible.I must stress that in applying Bohm’s theory to thistext I am not making a claim to another universality ortruth, that of science. Nor am I attempting to produce adifferent, more scientific and thus even more generalizingdiscussion of the issue of “dwelling” as part of the humancondition. One of the most important aspects of Bohm’stheory is the fact that it profoundly questions scientificknowledge as truth, or even as “descriptions of the world asit is” (Bohm 7). It is a very provisional sort of “mapping”that also questions the nature of mapping. Thus itcounteracts the empiricist and imperialist tendencies ofwestern science. In this instance I am simply using it as astrategy for rereading Surfacing.With the holomovement in mind, consider the followingmoments in Atwood’s novel:Surfacing exposes perception as deception— “if ourbodies lived in the earth with only the hair sproutingup though the leafmould [like mushrooms) it would seemas if that was all we were...” (160).This realization leads the narrator to reason that thepurpose of coffins is to stop the dead from spreading87and changing into something else (160). Her parents,especially her father whose body has not been found,have gone back to the earth, air and water (202).Her father has been transformed from a surveyor imposinggeometry on the land (200)” to an enfolded “presence”that “wants it ended, the borders abolished, he wantsthe forest to flow back into the places his mindcleared: reparation” (201).The protagonist’s body becomes place as both thepalm of her hand and her brain become networks oftrails (140; 170) and she claims: “I am part of thelandscape, I could be anything, a tree, a deer skeleton,a rock” (201).Conversely, place becomes body: “everything is waitingto become alive” (170); the sunset “pal[es) to fleshwebs, membrane” (171); worms become the veins of theearth (193); and the protagonist hears “breathing,withheld, observant, not in the house but all around“Geometry, the basis of mapmaking, is what theprotagonist has to eliminate: “the circles and arrogant squarepages” (190). Ironically she can only “X” out the samsonitecase — imposing a geometrical and rhetorical figure on it andalso providing me with an introduction to this chapter. Wouldit be possible to offer another reading of this text - of the“chaos” of the transformation and its mapping on the basis offractal, rather than Euclidean, geometry?88it” (187). As she remarks that decaying trees givebirth to flowers, she notices that her “body alsochanges, the creature in [her], plant—animal, sends outfilaments in [her]... [she] multipl[iesj (180).She and her canoe become two beings, hiding together,referred to as “we,” “the two of us... boat and arms onemovement, amphabian [sic]” (179). And a frog, in itsrole in evolutionary history, and perhaps also in a moreradical way, “includes” her (193).Jays swoop through the trees, “the air forming itselfinto birds” (196).Boulders — once reliable memory sites leading to the“laboratory” (179) - “float, melt, everything is made ofwater, even the rocks” (195). Later those boulders“have pulled themselves back into the earth (199).The abolition of borders leads not only from “things” to“relatively autonomous subtotalities,” but also tononlocality; the map which specifically located adrawing of an antlered figure on White Birch Lake (113)suddenly marks generally sacred places, even on anotherplanet (156).89Perception is deceiving. Humans, trees, rocks, the airitself, spread and transform into something else.’2 Theprotagonist’s parents have each been “enfolded” into theirsurroundings, to reappear for a moment in a different formand disappear again. The forest flows; it is as ifeverything is made of water: floating and melting. The timespan of the evolution of humanity is enfolded in the spacebetween the protagonist lying on the grass and the frog that“includes” her. It includes her as well because it is her;they are both part of the holomovement.Finally, how can a map be one—dimensional, otherthan as the representation of a waveform?: “unscrolling,one—dimensional map thickening into stone and wood aroundus” (118). Consider the ubiquitous motif of lines andfilaments — one—dimensional waves — as hair becomes“filaments plants” growing out of the earth (160); theprotagonist’s palm becomes a network of trails (170);filaments, trails in her brain reconnect and branch (140);the sunset is a web of lines (171); and her fetus sends outfilaments within her (180). These filaments point to thewaves of the implicate order, as well as to the holographicfunctioning of the brain, a hologram enfolded in a hologram,‘21n her Feminine Fictions: Revisiting the Postmodern,Patricia Waugh notes a similar, although less developed andless positive, merging of women’s bodies and theirenvironments in The Edible Woman and Lady Oracle (179-89).90as nerves branch and synapses fire, creating electromagneticwave interference (Goleman 72).Surfacina enters the holomovement on a linguistic levelas well. In order to counter the fragmenting effect ofWestern languages that separate and subordinate subject andobject, David Bohm has created a language based on verbs,which he refers to as the “rheomode”: a language that,rather than reflecting reality, participates in it.“In one of the languages there are no nouns, just verbsheld for a longer moment” (Surfacing 195). Like Bohm,Atwood explores the alternatives to a “language [that)divides us into fragments” (157). Wanting to be whole (157),but convinced that “a language is everything you do” (139),the protagonist at first looks to animals for a way outof the fragmentation of language: “the animals learned whatto eat without nouns” (160); “animals have no speech, whytalk when you are a word” (194). This leads to an assertionof the materiality of language (Weir, “Atwood in aLandscape” 149-150); the protagonist must immerse herself inthe other language, an act which is fatal if one remainshuman (170), because it denies a separation between humanand non—human. The materiality of language leads toexperimentation with language, and a recognition ofsubstance as process:• I lean on a tree, I am a tree leaningI am not an animal or a tree, I am the thing in whichthe trees and animals move and grow, I am a place (195).91And yet the protagonist cannot reject language, and finallyreturns to the “human” world of discourse. In this,according to anthropologist Marie-Françoise Guédon, shefinally rejects full integration with earth (l07—l09).’However, to read Surfacing holographically is to permitthe integration of human and non—human to outlast theprotagonist’s sojourn in earth, (and, as I will argue, theconclusion of the novel). Having realized that she cannotremain in the animal world, and even as she re—enters theworld of “civilisation,” the protagonist points in thedirection of a more radical Bohmian kind of dwelling.Language as “word furrows, ... untravelled paths” (205) inthe proto—brain of the fetus within her conflates word,forest, flesh and wave patterns. The implicate order ofholomovement, which this reading proposes as an alternativeto the shamanic tradition, may be heard clearly in the“waves talking against the shore, multilingual water” (192).‘3Guédon’s article points to possibilities for furtherresearch on affinities between the holomovement and Nativeepistemologies: “For the North American Indian culturesnature is at once part of the human mind and a personalizedfraction of the universe.... Nature .. is a manner of seeing”(101-102). She writes that in Ojibwa-Cree culture, animals,plants, rock and water, “everyone — human and non—human —interacts with everyone else,” a process that can be perceivedonly in a “moment of coherence” (109) because Man [sic] doesnot have ready access to all of reality. Bohm may yet providea way to read such a cosmology without appropriating it.92“At the last judgement we will all be trees”As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, to readSurfacing through a holographic memory system is to expandthat memory beyond the covers of that novel. Atwood’s ThJournals of Susanna Moodie begins with a picture of thenarrator in the act of cutting out her eyes so that “wheremy eyes were, / every— / thing appears” (7). Her loss isonly that of conventional sight (25). A form of perceptionthat requires separation from the perceived is replaced by“everything,” a union between self and environment. Theholomovement, like “moving water[,] will not show me / myreflection” (11). And when Moodie finally looks in amirror, she sees herself transforming into a tree and adds,in an elegant repetition of Bohm’s critique of “objective”perception,(you find onlythe shape that you already arebut what if you. have forgotten thator discover youhave never known.) (25)That possibility is the impetus for Surfacing, and the imageof Moodie becoming a tree is the precursor of thetransformation in Surfacing. That transformation alsoincludes a rejection of mirrors (because “reflectionintrudesJ between my eyes and vision,” 188) and yet,because the protagonist finally decides to rejoin“humanity,” the novel concludes with another mirror image93that carries only the memory of a tree, in the leaves andtwigs tangled in the protagonist’s hair (205).Yet that memory, and Atwood’s holographic memory system,are not forgotten. Almost twenty years are enfolded in thespace between Surfacing and the short story collection,Wilderness Tips. The story “Death by Landscape” rewritesthe transformation that began in Journals of Susanna Moodieand was finally rejected in Surfacing. This time thattransformation is accomplished without resorting torecolonization: “Death by Landscape” acknowledges that totake a Native name or impersonate a Native person orspiritual rite is “a form of stealing” (110). And then thisstory takes the transformative moment one step further intothe holomovement. Paintings of The Group of Seven remindthe protagonist of the presumed death of a childhood friendin the woods. The protagonist reflects upon the whereaboutsof her friend’s body: “because she is nowhere definite, shecould be anywhere” (121) and suspects that her friend, likeSusanna Moodie, has become a tree. And yet “the treesthemselves are hardly trees; they are currents of energy,charged with violent colour” (121).94and those who have become the stonevoices of the landshift also and sayat the lastjudgement we will all be trees(Atwood, Journals 59)95CHAPTER 3Looking for livingstone in Marlene Nourbese Philip’sLooking for LivingstoneFor Africans in the Caribbean and the Americas,be/longing anywhere is problematic. The only peoples whobe(truly)long here — who be long here — ... are theNative peoples. ... {T]he African did not choose tocome, but was forced to come as a consequence of one ofthe most cruel enterprises in history, the transAtlantic trade in Africans.... Five hundred years!Africans be long here now. Sometimes it appears we betoo long here, but there is nowhere else to go.(Nourbese Philip, Frontiers 22-3)With my maps, my body and my silence, I followedLivingstone.”(Nourbese Philip, Livingstone 16)Livingstone: “the boulders float, melt, everything ismade of water” (Atwood, surfacing 195). The transformativemoment in Surfacing marks a change in perception; what wasonce perceived as static, inorganic, and thus a reliablereference point on a cognitive map suddenly becomes a“relatively autonomous subtotality,” a moment in theholomovement that can at any other moment become re—enfoldedout of perception. Marlene Nourbese Philip traces that samemovement in the opposite direction, responding that “Stonemourns / haunted / into shape and form / by its loss...”96(“Testimony Stoops to Mother Tongue,” She Tries HerTongue 78). For Nourbese Philip, as for David Bohm, it is“the word” that haunts stone into the static form of its ownshrine (“Testimony” 79).’ And because she is dealing withlanguage in a specific racist and post—colonial context,that of the kidnapping and exportation of Africans intoslavery, she adds that it is “the word [that] kinks hair /flattens noses / thickens lips / designs prognathous jaws /shrinks the brain” (78), and turns tongue to stone (80). InLooking for Livingstone, the proper noun “Livingstone” comesto represent “the word” which perpetrates a double violence.Language as representation renders stone its own shrine andLivingstone’s “discovery” of Africa was the imposition ofthe European word upon that place and its peoples, renderingtongue stone. And yet if this word is read as a commonnoun, it promises another transformation, one not unlikethat in Atwood’s Surfacing, in which tongue turned to stonetransforms itself again into livingstone.“Tongue turned to stone” conveys the impossibility of“dwelling” in language. According to Nourbese Philip, theAfrican in the New World has been forced into a specificallyproblematic position with regard to language. In the‘Susan Knutson points out that Brossard also employs amotif of women turned to stone (immobilized) by a masculinistepistemology (Knutson 153), of memory enfolded in stone (260)and finally, I would add, of livingstone: “ii y a la pierreparlante ... la pierre utopique (Brossard, Picture Theory 88).97introductory essay to her poetry collection She Tries HerTongue, she explains her semiotic theory of art, which isbased on the “i—mage.” Like “be/longing,” “i—mage”incorporates the Caribbean demotic; it also privileges the“I,” claiming subject-hood for peoples with a history ofbeing excluded from it. For Nourbese Philip, the word isthe tangible presentation of the i—mage and poetic inventionis formed by the tension between the two: i-mage to word,word to further i-mage, etc. (14). However, African—Caribbean people were denied their own language: they weresilenced and so lost “the capacity to create in [their] owni—mage” (15), to represent themselves. To logologize2 anotherwise theological choice of words, in semiotic termstheir capacity for the invention of new habits was blocked.They could no longer produce new identifications; they couldnot change. Their only choice was to adopt Europeanlanguages and thus ironically,when the word/i-mage equation was attempted again, thisprocess would take place through a language that was notonly experientially foreign, but also etymologicallyhostile and expressive of the non—being of the African.To speak another language is to enter anotherconsciousness. Africans in the New World were compelledto enter another consciousness, that of their masters,while simultaneously being excluded from their own.The paradox at the heart of the acquisition of thislanguage is that the African learned both to speak andto be dumb at the same time, to give voice to theexperience and i—mage, yet remain silent... (15—16):20n logology, see Kenneth Burke’s introduction to ThRhetoric of Religion.98to speak with a stone tongue.Nourbese Philip argues that the New World African artistmust create in he/r own i—mage, and name that i—mage which“will eventually heal the word wounded by the dislocationand imbalance of the word—i—mage equation —— make thelanguage our own” (21). Looking For Livingstone is herattempt at healing that wound. It is a quest novel with adouble quest, a memory walk that conflates “the darkcontinent” of Africa with a self, that of The Traveller(narrator/protagonist): “I will open the way into theinterior or perish” (7). Armed only with “primitive” (7)and often incomprehensible maps, she searches forLivingstone, visiting the many peoples who have beensilenced by European colonization, the ancestors to whom thenovel is dedicated. Looking for Livingstone explores thedifferent silences of African peoples, imposed andstrategic, and weaves them together into the Silence of thenarrator. “Silence” is an ambiguous term that attempts totranscend the opposition between word and silence and offeran alternative to the political strategies of each. As thecapital letter signals, Silence is also a transcendent term;it is a form of belonging, of dwelling. Silence alsofunctions as a proper noun - it is the only thing that is“proper” to The Traveller, that which Livingstone couldneither impose nor appropriate (65). As such it is apowerful recuperative strategy. Like Brossard’s utopia and99Atwood’s shamanic transformation, Nourbese Philip’spolitical program incorporates a constructivist theory oflanguage, but finds a solution in an ontotheologicalposition.However, to read Livingstone (and “Livingstone”)improperly, that is, through a holographic memory in whichthe opposition between organic and inorganic (living andstone) is less evident, is to perceive another alternativeto that Silence. Such a reading counteracts thetranscendence of Silence and provides an alternativepolitical strategy for Looking for Livingstone.To read Livingstone as livingstone is to read this novelas a memory system based on Jacques Derrida’s mémoireradicale, a memory that is future-oriented, in which theproper noun is inseparable both from its semantic equivalentand from memory, and in which memory is a form of mourningthat incorporates the trope of prosopopeia.3 Derrida’s workon memory has as yet been more or less “enfolded” into thisdiscussion of holography, cognitive mapping andholomovement. Looking for Livingstone permits a Derrideanmemory to “unfold” into this theory, and a Derrideandeconstruction of Silence leads to livingstone.3Barbara Godard’s article, “En mémoire de l’avenir: lesstrategies de transformation dans la narration de JovetteMarchessault” makes use of a Derridean memory system that,although it is not holographic, functions in a manner verysimilar to that which I develop here.100In search of SilenceLike the transformative memory systems of de Lauretis,Brossard and Atwood, Looking for Livingstone begins with areconsideration of the process of cognitive mapping. Thenarrator/protagonist sets out on her quest carrying acollection of maps and a mirror. Maps and self—representation: “I will open a way to the interior orperish” (7). However, it is interesting to note that thatmirror plays no further role in the novel; after this briefappearance on the first page, it is immediately forgotten.it i as if the narrative itself belies this insistence onthe issue of self—representation. As self and environmentconflate, there is no more need for representation and themirror is discarded. The maps, the word, Livingstone,Africa and the protagonist cannot be definitively separated:they are livingstone.The novel takes the form of the travel diary of theprotagonist, who is referred to only as The Traveller, andthis only in the concluding “author’s note” (which deploysthe convention of a “found” diary). This unnamed Travellerjourneys through an Africa in which time and space areradically altered. There is no attempt at realism in this“imaginary,” circular space-time. The first entry of theTraveller’s diary is dated “the first and last day” of “thefirst and last month” of “the first year of our word” (7).101Through substitution, “word” is introduced here as a God—term (Burke 2), a transcendental signified which will beforced to function against itself as the novel takes up thatword again in order to condemn its imposition. Althoughthere is some chronological progression, the journal jumpsback and forth in time (by billions of years), and onlyrarely provides translations into “real” time. It is alsodifficult to ascertain how the maps work4 — even TheTraveller finds them to be of little use (10, 15) - as thejourney takes a circular (10) and repetitive path and TheTraveller encounters different peoples, each named,anagrammatically, SILENCE.“With my maps, my body, and my silence, I followedLivingstone” (16) in search of Silence: “I re / cognize it /in its belonging / know it again” (9). Because a silencethat is imposed is experienced as a prison sentence, thenarrator claims that it can be parsed: (59) “I am interestedin the possible independence of Silence - independent of4These maps, like the mirror, lose their effectiveness asself conflates with environment. This could be the message ofthe elderly woman who gives The Traveller a map and thenpoints to her chest (15-16). In order to “open a way into theinterior” (7) without repeating the conventional use of a mapas a tool of domination and colonization, The Traveller mustinteriorize it — as a cognitive map? For a discussion of othermapping strategies employed by subaltern peoples forresistance purposes, see Graham Huggan’s doctoral dissertationon “Maps and Mapping Strategies in Contemporary Canadian andAustralian Fiction.”102word. Is there a philosophy, a history, an epistemology ofSilence — or is it merely an absence of word”? (71)Her attempts to parse that silence begin with anexploration of the different forms of the word/silenceopposition; sometimes she maintains it, sometimes collapsesit, and finally deconstructs it. This inquiry into silencetakes place on two different levels. The novel is a mixtureof prose and poetry, the former producing the narrative andthe latter commenting on it. The narrative recounts thetravels of the protagonist and her encounters with thesilences of the different peoples she meets. She learns oftheir origin myths, which include a battle for the primacyof silence and word (11—12); elsewhere, the opposition isstereotyped as male/female (25). However, gradually theword is abandoned as The Traveller also learns that there isa language of silence; she undergoes a transformation notunlike that of Atwood’s protagonist, in which sheexperiences silence as the language of the body, and of theland (35—7). She is forced to undergo several rituals ofsilence: first she must escape a circle of silence (36—8),then she undergoes a sweat lodge ritual (42-3), and finallyis locked in a room full of wool and told to “piece togetherthe words of (my) silence” (50) — a parsing of sorts. It isthis process which finally rejects an opposition betweenword and silence and weaves them together:using what we all have, word and silence — neither wordalone, nor silence alone, but word and silence — weave,103patch, sew together and remember it is your silence —all yours, untouched and uncorrupted. The word does notbelong to you— it was owned and whored by others long,long before you set out on your travels ... but to useyour silence you have to use the word ... you need theword ... to weave your silence. (52)It is also during this process that she becomes aware ofanother primary or originary Silence: “there were twoseparate strands or threads — word and silence — each asimportant as the other. To weave anything I first had tomake the separation, and before I could do that, I needed tofind my own Silence” (54).silence is a physical state imposed by Europeanlanguages, that which was stolen, “haunted into shape andform,” and reified in museums (57). In contrast, Silence isontological, ontotheological, precomprehended, as theepigram suggests: “Silence is. / Always” (5). The discoveryof her own Silence renders silence material, allows theTraveller to explore its colors (55), and when she entersthe Museum of Silence which displays all the stolen silencesof the peoples of Africa, she experiences their silences astangible as well: “a structure, an edifice I could walkaround, touch, feel, lick even” (57). The museum becomesfor her a memory theatre, reminding her of the silence ofeach of the peoples she has visited.When she finally confronts Livingstone, the silencebetween words becomes clearly evident (60). Livingstone isindispensable to The Traveller, because in “discovering” her104silence, in “bringing it out for all to see” (63), he forcedher to “set out to find her interior, the source of hersilence, which was he perhaps” (63). Yet what she finds isnot only her silence but also her Silence. Livingstone isthe source of African silence, but also, ironically, thesource of the Traveller’s Silence. Through a process ofrepetition and displacement, repeating and displacing thephrase: “I will open the way into the interior or perish’”(7), The Traveller replaces silence with Silence. It isthrough another repetition and displacement, one that I willsoon trace in more detail, that this Silence reveals itselfas Livingstone once again -in that it replaces the Word asan ontotheological concept. However, to repeat and displaceSilence one more time is to reach livingstone.It is thus through Livingstone that The Travellerreaches towards livingstone. This is signalled in thenarrative as she does not call him Livingstone, but rather“Livingstone-I-presume” (62) which signals all that hepresumed: although Livingstone was said to have made “thegreatest triumph in geographical research” (32), Stanleypoints out that all of his maps were unreliable; hisresearch was dependent on the knowledge of nativeguides (32). More importantly, “Livingstone-I-presume”signals the presumption of all acts of naming: perception ispresumption. It is Livingstone who stresses the stoniness,the thing-ness of things by his inability to comprehend how105one can discover silence: “it’s not a thing like a river,or a waterfall or a country,” he claims (69). TheTraveller responds by explaining how language transformsthose rivers, waterfalls, countries and silence intoobjects: “[y]ou captured and seized the Silence you found —possessed it like the true discoverer you were — dissectedand analyzed it; labelled it” (69-70).From Silence to livingstoneLa force dislocatrice de la déconstruction se trouvanttoujours déjà localisée dans l’architecture de l’oeuvre,il n’y aurait en somiue, devant ce toujours déjà, qu’afaire oeuvre de mémoire pour savoir déconstruire.... Lestextes se déconstruisent d’eux-mêmes, il suffit de se lerappeler ou de se les rappeler.”(Derrida, Mémoires pour Paul de Man 83, 123)In counterpoint to this relatively straightforward questnarrative of The Traveller’s search for Livingstone and herSilence, the poetry sections circle back, at each appearancecommenting on or questioning the claims of the narrative.For example, if the narrative sets up an opposition betweenword and silence, a poem will question the “either/or” ofthat opposition (13). The poetry thus functions as a kindof memory, une mémoire pensante (Derrida, Mémoires 54):memory as thought, active, bringing itself to bear on theassumptions of the narrative. This memory also reaches106further back than the narrative; as the narrative attemptsto map the silence of African peoples, the poetic sectionsattempt to map silence before the “fall” into knowledge,into language. It is also a future—oriented memory,reaching further forward in the narrative, to Silence,before the narrative actually gets there; and this memorydeconstructs that Silence, reaching beyond the narrativeitself towards livingstone. The poetic sections circleahead and back in the narrative, forming a memory that issimultaneously past and future-oriented, as well as spatialin that it is at work simultaneously throughout the entiretext: nonlocal, this memory functions in space—time.The origins of language and of the universe, the bigbang, conflate in the image of a stone dropped in water,causing widening circles (17—18). The image reverberates,including not only the big bang, but also the directions ofThe Traveller’s voyage and the contour lines of a map (18).The poems, interspersed throughout the narrative, also actas stones dropped, their imagery causing widening circlesthat comment on, complement or condense the narrative.“[Tjhe silence of / stone / dropped” (18) causes furtherwidening of the circles: The Traveller eventually learns thelanguage of silence (35) which enables her to hear thesilence of stone dropped, of livingstone.There are, however, things that she still cannotperceive, as she remarks to Livingstone that female107elephants call males at a frequency so low that humanscannot hear it (73). What else is happening that humans donot perceive?“{T]he boulders float, melt, everything is made ofwater” (Atwood, Surfacing 195). Stone and water, stone thatmelts into water, changing into something else: “the silenceof stone dropped” combines with the circles of influence ofstone, “haunted into shape and form” to enter Bohiu’sholoiuovement: the widening circles, the vortices, the wavesthemselves silent because unperceived. When The Travellerfinally meets Livingstone she points out to him that a“fact” is “whatever anyone, having the power to enforce it,says is a fact. Fact — Livingstone discovered VictoriaFalls. ... [Tjhat is a lie, and a fact” (67). With therecognition of the possibility of livingstone, facts, likemelting boulders and livingstone, are no longer hard andimmutable.The poetic exploration of origins leads to themathematics and physics necessary to compute the equationsof silence, which “explode / atomic and subatomic / particleand wave / of silence” and “rests / in the ‘is like’ ofsimile / defies the is in silence of star / planet / galaxy(22—3). Quantum physics and cosmology conflate and, asDavid Bohm contends, the language of physics is also at aloss in its attempt to describe reality; essentiallyallegorical, it can only represent what it “is like.” Yet108although livingstone is out of the reach of language, that“is like” is an extremely powerful means of control,producing atomic bombs, gulags and bantustans.However, that power is slightly weakened when it isexposed as a means of control rather than a description ofreality, because at least there is the possibility ofresistance to that power through different constructions ofreality. The possibility of livingstone offers a strategyother than control. Like the protagonist in Surfacing, TheTraveller must finally reject the imposition of Euclideangeometry on a chaotic reality. When she is faced with acircle drawn in the dirt, the string with which she attemptsto measure the diameter and circumference turns into a snakeand then an umbilical cord. “[S]tring corde raide”(Brossard, Picture Theory (191): linear measurements nolonger apply; a new method of mapping is required.5 Shebecomes trapped inside the circle, inside her ownmeasurements, until a “thought came to [her], it wasn’t evena thought - an impulse perhaps - unbidden...” (36):Brossard’s subliminal thought—hologram or Bohm’s perception:a flash of understanding, a synapse firing, a waveform:“surrender within” (36). The conflation of consciousness5Pi is permitted in the measurement of this circle,possibly because it is an element of fractal geometry. Chaostheory might be brought to bear on this text as well asAtwood’s. For an example of literary applications of chaostheory, see Katherine Hayle’s Chaos Bound.109with a holographic epistemology results:— a universe of silencewithinbodycellatomwithinIt is by “surrendering within” to this conflation thatThe Traveller discovers aSilencethat mocks the again in knowthe word discoversWordmirroredin Silencetrappedin the beginning wasnotwordbut Silenceand a future rampantwith possibilityand Word. (39-40)Silence is primary; however, it mocks its re—cognition assuch because cognition takes place in words, which becomeWord reflecting only itself - the Same. Nourbese Philipdeconstructs the opposition of word/silence in assertingthat Silence came first but can be known only in word: tosay that in the beginning was Silence is to affirm anontotheological principle: Word.This affirmation is repeated in the claim thatwhile words can only describe the “is like,” silence is,being that which words cannot reach: “words / in the effort110of silence / the off limits of the imagination / reachingto force pattern on eye / texture and form / (ofsilence)” (22—3). To reach silence and through it Silencecan only reaffirm word: “...Silence is. / Always” (5) =Silence Being Always = stone. Yet that attempt, thereaching movement, is what promises livingstone, not beforeits haunting into shape and form but somehow through thathaunting. livingstone is not word, because word renderslivingstone stone. Nor is it silence because silence istongue turned to stone. Nor is it Silence, because ifSilence “is / always” then it, too, is stone. livingstoneis not, because a stone that melts, a “relatively autonomoussubtotality,” never is for long. livingstone, a tongue notturned to stone which is nevertheless not confined by words,is an alternative to Silence.From Livingstone to livingstoneTo move from Livingstone through Silence to livingstoneis an act of memory directed at the future: the memory of animposed silence leads to Silence which is both the memory ofpast injustices and a future—oriented strategy ofrecuperation of what came before those injustices. Toremind the text of its deconstruction of that Silence is topush the text even further (or perhaps in another non—linear111temporal direction) - to read not only what it says, butalso what it promises. And to read Livingstone aslivingstone is to remember tongue turned to stone, and thepossibility of loosening that tongue.And yet to read Livingstone as a common noun is notmerely to “apply” a Derridean technique to the text. Infact, Looking for Livingstone points towards the limits ofDerrida’s work on proper and common names. Derrida traces atranslation between proper and common nouns, claiming that aproper noun only inscribes itself into a language bybecoming improper, contaminated by its semantic equivalent(“Babel” 2l6). His well—known plays on antonomasia dependfirst on this separation. However, it is possible (althoughto prove it would be far beyond the scope of thisdissertation) that indigenous languages explode his firstpremise, because, as The Traveller points out, the tiebetween indigenous names and their semantic equivalents ismuch closer and clearer than in European languages.7 WhatLivingstone named Victoria Falls was “Mosioatunya,” thesmoke that thunders. Such a name is the semantic61t is an ironic coincidence that Derrida employs as anexample the name “Pierre,” noting that “Pierre” is not “Peter”which is also not “stone” (“Babel” 216).7For an extremely interesting study of the complexsignificance of place names in one indigenous culture, seeJulie Cruikshank, “Getting the Words Right: Perspectives onNaming and Places in Athapaskan Oral History.”112description of that which it names. Thus this reading oflivingstone in Livingstone is already promised by the text.livingstone is memory at work. It is tongue turhed tostone and back again, carrying the memory of stone, ofLivingstone, and employing memory to move beyond it. Thus,like any proper noun, it extends beyond the person to whomit refers. It retains the function of a proper noun whichis “d’avance <<en méinoire de>>. Nous ne pouvons separer lenom de <<mémoire>> et la <<mémoire>> du nom, nous ne pouvonsséparer le nom et la mémoire (Derrida, Méiuoires 63).“Livingstone” functions in memory of Livingstone, as doesLooking for Livingstone, because, as The Traveller notes,Livingstone is the source of her silence. As Derrida hasrepeatedly noted, the name becomes its own shrine (Mémoires47, La Vérité en peinture 205; Signéponge 57). For NourbesePhilip, this shrine signifies the refusal to forget...the history of empire... that produced Canada andhoned the beliefs and practices of white supremacy....[Tjo forget that what we now appear to share —education, religion, dress, legal institutions — arereally tombstones erected on the graves of Africancustoms, culture and languages, is simply to collude inour own erasure, our own obliteration.(Frontiers 19)To remember in one’s be/longing here is to render thosetombstones livingstone, to “haunt the absence” of Africanculture, and to mourn it “into shape and form” (She TriesHer Tongue 80).113Written in memory of Livingstone, this is in part a textof mourning, mourning the loss inflicted by Livingstone, theloss that turned tongue to stone. Memory as mourning andmourning of memory (Derrida, Mémoires 50). Memory is themourning of tongue turned to stone, and mourning of memory —for Derrida this is in part the mourning of the limits ofmemory - is mourning the impossibility of theinteriorization of the other in memory, of the impossibilityof mourning, of intersubjectivity. Here again, perhapsNourbese Philip indicates the limits of Derrida’s memory.She circumvents this limit in that her memory is non—localand collective. It forms alliances with other displaced anddisenfranchised indigenous, peoples:Some events ... help to stimulate the memory, therevolution taking place in South Africa being just suchan event. I can but only imagine the life of the blackSouth African in Soweto or Cross Roads, but I remember;I remember what I do not know and have never lived,whenever I read of the death of yet another Black inSouth Africa; and when I witness the obscene contortionsof the white Western powers over the imposition ofsanctions and their fundamental refusal to act in anymeaningful way, I remember; I remember that the slavetrade only came to an end when it was no longereconomically feasible for the slave—owning, slave—trading nations...(Frontiers 57)Aside from being collective, this memory refuses to belocalized in the brain. It is with her bodily silence, thesilent memory of her body, that The Traveller followsLivingstone (16). Elsewhere, Nourbese Philip refers to her“body intelligence,” arguing that racism is a gut issue and114refusing to forget that “it was for our bodies that we wereoriginally brought to this brave new world” (Frontiers 212).Like Brossard’s memory (and yet in a profoundly differentmanner) Nourbese Philip’s memory is inscribed on the skin —“screen skin” — it is the color of her skin which preventsher from be/longing in Canada (Frontiers 185).And yet this corporeal memory is also livingstone, a“relatively autonomous subtotality,” a phantom body. TheTraveller also sees herself “as a shadow, a dark ghost — amemory almost - haunting you [Livingstone) in your sleeplessnights down through the ages - refusing to let you rest inthe silence of your lies” (73). This memory once againalters linear notions of time, since to be in Livingstone’smemory, The Traveller must both follow and precede him.This haunting memory also embodies the central rhetoricalfigure of this text, that of prosopopeia, the trope by whichan absent or deceased entity is addressed and made to speak.To look for Livingstone, to find Livingstone, to address himand make him speak is to engage the figure of prosopopeia.To haunt him is to turn that trope upon itself.Prosopopeia is arguably also the central figure ofDerrida’s most sustained work on memory, Mémoires pour Paulde Man. This work includes a reading of de Man’s“Autobiography as De—faceiuent” which claims thatprosopopeia is the central metaphor of autobiography. Tothe extent that The Traveller seeks her interior through the115writing of a diary, this text is autobiographical. AndLivingstone is the voice-from-beyond-the-grave (de Man 77)that is made to speak; Livingstone becomes the “speakingstone” (de Man 75), speaking from his own tomb—stone(de Man 77). Yet how can this be when Livingstone is tongueturned to stone? Livingstone can only speak if it becomeslivingstone. As de Man traces the movement from mouth toface, tracing the etymology of the trope to prosopon poien,the giving of face (76), Nourbese Philip puts a spin on thattrope - a feminist, post-colonial spin - by producing a defacement of a different kind: she confronts the“tropological spectre” of Livingstone with another ghost,that of The Traveller - who gives him face only to take itaway again.Thus neither Livingstone himself nor “Livingstone”itself are as “stoney” as they might at first appear. Theman and the name have been rendered “relatively autonomoussubtotalities” (Bohm 189), phantom memories. Livingstone isnot; therefore he too is livingstone: here and gone again.The past become present, but a “presence sans present d’unpresent gui seulement revient (Derrida, Mémoires 76).Livingstone is livingstone as it reaches for thetranscendent Silence, the utopic possibility of be/longing,of “dwelling.” Livingstone is livingstone when TheTraveller learns the language of silence and communicateswith all around her (41). Livingstone is livingstone when116The Traveller discards her mirror, with the conflation ofself, Africa and eventually quantum reality and theuniverse. Livingstone is livingstone in the silence ofstone dropped, in the confusion between proper and commonnoun, and in the trope of prosopopeia, which makes thetombstone speak. And as Nourbese Philip spins that trope,Livingstone is livingstone, a phantom of itself. Thus, in anonlocal and holistic fashion, like Brossard’s hologram,like the flash of Bohm’s perception, livingstone occurs onlymomentarily, breaking down the difference between “I see”and “I think I see.”It is in this moment, this flash, that the memory oflivingstone becomes a counter—memory. No longer nostalgic,it is memory as thought and a memory that leads toinvention. Nourbese Philip argues for “a subversive rolefor memory, that memory is more than nostalgia — it has apotentially kinetic quality and must impel us to action”(Frontiers 20). Her memory is thought in action as shedecides tolist why I consciously try to remember what did nothappen to me personally, but which accounts for my beinghere today: to defy a culture that wishes to forget; torewrite a history that at best forgot and omitted, atworst lied; to seek psychic reparations; to honour thosewho went before; to grieve for that which wasirrevocably lost (language, religion, culture) and thosefor whom no one grieved; to avoid having to start overagain.... In making the list ... I found that even themere determination to remember can, at times, be arevolutionary act — like the slave who refused to forgethis or her rituals, or music, or whose body refused toforget the dance. (Frontiers 56)117This determination to remember is a promise to remember, to“.. .garder la mémoire, s’engager a garder la mémoire de lui—même, se promettre, se her a la mémoire pour la mémoire(Derrida, Mémoires 42). Nourbese Philip’s memory isthought, a promise for the future, the promise of arevolution.It is a counter—memory, a radical memory, a form oflocal resistance combatting racism at each point that itmanifests itself (Nourbese Philip, Frontiers 223). LikeBrossard’s memory, it begins with a critical examination oflanguage:as a writer nurtured on the bile of a colonial language,whose only intent was imperialistic, I see no way aroundthe language, only through it, challenging themystification and half-truths at its core.... Instead ofaid to Africa, let’s start talking about reparations toAfrica” (Frontiers 77).Counter—memory then leads to semiotic invention, to“stimuler en nous une qualité d’émotion propice a notreinsertion dans l’histoire” (Brossard, Picture Theory 85):“dreaming - the imagination - the one faculty of the humanthat can resist colonization. To construct imaginative andpoetic worlds AS IF we were at the centre. To designimaginative and poetic scapes with us at the centre. Wespeak from the centre and are whole” (69—71).Looking for Livingstone speaks from the centre. Theunnamed protagonist makes no explicit effort to mark herselfby gender, race or sexuality — these are revealed in118process, by her identifications. In the holomovement acentre is necessarily always in motion. Indigenous womenare her teachers and through them she appropriates the questform, both from Greek myth and from Livingstone; shetransforms it from a traditionally masculine plot of“discovery” and possession to a recuperation and re—indigenization. Wholeness signifies the healing of thewound, that of inflicted silence, and that of word.Wholeness is silence. And yet, like the wholeness of whichDavid Bohm speaks, it also means holistic: livingstone“... waiting patient content willing to enfoldembrace everything the Word even” (Nourbese Philip,Livingstone 74).119CHAPTER 4Typewriter as Trickster:Revisions of Beatrice Culleton’s In Search of April RaintreeI cannot be silent about the treatment of Natives. TheirSilence ... has a grammar, and a poetics; can be parsed,and quantified and has spoken volumes to me.... What Iwill do ... is call attention and describe the silence Ifeel.... For me to say nothing, which is not the same asbeing silent, would be to collude in that silencing.(Nourbese Philip, Frontiers 260-1)It is tempting to simply place a holographic memory1grid” on a text by a First Nations author, to search for anaboriginal example of earth-dwelling, one that presumably,because Native, would not be aborted like Atwood’s attempt.However, how could I do so without simply repeating Atwood’sappropriation of the Native sign? Without, in the searchfor livingstone, repeating Livingstone?How, then, to forge an alliance between a post—structural, feminist theory of memory and the politics ofFirst Nations, without simply “forcing” a text to fit intomy theory? Taking the advice of Nourbese Philip, I willattempt to parse one of the silences that I hear — a silencethat is likely unrelated, but is still similar to thecognitive strategies of each of the novels discussed so far.Brossard’s silence follows her re—examination of language;120the confusing swirl of dissemination leads to the extraliguistic “flash” of firing synapses, the hologram.Similarly, Atwood’s protagonist temporarily enters a periodof silence, rejecting both the linearity and the mimeticeffect of language; she invents a kind of rheomode thatinteracts with, rather than reflecting reality. Silence forNourbese Philip is both the extra-linguistic silence oflivingstone, of “earth—dwelling,” and a post-colonial studyof the role of language in the silencing of indigenouspeoples. This strategic reading of Beatrice Culleton’s InSearch of April Raintree’ also constitutes a reexaminationof language as representation, and focusses on theprocessual workings of language in interaction with reality.It explores a different means of “dwelling” in language andin the world, one which employs an intersection of oral andliterate cultures to bypass the violence of representation.Just as David Bohm’s holographic paradigm is one basisfor a non—mimetic epistemology, one in which language andknowledge interact with the world in a performance underconstant revision, rather than describing the world, it issaid that First Nations literatureposits the word as a process of knowing, provisional andpartial, rather than as revealed knowledge itself, andaims to produce texts in performance that would createtruth as interpretation rather than those in the Western‘For a discussion of strategic readings of texts in theinterests of specific political conviction, see Spivak, InOther Worlds 116; 205—211.121mimetic tradition that reveal truth as pre-establishedknowledge.(Lenore Keeshig-Tobias as paraphrased byGodard in “Politics” 221)As non—Native writers and scholars of Canadian literaturerecognize their involvement in the ethics of post—colonialism and allow their institutions to be questioned bythe artistic and political productions of First Nations,they are finding that not only “Canadian” but also“literature” can become problematic terms. As MargaretAtwood’s post-colonial work indicates, aboriginalproductions and perspectives must lead non—Native writers toquestion their use of Native images; perhaps Native writingalso questions the “imaging” process, the process of Westernmimetic representation and the process of evaluating thoserepresentations.In her “Politics of Representation: Some Native CanadianWomen Writers,” Barbara Godard develops an analysis of onetechnique by which Native writers alter the process ofrepresentation. She observes that many Native womenwriters, in contrast to white women who use Nativespirituality to facilitate a “strongly psychologized” questnarrative, “have adopted entirely different formalstrategies, discontinuous tales rather than coherentlyplotted quests, symbolic events rather than psychologizedreactions.... [as well as] hybrid genres...” (190). Thesestrategies are attempts to counteract white writers’ images122which often come to replace the self—representations ofNative women and exclude them from the literary institution(Godard, “Politics” 189).While a novel such as In Search of April Raintree, withits obvious quest theme and its psychologized, eventherapeutic use of the genre of autobiographical fiction,might at first appear to contradict Godard’s assertions withregard to Native women writers, it does support her on athematic level. Like the texts which Godard discussesformally, this novel refuses to lead its reader into theearthy “green world” (Godard, “Politics” 190) that Atwood’sprotagonist visits. Rather, it forcibly retains the readerin a harsh, racist, urban reality, constantly reminding he/rof the current environment of many Native women. Moreimportant and interesting than the thematic link, however,are the epistemological workings of In Search of AprilRaintree which, unfolded, provide a complement to Godardsformal analysis of works by Lee Maracle and JeannetteArmstrong. Even as it participates in the identity-questtheme and autobiographical genre, In Search of AprilRaintree subverts the epistemology upon which they arebased. Read as a performance in Keeshig—Tobias’ terms,Beatrice Culleton’s novel achieves more complexity, andraises implications far more profound than critics have asyet recognized.123In Search of April Raintree is gradually making its wayinto the canon of Canadian literature as a thinly disguisedautobiography (Grant 128). The novel is recognized not somuch for its literary style, which has been judged flawed,uneven and didactic (Cameron l65), as for its powerfulemotional effect as “one of the most scathing indictments ofCanadian society that has ever been written” (Grant 129).This effect is said to be intensified precisely by itssimple and straightforward narrative (Russell 192;Cameron 166). According to one reviewer, it is a “story”that “one cannot, in all fairness, review ... for itsliterary style,” but for the value and effect of what itsays (Russell 192). Thus, ironically, this novel is beingsilenced in its canonization.3Even as they acknowledge that it should be included onCanadian literature reading lists for its socialsignificance, Canadianists concur that In Search of AprilRaintree is a very difficult novel both to teach and totreat critically, in part because of this perceived lack of“literariness”; instructors and students alike are at a lossas to what to do with it. Students exhibit a reticence to2Cameron does not herself judge it as such, but predictsthat this will be the judgement of academic critics, thusdistancing herself from such an evaluative critique even asshe performs it.3Two critics whose work counteracts that silencing areMargery Fee and Julia Emberley.124analyse it and tend to wander off into emotional andpersonal anecdote and paraphrase.4 The novel appears toencourage the most “naive” readings, shutting out theacademic reader and rendering most literary criticalapproaches inappropriate (Emberley 69).If critics trained in a European literary tradition havesuch difficulties treating this text as a literary object, a“thing” that may be taken apart and analyzed, and yet wishto value it for its social and political significance, whatmethods might best be employed to approach this text? Ifthe novel is written in a manner so “un—literate” that itcauses one critic to comment that “Beatrice Culleton writesas she, and many people like her, speak” (Grant 129), if,stylistically, this novel resists assimilation into aliterary canon, then one approach might be to ask in whatways it questions that canon, or the “literary” itself: towhat extent does this text exhibit characteristics of aresidual orality?5 In Search of April Raintree may be4This is my experience of teaching this text, as well asthat of four other instructors who have added it to theircurriculum and with whom I have discussed the difficulties ofdoing so. Those who insist upon an intellectual, “literary”distancing of the text usually have little to say about it.I have adopted the terms orality (primary, residual andsecondary) and literacy, as well as the characteristics oforal memory and production, primarily from Walter Ong’sOrality and Literacy. However it will become clear that I havefound it necessary to alter them somewhat. More recentscholars in this area have pointed out the limitations of thedeterministic and generalized nature of studies such as Ong’s.For example, Ruth Finnegan’s Literacy and Oralityproblematizes the oral/literate opposition and cites125difficult to analyze using conventional literary approachesbecause, like an oral text, it is less an object than anevent, or a performance (Ong 99)..Yet the term “residual” is not quite appropriate either,suggesting as it does something vestigial that willdisappear with time: a unidirectional development. The“oral” characteristics in this text are not merelycharacteristics left over from a primary oral culture.Rather, they form a complex mixture, a “braiding”6 of oraland literate thought, a reading of the former through thelatter that “gives voice” to print culture (Emberley 73).And what is most interesting about this mixture is that eachaspect of the novel that might be considered acharacteristic of oral performance or oral memory, anexample of residual orality, is exhibited specificallythrough the act of writing, or the depiction of thewritten word. Thus these characteristics might be said toform an intersection between residual and secondary orality(Ong 135-6), an intersemiotic translation-in-process (or theexceptions to almost every characteristic of oral productionthat Ong lists. However, Finnegan does agree that patterns maybe identified and that these characteristics are commonlyfound in oral productions. Ong’s characteristics provide aprovisional place to begin; my argument is that April Raintreecomplements Finnegan’s work in its problematization of thatbinary opposition.6For a discussion of this metaphor, its use by nativefeminists and its applicability to the kind of alliance I amattempting to establish, see Emberley 93.126impossibility of translation): a “plus d’une langue”(Derrida, Mémoires 38) that is an intersection not betweenlanguages, but between two different ways of conceiving oflanguage (see Ong 31-56; Ashcroft et. al. 79)7 To readCulleton’s typewriter as Trickster is to perform astrategic, politically interested reading that finds in thisintersection a conception of language that moves beyond theviolent dualism of Western representation.This oscillation between oral and literateepistemologies necessitates a focus on process. I willargue that that process is similar to the process of aholographic memory in its rejection of dualistic thinkingand of the illusion of representation, its collective memory(since a holographic memory as part of a holomoveiuent isnecessarily collective) and its focus on the possibility ofaltering reality through invention.Even as it participates in the identity-guest theme andthe genre of autobiography, In Search of April Raintree7Emberley also refers to these “competing narrativesabout the construction of knowledge whose difference isconstituted by a political-social point of view: dominant oroppressed” (142). The braiding of these narratives, asEmberley says with reference to Jeannette Armstrong’s Slash,“is realigning the boundaries of what traditional Native oralstorytelling means in the context of the written work as themost powerful legitimator of a Eurocentric notion of history”(147) and, I would add, of reality. See also Chapter 2 n6.127subverts the epistemology upon which they are based. For ifit is true that in oral conceptions of language, namesconvey power over things, control reality rather thanreflecting it (Ong 32—3; 46), and “posit the word as aprocess of knowing, an interpretation rather than asrevealed knowledge itself...” (Keeshig—Tobias as paraphrasedby Godard, “Politics” 221), then this novel’s deconstructionof an opposition between oral and literate culture engagesan epistemological process that, by focussing on aprovisional, partial and local truth as unfolding innarrative (Godard, “Politics” 221), disrupts any claims fora universalized pre—existing Truth.8 In doing so it offersthe possibility of re-interpreting, and thus changing,social reality: an aboriginal (or even more appropriately, aMétis) version of a semiotic invention.The intense emotional impact of In Search of AprilRaintree is based at least in part on its “truth value” as athinly veiled autobiography. But is this truth asinterpretation or as pre-established knowledge? Whatconstitutes that veil and just how thin is it? The firstpart of this analysis, rather than making an attempt atunveiling, will look at the folds in that veil. In thisinstance the veil is the text surrounding the “story”‘Emberley reads orality in Jeannette Armstrong’s Slash ina similar manner, as knowledge—as—interpretation whichexplodes European perceptions of and myths about Nativeculture (138-150).128itself, the text of the signature: the information on theback cover, the dedication, the foreword, theacknowledgements and the biographical information about theauthor; how does all this paratext read into the narrativeitself? And what happens when it is revised, and In Searchof April Raintree is republished a year later as AprilRaintree?9 Finally, what are the implications of this veilfor the role of autobiography in constructing subjectivity?Does “April,” as the title of the second novel would appearto suggest, find herself?The second part of this analysis entails a considerationof the use of memory in the construction of subjectivity.Memory in this novel is not simply autobiographical; it isalso residually oral, and thus the subject it constructs isnot the traditional autonomous self of the autobiographicalgenre in which the novel participates. Further, memory isnot the only aspect of the text that slides from one side tothe other of an oral/literate opposition. Beginning withthe characteristics of orality as described by Walter Ong, Iwill show how the novel’s deconstruction of an oppositionbetween orality and literacy draws the reader into anIs this one novel or two? One slides into the other asneither has been established as the definitive text. Somecritics have dealt exclusively with In Search of AprilRaintree; others have focussed on April Raintree. Only Cameronremarks upon the differences between the two (commenting thatthe second is better written, 165). To avoid confusion, wherethere is no discrepancy between the texts, references are tothe first novel.129epistemological process that resists the dominant dualistmode which permits a book to be treated as an object. Iwill argue that this episteinological process is similar tothe function of a holographic memory. As in Brossard’sPicture Theory, but in a very different manner, it is theprocess of reading, rather than the “story” itself, thatcreates the intense impact of In Search of April Raintree.Culleton employs a traditional (European) form in herpsychologized use of the genre of autobiographical fiction.Written in the first person, In Search of April Raintreechronicles the life of a young Métis woman and her sisterCheryl. Both are taken from their alcoholic parents at ayoung age and put in separate foster homes. They keep intouch, and Cheryl’s letters and school reports form part ofthe text. However, different milieux lead to differentattitudes towards their racial and cultural background;Cheryl, who is dark-skinned, learns pride in her Métisheritage and as a young adult devotes herself to helping theless fortunate among her people. April, having sufferedabuse by a racist foster family, but able to pass for white,attempts to reject her Native side. She marries into awealthy white family, and the sisters grow apart. Racismeventually takes its toll on April’s marriage and when shedivorces her husband and returns to her native Winnipeg, shefinds Cheryl all but defeated by the oppression that shesees around her and following in her parents’ footsteps. In130her attempts to help Cheryl change her lifestyle, April isironically mistaken for her sister and violently raped. Thenovel concludes with Cheryl’s suicide; she leaves April herdiary (also included in the narrative) and her young son:together these help April to find acceptance of and pride inher Métis heritage.Margery Fee has pointed out that this novel’s use of afirst—person narrative, which traditionally presents theillusion of a free, unified autonomous subject, is asubversive strategy since it is employed by a member of agroup that has traditionally been othered or fragmented bythe dominant society (“Upsetting Fake Ideas” 171-2). HenryLouis Gates, Jr. also discusses this strategy with specificreference to autobiographical writing; however, he warnsthat participation in the illusion of such a humanistsubject carries with it its own limitations (11-12); bybecoming a subject, the “I” is also subjected to theideology in which it participates. Fee’s assertion isvalid: April’s “I,” her affirmation of her own and otherMétis and Native people’s humanity, is a powerful andnecessary act. Moreover, the fragments of text written byCheryl signal the specific fragmentation of people of mixedrace; they are integrated at the conclusion, when Aprilaccepts her Native half and attains a “whole” identity.However, as well as working to produce such a reading, the131(at least two) voices in this text also offer an alternativeto the unified autonomy of humanist subjectivity.’0The revision and republication of In Search of AprilRaintree caused what might be seen as a fluttering of theveils that “disguise” the autobiographical nature of thisnovel. A consideration of the extensive revisions to theperipheral text will perhaps provide an answer to thequestion as to whether or not “April” “finds” “herself”.Revising Beatrice Culleton”In Search of April Raintree is first surrounded byreview comments: immediately following the title page and onthe back cover. These quotations function as endorsementsfor the novel, but also for the author; reviews establishthe authorial subject: “It is hard cool autobiographicalfiction that will make you want to remember the name,Beatrice Culleton” (Torgrud, back cover). The author writesin her own voice in the acknowledgements (vi) and in thededication of the novel to the memory of her sisters (vii).On the last page of the book, the biographical informationabout the author informs us that these sisters, like April‘°For a similar reading of Culleton’s disruption of thenotion of the humanist subject, and her creation of a‘dialogic” subject, see Emberley 162.132Raintree’s sister Cheryl, committed suicide. This shortbiography draws on several similarities between the lifeof the author and the construction of the protagonist andyet insists upon the differences between them: “unlike theApril Raintree of this story, [Beatrice Culleton’s)experience in foster homes was generally positive...” (228).It further stresses the separation between author andprotagonist by repeating the disclaimer already printed onthe publication page: “the characters in this novel arefictional and any resemblance to people living or dead ispurely coincidental” (228). And yet both of thesedisclaimers are contradicted again by an excerpt from aletter immediately preceding the first chapter, addressed tothe author by Maria Campbell. Campbell endorses the novelas a supplement to government reports on the issue of thefoster care of First Nations children. In doing so shecontends that the truth—value of this novel, because theauthor “lived through such an experience” of foster care, isgreater than that of the perhaps more factually precisesociological reports (viii). Rather than obscuring orconfirming the autobiographical nature of the “story,” theseveils, or the contradictions within their folds, challengethe distinction between autobiography and fiction.”“Researchers on autobiography, especially women’sautobiography, have questioned this distinction, repeatedlyexpanding the borders of an essentially male—defined genre.See, for example, Shirley Neuman, ed. Autobiography andquestions of Gender (London: Cass. 1992); Sidonie Smith,133April Raintree juggles the peripheral text and in doingso signals an interesting change in the identity not ofApril, as the title would suggest, but of Beatrice Culleton.First, the excerpt from the letter from Maria Campbell isturned into a review and printed on the back cover; losingthe trappings of a personal letter, it becomes a more publicendorsement. However in the process, one of the letter’sfunctions in the first edition, that of enhancing theidentity of the author as an author (eg., “you are a finewriter,” viii), is deleted. In addition, the biographicalnotice repeats much of the notice in the earlier text wordfor word, but omits both disclaimers; it no longer stressesthe separation between author and protagonist. Perhaps thefirst novel, having gained recognition, has developed from a“story” to a work of “literature”; since it is commonknowledge that the author must be separated from a “literarytext,” it is no longer necessary to stress the separationbetween the two. This may in fact be the case, as thesecond novel adds another paragraph on the professional lifeof the author and other works in her name. These revisionsPoetics of Women’s Autobiography: Marginality and the Fictionsof Self-Representation (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1987); aswell as her Subjectivity. Identity and the Body: Women’sAutobiographical Practices in the Twentieth Century(Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1993); Estelle C. Jelinek, ed.Women’s Autobiography: Essays in Criticism (Bloomington:Indiana UP, 1980); Domna Stanton, The Female Autograph: Theoryand Practice of Autobiography from the Tenth to the TwentiethCentury (Chicago: U of Chicago P) 1987.134indicate that it is not April Raintree who has necessarilybeen “found,” but Beatrice Culleton who no longer needs tosearch for her identity as an author.Clearly, In Search of April Raintree has establishedCulleton. In fact, the other major additions to the secondnovel entail a rewriting of the acknowledgements and theaddition of a “Foreward” [sic) to explain the publication ofthe second novel; commissioned by the Native EducationBranch of Manitoba Education, April Raintree is to be taughtin elementary and high schools in Manitoba.’2 In thisachievement alone, Culleton has disrupted the dominantliterary institution; she has avoided the imposition ofacademic editing by publishing with Pemmican, a small Nativepress, and yet she has still gained a certain amount ofacceptance into the literary canon (see Godard, “Politics”204-206 on the disruptive role of Native presses).However, just as she attains authorial status, Culletonchallenges the subject of author-ity. The changes in thebiographical notice may also be read as a further blurringof the boundary between autobiography and fiction, authorand characters. The deletion of the fact that the author’sexperiences in foster homes (unlike the character’s) were‘2As expected, the revisions to the narrative itselfsimplify vocabulary, make some grammatical and stylistic“corrections” and, of course, especially in the powerfullyshocking rape scene, cut most of the obscenities and allexplicit references to sexual anatomy.135generally positive causes the biography to resemble thenarrative more closely than it did in In Search of AprilRaintree; it either reads better into the fiction or rendersthe novel more autobiographical. However, any attempt toequate the first person narrator with the author, anequation that may be naive in reading a fictional text butis encouraged to the extent that the novel isautobiographical (and, I will argue, it is the latterreading that permits the novel to attain its most effectiveemotional and political impact), cannot help but confuse thecharacters. Beatrice, the “I,” the writer in the family,should not be April, but Cheryl, the younger one who went tostay in a foster home with her older sister, but did notcommit suicide. But if the author were the youngest, sheshould be “baby Anna,” the youngest child who then shouldnot have died shortly after birth! Any attempt to structurea one—to—one correspondence between identities leads to aslippage from Beatrice = April to Beatrice = Cheryl toBeatrice = Anna (impossible). Thus, surprisingly, it is theautobiographical rather than the fictional reading that mostquestions the uniqueness and autonomy of the subject.A one—to—one correspondence between identities is alsoresisted thematically, as at one point Cheryl combats racismby refusing a label that she would otherwise have worn withpride and stressing similarities between herself and thosewho “subject” her in order to exclude her (Fee 178—9):136“...but you’re not exactly Indians are you? What is theproper word for people like you?” [a white woman asksher at a party given by April’s husband].“Women,” Cheryl replied instantly.“No no, I mean nationality?”“Oh, I’m sorry. We’re Canadians,” Cheryl smiledsweetly. (116)A clear and unproblematic conception of identity isagain disrupted in the confusion as to who is the writerin the family: April gives Cheryl a typewriter for herbirthday (124), which is not surprising, for although Aprilhas ostensibly written the narrative, it is Cheryl who ismost often depicted writing (letters, school reports,speeches and her diary). However, it is somewhat strangethat while April is rarely depicted writing, Cherylquestions the gift, claiming that it is April who has thewriting talent (223). Contrary to what the title suggests,it is Cheryl, rather than April, who is actively in searchof her Métis identity; April avoids that search as much aspossible. What at first appears to be a simple use of theautobiographical genre to construct a “whole” subjectbecomes a confusion of different characters with the authorso that none remains a unique and autonomous whole.The veils that confuse autobiography and fiction, alongwith the obvious didactic aims of the novel and itsrevision, serve an important function by setting up thequestion as to whether the novel is dealing with “truth” aspre-established knowledge (that is, the content is truebecause to a great degree it coincides with Culleton’s own137lived experience) or “truth” as interpretation. With regardto the first type of truth, to the extent that the novel isautobiographical, it participates in what Philippe Lejeunehas called an “indirect autobiographical pact,” a contractin which the author’s signature guarantees the authenticityof the tale (Lejeune 13-46). Despite the fact that a clearautobiographical pact is not fulfilled because there is noidentity between the names of author, narrator andprotagonist, the novel’s emotional impact and didacticeffect is based to a great extent on this referential aspectof truth; an autobiographical reading contract is in effectand this situates the novel within autobiographical space(Lejeune 4l-42).’ However the veiling effect, or thedisclaimers that go to such lengths to separate the authorfrom the text, undermines that truth value and thus, onewould expect, the contract and the impact of the novel. Yetthe latter is not the case. Regardless of the novel’s claimto “fictionality,” its claim to “truth” remains strong. Andthis is not simply a case of fiction being “true” in ageneral and symbolic sense. First, because although thereferential pact is broken (the pact by which the content of‘3Nancy Miller has noted that Lejeune’s pact hasestablished an autobiographical canon that has excluded manywomen’s autobiographies (“Women’s Autobiography in France: Fora Dialectics of Identification,” Women and Language inLiterature and Society, eds. Sally Mcconnel-Ginet, Ruth Borkerand Nelly Furman (New York: Praeger, 1980) 270-71. See alsonil above.138an autobiography, unlike that of a fictional text, may beextratextually verified, Lejeune 36), the contract based onauthenticity remains in effect, since Culleton’s name stillfunctions as a signature; this novel would not have the sameimpact if its author were not Métis.’4 A second and relatedreason is the concrete and situational nature of thenarrative. This novel does not ask the reader to generalizeits truth. Nor is it merely the simplicity of its tellingthat renders its effect so shocking, brutal and immediate.While the academic critic might be tempted to dismiss itsrealism as naive, there is something about it that causesthe reader to almost experience the violence to which thecharacters are subjected, or at least makes it verydifficult to distance he/rself from it.I suggested earlier that this “something’ is related tothe autobiographical nature of the novel. I am not simplyclaiming a higher level of truth for autobiography andtherefore a stronger emotional impact. Yet the emotional‘4This statement is not based on a notion of authenticitybut on the manner in which the signs “author,” “Métis” and“autobiographical” circulate and function n their semioticenvironment and the manner in which those signs are linked tomaterial conditions, literary production and access topublishers. For other discussions of this issue see R.Radhakrishnan, “Ethnic Identity and Post—structuralDifférance,” Cultural Critique 6: The Nature and Content ofMinority Discourse (spring 1987) 199-222; entries by AnnCameron and Lee Maracle in Language in Her Eye: Views onWriting and Gender by Canadian Women Writing in English, eds.Libby Scheier et. al. (Toronto: Coach House, 1990); andGodard, “Politics” 185; 189—192.139impact is in part created precisely by the novels’ use ofauto—bio—graphy: it is in the rape scene (139-145), asApril’s body becomes the site of racist and sexist violence,that the emotional effect of the novel is the greatest.There is a difference between reading a depiction of a rapewhen there is the suggestion that it really happened asopposed to reading a purely fictional rape. Because of themanner in which this scene is written, that difference isfelt in a (female—gendered) reader’s body,’5 even if her mindclaims that theoretically there should be no difference.The graphic details and the violent, yet commonplaceobscenities which form this scene are those which sexismoften employs to construct women’s bodies as objects; thesimilarities between women’s bodies and the language used todescribe them enhance the identification.’6 The reader is‘51n Alice Doesn’t, de Lauretis maintains that thespectator of film is constructed as male; thus femalespectators have the option of identifying with either the(male) hero or the (female) space, boundary, or obstacle (138-49). I suggest that this scene constructs its reader asfemale; she is thus asked to identify with both subject andobject. However, to what extent male readers have thenecessary preparation or conditioning for such a “doubleidentification” (144), and can thus identify with April, isa complex question that, for now, I must leave unanswered.‘61n an extremely interesting feminist—vegetariandissertation on torture in the novel, Linda Pashka (UBC) isin the process of developing a theory of sympathy whichanalyzes how depictions of violence employ narratological,tropological, generic and grammatical devices to construct asympathetic and even empathetic model reader. Her theory—inprocess has been helpful in this analysis of the emotionalimpact of In Search of April Raintree.140asked to identify as simultaneously subject and object: afamiliar request, at least to women readers. It is thisprocess of identification that produces the strong emotionalimpact of the scene. And again it is the revision of thetext that makes this effect more apparent, at least for thenon-Native academic reader. Once the first novel hasactively engaged its non—Native, female—gendered reader, thesecond reveals how it actively engaged her by partiallydisengaging her. As the obscenities are censored in AprilRaintree, virtually every reference to April’s body iscensored, and thus her gender is deleted from the scene;only her race renains. No longer is a “woman” raped, but a“squaw.” And as Lee Maracle has shown, as sexism and racisminterrelate, “squaw” is excluded from the man/womanopposition; she has not as yet even attained object-hood,let alone subject—hood (Maracle 16). Thus for a non—Nativereader, much of the violence disappears in part because theviolent words against all women’s bodies disappear; many ofthe similarities disappear. The immediate effect of thisrevision is multi-fold: first it may expose to a non-Nativewoman reader her own racism on a very gut—level manner(Nourbese Philip describes racism as, precisely, a “gutissue,” Frontiers 212); second, it exposes the racisminherent in Western feminism by making a Native woman’s bodythe linguistic site of both racism and sexism, and then allbut removing the sexism, to claim (ironically in this case141as April is raped because she is “mistaken” for a Native),that rape is not only a gender issue, but also a racialissue. Third, the bodily reactions to this graphic scenesuggest that the novel resists literary description becauseit is not simply a description; it is a participatoryperformance. The “truth” of this novel becomes not onlythat of the “pre-established knowledge” of autobiography,but also that of interpretation, “a process of knowing,provisional and partial” (Godard, “Politics” 221). Anidentification takes place that threatens the illusion ofthe autonomy of the reader’s identity. Just as there is aconfusion of characters and author, so too the reader isdrawn into that confusion. And what permits this to happenis a rewriting of print epistemology by orality.Orality, literacy, holographyThe peripheral text and the rape scene are not the onlyelements of this novel which question the autonomy of theautobiographical, authorial and reading subjects’7. Aconsideration of the manner in which memory structures thisnovel reveals orality to be a disruption, not only of theautobiographical subject, but of the epistemology upon which‘7For a discussion of the relationships between thesesubjects, see Paul de Nan, “Autobiography as De—facement.”142that subject is based. Such a consideration also points tothe similarities between an oral epistemology and aholographic memory.To the extent that memory in this text is autobiographical, it chronicles the process of revising childhoodmemories in order to find a new vision for the protagonist’slife. The novel begins with “{m]emories. Some memories areelusive ... others are haunting.... I think it’s best to goback in my life before I go forward” (9). Autobiographicalmemory is a specific kind of memory; it is traditionallylinear, with the intention of constructing or reaffirmingthe coherence of the subject (see Gusdorf). Print itselfhad a role in the individualization and interiorization ofthought (Ong 132). Oral memory, in contrast, is collectiveCong 54), and oral thought is likely to be communicative,working itself out in dialogue. A holographic memory isalso collective, as part of the holomovement, and exists ina communicative interaction between subject—in—process andenvironment—in—process. What begins as individualizedautobiographical memory in In Search of April Raintreeconcludes as collective, oral memory. Through the writtentexts of Cheryl’s letters, speeches and diary, the voices ofApril and Cheryl (not to mention those of author, reviewersand publishers, as discussed above) interweave in dialogue,often in argument; sometimes they complement each other, asCheryl’s history reports are contrasted to April’s magazines143in the two halves of Métis-ness; at other times they repeateach other, as Cheryl’s diary overlaps with events narratedby April. Such a communicative, agonistic form ischaracteristic of oral production (Ong 43) and yet in thisinstance that form is a product specifically of writtentexts; as in the confusion between April and Cheryl, theNative spiritual figure of the Trickster takes the form ofthe typewriter (124; 223).18 It is perhaps not surprising,then, that as the conclusion of the narrative circles backto memory and April reads Cheryl’s diary after the latter’ssuicide, she remembers: “[m]emories came back, memories ofher voice, the memory of her reciting her powerful messageat the Pow Wow. . .“ and then, “I was overwhelmed by hermemories” (226, emphasis mine): not “by memories of her.”Memory in this novel functions collectively, as doesidentity when April finds her self in “our people,” in thecollectivity of an oral culture.Just as oral memory is collective, it is also said toforget or eliminate facts that are no longer useful forcontemporary needs (Ashcroft et al. 81). Literacy, incontrast, is supposed to fix the past, record facts.However, In Search of April Raintree points out that both‘8For an account of Trickster as an agonistic figure, seeGerald Vizenor, “Trickster Discourse: Comic Holotropes andLanguage Games,” Narrative Chance: Postmodern Discourse onNative American Indian Literatures, ed. Gerald Vizenor(Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1989) 187-212.144oral memory and history “enfold” facts that are notimmediately seen to be relevant or useful. In oral memory,as in a holographic memory, forgetting can be temporary.History is not quite as fixed as it appears either. Cheryl’sconfrontations with history lessons in school (57-58) arepart of a revision of history. First she demonstrates thatwritten memory does in fact “forget” or enfold out of sightfacts that are not useful to those writing the historybooks; forgetting is actually a common practice ofcolonizers. Second, the implications of her school reportsare evidence that, although the process is slower, therevision of written history, the recovery or unfolding ofthose facts and the altering of bias is possible.Revisions themselves are different in oral and literateproductions. Oral performance is necessarily more fluidthan a written text; each performance is a revision ofprevious ones, tailoring the telling to the specific tellingsituation and audience (Ong 60). This is precisely thereasoning for the revision of In Search of April Raintree.Once again, however, this oral characteristic is manifestedin writing; April Raintree is revised, its vocabularysimplified and censored in order to make it more appropriatefor a young audience. This revision also renders the secondnovel more collective than the first, in that it wascommissioned by the representative of the collective, the145government, specifically for collective classroom audiences;its reading is no longer a private, individualized activity.The form which revisions or corrections take in oralperformance is very different from those made in print. Thespoken word cannot be erased. Corrections or revisions areavoided in oral performances and mistakes are incorporatedinto the telling, rendered part of it Cong 104). Incontrast, written mistakes are erasable, they can disappearcompletely. When it comes to revising a work alreadypublished, the revision usually replaces the former editionas being more up—to—date, or improved. This is not the casewith April Raintree. The two editions are differentperformances for different audiences. However they can becompared, as they have been in this analysis, which makes itpossible for the original, the emjstakes,li to remainenfolded in the telling of the revision.The revision of this text might also be said to reviseits subjects. As semiotic subjects, April and Cheryl enactthe process of identification referred to by de Lauretis(Alice Doesn’t 141), as the novel is the narrative of theirsubject formation; each sister identifies with a differentgroup and attempts to construct her self in that image.In this they must both deal with the overdetermination oftheir subjectivity, since, as de Lauretis would warn,expectations can create reality; the social worker’s warningabout tithe native girl syndrome” (66-67) shapes Cheryl’s146identifications, and April’s as well in her reaction to it.However, the open—ended conclusion suggests a possibility ofdifferent identifications: April’s identity is not fixed.The reading subject is also revised by the revision ofthe novel. The movement from In Search of to AprilRaintree, which causes an oscillation between literate andoral production, constructs its reader as a “co—participant”in its performance (Godard, “Voicing Differences” 92). Itis also a movement from a humanist to a semiotic subject, asthe text develops from a private to a public experience,from psychology to performance, and each time April Raintreeis taught, she is performed differently with the explicitintention of forming new habits and inventions by suggestinga new mode of cognition, that which functions betweenorality and literacy.Oral performance is situational rather than abstract(Ong 49), empathetic or participatory rather thanobjectively distanced (Ong 45). Yet as discussed above,this written text is almost impossible to analyze withanything resembling objectivity it treats complex issues ofthe interrelationships between racism and sexism, theircauses and the possibilities for resistance, but in such aconcrete and situational context that the novel is oftenmistaken for simplistic.Finally, according to Ong it was print that led to thepossibility of scientific observation: “a new noetic world147[was] opened by exactly repeatable visual statement andcorrespondingly exact verbal description of physicalreality” (127). That world is mimetic, a world in whichthere is a one—to—one correspondence between object andlabel. In contrast, “oral and residually oral verbalizationdirects its attention to action, not to visual appearance ofobjects or scenes or persons” (Ong 127). Oral thought, likea holographic memory, is performative and non—mimetic. It“posits the word as a process of knowing, provisional andpartial, rather than as revealed knowledge itself” (LenoreKeeshig-Tobias as paraphrased by Godard 815). Theundecidability of the identity of “April Raintree” assubject, as genre, as oral or literary text, draws thereader onto the hinge between these “truths,” between theexact description of pre—established knowledge and aperformance that creates truth as interpretation.In Search of April Raintree is not as simple a novel asit at first appears. It is a complex interchange betweentwo cultural and semiotic systems that works toward socialchange not only through its didactic content, but throughits epistemological process. It is not necessary todismiss the “style” of the novel in order to laud itscontents. It is precisely that style which, through itsliterate manipulation of an oral epistemology, creates theemotional and political impact of the novel: not through itssimplicity, but through a subtlety that is by its nature148resistant to literary analysis. It alters both the readingsubject and the process of representation, and offersparticipation in a non—mimetic epistemology. Thisepistemology is similar to that of a holographic memory. Torecognize and attempt to work with such epistemologies,whether they stem from an unconventional scientificapproach, post-structural feminist theorizing or aboriginaloral residuality, is to move away from the violence ofrepresentation, to attempt to think differently.149CHAPTER 5The wandering memory of Regine Robin’s La Ouébécoite...puisque pour Jabès, le livre n’est pas dans le monde,mais le monde dans le livre.... Etre, c’est être—dans—le—livre, même Si l’être n’est pas cette nature crééeque le Moyen Age appelait souvent le Livre de Dieu....Mais Si le Livre n’était ... qu’une epoque de l’êtreSi la forme du livre ne devait plus être le modèle dusens?(Derrida, “Edmond Jabès et laquestion du livre” 113-14)I am proposing the notion that we are here in thepresence of something like a mutation in built spaceitself. My implication is that we ourselves, the humansubjects who happen into this new space, have not keptpace with that evolution; there has been a mutation inthe object unaccompanied as yet by any equivalentmutation in the subject. We do not yet possess theperceptual equipment to match this new hyperspace....(Jameson 38-39)Régine Robin’s La Ouébécoite leads this dissertationback to Montréal, where once again a window frames asnowstorm that becomes a metaphor for the dissemination ofmeaning across a text (188). Like Nicole Brossard’s PictureTheory, this is a text of memory, of writing, of cognitivemapping, identifications and semiotic inventions thatsimultaneously alter both the subject and the city. Thenarrative is non—linear and non—local, yet relates thedesire to dwell— in a site that can only be in a memory ofthe future.150The autobiographical protagonist of La Ouébécoite is anAshicenaze Jew, born in Paris, who immigrates to Québec. Thenovel begins with epigraphs from Franz Kafka and EdmondJabès which posit Jewish people in a specific relation tothe problem of dwelling. For Kafka, it is a problem ofdwelling in language, and the protagonist, a francophone,finds herself excluded from the French of Québec, teachingJewish Studies in English at McGill University, writingpoetry in Yiddish and feeling at home only in Hebrew.She repeatedly asks herself “.pour qui écrire? et dansquelle langue?” (197). For Jabès, the impossibility ofdwelling takes the form of the dream of a book which wouldcontain the world, “Un livre ... qui ne se livrerait quepar fragments dont chacun serait le commencement d’unlivre” (11). However, as Jacques Derrida suggests in anarticle on Jabès, perhaps that book is no longer a book. Abook without borders, which, fragmented, produces as manybooks as fragments, could be a hologram.La Ouébécoite lends itself well to a holographicreading, perhaps because of its structural and thematicsimilarities, and even intertextual relationship, to PictureTheory. And yet it is not a text which one would at firstglance compare to Brossard’s novel. Whereas Brossard’spolitics rest on the impossibility of being lesbian in a(hetero)sexist society, the identifications of theprotagonist of La Ouébécoite are always linked to a151heterosexual relationship. Although she experiments withdifferent ethnic identities and political causes, thisgender identification remains constant and unquestioned.Secondly, and more important to this analysis, La Ouébécoiteis non—linear in a very different way from Picture Theory.The interruptions to Robin’s narrative take the form oflists, menus, excerpts from history books, television andhockey schedules, which are much more jarring thanBrossard’s poetic digressions. In a sense, it is a muchmore pragmatic text than Picture Theory. Finally, themateriality of La Ouébécoite, while it incorporates thefeminist materiality of the body and the post-structuralmateriality of language, adds to these a more marxistmaterialism.Like Robin, Teresa de Lauretis employs these three kindsof materiality in her semiotic theory. As yet I havefocussed primarily on the materiality of language, themanner in which it shapes thought, and filters andconstructs reality. Robin now demands a return to thematerialism of systems of production, consumerism,capitalism and its multinational effects. Therefore, once Ihave established the manner in which the memory of this textis holographic, I will focus on that materialism to arguethat, like each of the texts studied here, this novel addsanother dimension to the theory of a holographic memory.152Robin touches very briefly and critically on holographyin another study of memory, in which she voices concernsabout the dangers of the post—structural blurring ofdivisions among reality, memory, history and fiction:Puisque tout est langage, et que tout se donne dans destraces, en particulier des traces discursives, commentdistinguer le reel du faux, le récit de ce qui s’estréellement passé? P.V. Naquet {Les assassins de laMémoire (Paris, La Découverte, 1987)) a montré, a proposde ceux gui remettent en question l’existence deschambres a gaz, lors du genocide des juifs pendant ladernière guerre iuondiale, qu’aucune marque langagiere nepouvait établir la preuve, que celle-ci n’était pas del’ordre du langage, mais de l’ordre d’un reel gui laisseou ne laisse pas de traces, non seulement dans lesmémoires, mais sur le sol, dans l’environnement et dansles documents de l’époque. En l’absence de traces, etavec la dsparition par l’âge des derniers témoins dela tragedie, tout relève de la façon dont une sociétéétablit son régime du croyable, son système de ce quitient lieu de preuves ou de traces. Ii n’y a pas, enhistoire et dans l’histoire de détecteur discursif demensonges. Ce gui est effrayant, c’est gu’on peut trèsbien imaginer un événement tragique gui, pour une raisonou une autre, ne laisserait pas de traces, pas depreuves, un événement gui ne serait pas couvert par lesmédias, et dont les survivants seraient tous devenusmuets, par infirmité, terreur ou traumatisme.L’événement, tel un hollogramme [sic] ne pourrait pass’inscrire dans la mémoire et serait perdu a jamais,transparent dans son existence—inexistence même.(Robin, Le Roman mémoriel 23-24)Robin suggests here that the notion of altering the socialconstruct of reality can also be employed to increaseoppression. However, if it has already been employed foroppressive purposes, as Brossard refers to “l’hantise del’H omme” (98), as Nourbese Philip points out with regard tothe “fact” that Livingstone “discovered” much of Africa, andas Culleton points out with regard to the revision of153history by colonizers, then to expose reality as a constructat least upsets the imbalance of power and offers thepossibility of resistance. (This is, I think, the argumentof most writers who attempt to employ post—structural theoryfor political purposes.)I will return to this relationship between memory,history and reality, as it is the major concern of L.Ouébécoite. However, first I would like to take a moment toreconcile Robin’s fleeting reference to holography in thisquotation with my own use of it. She employs holography asa metaphor, and when she asserts that it is transparent inits existence—inexistence, she s actually referring to thevirtual image, the image that is visual, but intangible.Her metaphor points to the discursive construction ofreality, the abstraction without which we have no proof ofthe existence of anything. My focus is on the hologramitself as it appears on the holographic plate: theinscription of light-waves, which, according to Pribram, issimilar (if not identical) to the inscription of memory.Even if it cannot be accessed at a certain moment due totraumatism, that inscription remains and it may unfold at alater time. And, as I hope to show, the process ofinscription, and the subsequent possibility of a holographicmemory altering a holographic reality, are implicitly atwork in La Québécoite.154In Le Roman mémoriel, Robin describes La Ouébécoite as aconfrontation between different kinds of memories: nationalmemory, which functions in epic time and remembers dates andheroes (49), such as the Conquest on the Plains of Abraham;scholarly memory, that of historians, which is unfailinglychronological and strives to be scientific, precise andobjective (50); collective memory, which is cyclic and epic,selective and affective (for example that of the sovereigntymovement in Québec) (51); and finally cultural memory,“une contre—mémoire fragmentaire” which exists only inpotentiality and which alternates between the “bricolage”of a private narrative and “la dispersion de souvenirs—flashes” (56-7). As collective memory constructs identity,cultural memory transforms it into a poetic and criticalmemory (101). La Ouébécoite is a novel of memories and ofhistories, in which cultural memory is brought to bear onthe other forms in order to destabilize them (Robin, j.Roman mémoriel 130).Robin notes that each of these memories works in adifferent temporal mode: epic, chronological, cyclical andpotential. I will here be focussing on cultural memory,which might be said to function in space-time: potential,future—oriented, imaginary. In many ways, this “mémoireculturelle” corresponds to a holographic memory. Robin evenadopts Foucault’s terminology, although she takes advantageof its loose and open—ended definition, just as I have done.155As “bricolage,” this memory is also invention, and the flashof memory which she describes as critical or poetic insightis Brossard’s hologram and Bohm’s perception.A closer look at La Ouébécoit will illustrate how itscultural memory is holographic. Like Brossard’s PictureTheory, this novel employs a future—oriented memory tointegrate formerly excluded subjects into their environment,the city of Montréal. Like all of the writers discussed nthis dissertation, she focusses on the act of writing itselfas a means to alter perceptions of reality and thuseventually reality itself: the narrator-protagonist of thisnovel writes a novel of a protagonist who immigrates toMontréal and writes a novel about an aging historian ofJewish culture. The multiple levels of self-reflexivityresult in a confusion of “realities.” More clearly thanPicture Theory, this novel employs strategies of cognitivemapping as the protagonist attempts to find a place forherself in the city and its culture: lists of metrostations, street signs, business signs, restaurant menus,hockey schedules, television listings and excerpts fromhistory books and historical documents serve to “map” thecity while simultaneously (and ironically) dislocating thereader within the narrative. This novel also clearly tracesthe process of identification. It is divided into threesections corresponding to different neighbourhoods andethnic communities in Montréal. In each section the writer156re—constructs her protagonist, attempting to make her fitin, belong, or dwell, first in predominantly Jewish“Snowdon,” then in upwardly mobile franco-Québécois“Outremont,” and finally in the multi—ethnic neighbourhoodaround the “Marché Jean—Talon.” Each attempt is eventuallyaborted and she returns to Paris. However, she does achievesome measure of dwelling. And the attempt itself, theprocess, as for Brossard and Nourbese Philip, alreadypromises to alter reality. The novel achieves a kind ofnon—local dwelling in a site of counter—memory.As in the works already considered, memory functions inthis novel as thought rather than as nostalgia. Itfunctions as a form of free association, an ancient Jewishform of meditation: “le ‘saut’ ou le ‘bond’ d’une conceptiona une autre” guided by certain rules, but with a great dealof freedom within the limits of those rules (Robin,Ouébécoite 42). Both the narrative and the protagonistfollow a repetitive pattern which is to “perdre la ligne demémoire et recommencer sur une autre” (42). MortreHimmelfarb, the historian about whom she writes, attempts toforce chronology on his own thought processes, finding itrepeatedly necessary to remind himself to keep “1648 avant1666” (44). The protagonist makes no such efforts, andpermits her cultural raemory to meld with this Jewish memory:157to wander. And eventually, even Mortre Himmelfarb’s Historybecomes “des histoires” (189). The protagonist’s memorybecomes a spatial memory as she herself wanders through thedifferent neighbourhoods, or “ghettos” as she refers to themin a translation of “Shtetl” (which does not have thenegative connotations of the English word), of the city ofMontréal (67). She thus refers to herself as the wanderingJew (61).’ Non-local, wandering, writing, thinking: thenarrator—protagonis writes a novel, employing theconditional form, imagining her protagonist writing anovel on Mortre Himmelfarb who writes history (130): “leudaIsme et l’écriture ne sont qu’une même attente, un mêmeespoir, une même usure’” (Jabès cited in Derrida, “EdiuondJabès” 100).Or in other words, the protagonist’s aunt Mime Yenteinsists on keeping the Sabbath, and tells a story of theloss of religious rituals over generations until finally allthat was left was the story of the loss, “mais onconnaissait l’histoire et le récit tenait lieu d’action plus‘This appellation is the first of several ironic linksbetween Jewish and Québécois history and identity. “UnCanadien errant” is the title of an 1839 Québec song of exileby Antoine Gerin—Lajoie, which mourns the failure of the causeof the Patriots and which became a symbol for French—Canadianswho felt themselves to be exiles in their own land. (See JohnHare, Les Patriotes: 1830—1839 (Québec: Liberation, 1971) 7,173.) In indicating similarities between the two cultures,Robin effects a double irony, critiquing both Québec’s historyof anti—semitism and her own apparent insistence on anessential Jewish identity.158exactement le récit était un acte. La mémoire chez nous estun acte” (132-3). In its remembering, waiting, writing andhoping, that memory is future-oriented. “Récit” is rhymedwith “messie” (87—88) and the utopian desire for thePromised Land is the focus of that memory.3The only thing that can stop this wandering memory isalso that which keeps it going. In Le Roman mémoriel, Robinexplains that La Ouébécoite is structured according to thestations of the Parisian metro (130). The wandering thustakes place along these lines which are then superimposedupon the streets and metro lines of Montréal. The past, inspatial form, is enfolded into the present, which is nonlocal. All of the metro lines lead to one station, thepoint where, in 1942, French Jews were held before beingsent to Auschwitz. Thus the metro line leads only to“WURDEN VERGAST” (71). It is always at this point that “laligne se perd dans [s)a mémoire” (70) and must begin againon another line.It is this wandering memory that takes precedence overany attempt at linearity in the narrative of “cette yulecollage, cette ville—livre, cette vi1le—Hstoire” (140):2This statement is of course another ironic reference tothe Québécois’ struggle to retain their own identity, whichis expressed in the motto, “je me souviens.”3For a discussion of messianism in Québec culture, seeRéjean Beaudoin, Naissance d’une littérature: Essai sur lemessianisme et les debuts de la littérature canadienne—francaise (1850-1890 (Montréal: Boréal, 1989).159Mémoire fêléeMémoire fendueIi n’y aura pas de récitpas de debut, pas de milieu, pas de finpas d’histoire.Entre Elle, je et tu confonduspas d’ordre.Ni chronologique, ni logique, ni logis. (86)Two of these lines are repeatedly intoned throughout thenovel. The first is “pas d’ordre. Ni chronologique, nilogique, ni logis.” The relation between order, time, logicand place of dwelling, none of which is attainable, linkshistory to narrative, to language, to meaning, to memory, todwelling. This dissemination of/in space-time is also the“state” of being “a relatively autonomous subtotality” inthe holomovement; it is the state of wandering. And yetthis wandering does eventually become a form of dwelling, ofdwelling in movement, of dwelling as action.First, space and time must meld. “Ii n’y aura pas derécit” is the second phrase that is constantly repeated;narrative and history are impossible. “S’ils croientque c’est si simple, raconter une histoire, raconterl’Histoire” (36). Without access to the collective memoryor the national memory, both of which are informed by andgive meaning, affect, and identification to history(scholarly memory) (Le Roman mémoriel 53), the immigrantnarrative can only be non—linear:il n’aurait pas de récittout juste une voix plurielleune voix carrefourla parole immigrante. (88)160“Aucun récit n’aura lieu (30) and in effect no narrativedoes take place because the narrator—protagonist writes inthe conditional form, thus denying presence to herprotagonist and her story and displacing both onto a future,provisional plane.However, in another sense, the narrative and the memorydo take place, or become spatial, as the protagonistwanders through the city, attempting to “tout noter” (64),“étaler tous les signes de la difference, fixer cetteetrangeté avant qu’elle ne devienne familière” (15),“essayer de trouver une position dans le langage, un pointd’appui” (16), and as she tries to find a place to dwell.She does this through a detailed process of cognitivemapping, of situating herself in her surroundings. As shewanders up one street and down the other, she writes thecity by its signs, the names of banks, of stores, streets,metro stations, detailed descriptions of apartments: tidesregards le long de ses travellings urbains” (15). On onelevel these lists are supposed to “donner plus de corps acette existence ... [donner] l’épaisseur d’une vie” (18), toadd a third dimension to the text. Like the spinning ofsigns effected by Brossard in Picture Theory, but in a muchmore direct and “realistic” manner, these lists are supposedto give volume to a two dimensional text; if the protagonistis able to “noter toutes les differences, tout cela finiraitbien par donner de la réalité, tout cela finirait bien par161lui faire comprendre le Québec.. .“ (185). Brossard’s spiraleventually creates the hologram which achieves volume, thusproducing a more precise, because three—dimensional, form ofrealism. And yet Brossard also radically alters the meaningof realism, because the hologram is not mimetic; what isdepicted is not what the text describes but the effect thatit causes. Robin takes a more direct route, but one that isequally far from conventional realism because, ironically,although these lists of signs ostensibly aid the protagonistin situating herself, they tend to dislocate the reader inthe text, interrupting the narrative and losing anyreferent; they render the city “{i]rrepresentable” (15).The multilingual signs and the puns that the author createswith them add to the confusion; like the snowflakes seenoutside both M.V.’s and Mortre Himmelfarb’s window, theybecome signs disseminated across the city—text—history. Inthe end, although the process of marking all of thedifferences may not (as hoped) transmit reality, norincrease her understanding of Québec, by transforming theconventional system of representation, “... tout celafinirait bien par prendre la configuration d’une nouvelleexistence” (185).That new existence is based on a new mode ofrepresentation. The repeated dislocation of the readerwithin the text through lists, multiple self-reflexivity,and word—association renders the process of reading162analogous to that of the wandering Jew: reading as a form ofmeditation through memory association: “[l)a rencontre avecune ville[—livre). Tu te perdais souvent, revenant mulefols au méme endroittl (17). To dwell, that is, to dwell ona subject, to think about it, becomes a form of wandering.As with Picture Theory, and each of the other novels studiedhere, the plot and its content are less important than theireffect on the reader’s memory, their attempt to alter he/rmode of cognition.As the protagonist wanders, she traces precisely thepattern of identifications described by de Lauretis: “[e]llese serait constituée pour elle—même des analogies, desreperes, des événements avec lesquels ici elle pourraits’identifier. Des luttes qu’elle comprendrait, un langagecommun” (116). She seeks identifications with socialist,feminist, nationalist and immigrant causes (124). However,she is constantly reminded that “ON NE DEVIENT JAMAISVRAIMENT QUEBECOIS” (36).And yet although the novel concludes with her return toParis, the possibility of some form of dwelling issuggested, not in any one part of the city, but in a moreholographic, non—local sense as she wanders in the city.That dwelling is also found in the image of a porous or163permeable body exchanging elements with its surroundings4and thus becoming part of its surroundings. She realizeshow she should have entered the country, that is,appropriately, through an image that both includes andreverses Northrop Frye’s description of entering Canada:5Ii t’aura fallu laisser parler le langage du corps - Tuauras été pénétrée par ce pays, par sa lumière, sucéepar sa langue gui n’est pas tout a fait la tienne, nitout a fait une autre, fouettée par ses vents du Nord etses poudreries .... Tu auras été portée, happée, dévoréea la va—comme—je—te—pousse. tejetée la plupart du temps,refusée- défaite, refaite - la porosité des lieux at’envahir— sans ordre, ni chronologique, ni logique.la porosité des lieux t’habitait. Ils étaient en toi.Ta seule identité. (50;56)“...[S]ans ordre, ni chronologique, ni logique...”: it issignificant that the word “logis” is now missing from thelist of impossibilities. The book is in the world, theworld is in the book: the body is incorporated into thecountry and the country into the body: a holographicmemory <--in-—> the holomovement. Dwelling is impossibleonly because for the protagonist (elle) it has entailedfixing her (linguistic or physical) surroundings, orrendering them immobile and immutable. As in the case ofthe melting boulders in Surfacing, it is “impossible a4For a discussion of a permeable body and its subversionof identity, see Butler 132—34.5”The traveller from Europe edges into it like a tinyJonah entering an inconceivably large whale, slipping past theStraits of Belle Isle into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, wherefive Canadian provinces surround him, for the most partinvisible. ... {T]o enter Canada is a matter of being silentlyswallowed by an alien continent.” (Frye 217)164fixer dans cette geographie urbaine, dans cet espacemouvant” (134).The protagonIst’s mistake has been to attempt, throughlanguage, to “fixer tous les signes de la difference” (18).However it is precisely la différance (and la disseminationor la poudrerie) that prohibits this. Even as theprotagonist attempts to fix reality and language, she mustquestion: “[s]erait—il possible de trouver une position dansle langage, un point d’appui, un repère fixe, un pointstable, quelque chose qui aricre la parole?” (18) Both deLauretis and Bohm would respond that it is possible, butthat such an anchor can only be temporary.A similar movement to the exchange between self andenvironment takes place on the level of the writing of thenovel. The already blurred distinction between thenarrator—protagonist and her protagonist begins to disappearas the first remarks that{c)e personnage fantôme m’échappe. Impossible de fixerdans cette géographie urbaine, dans cet espace mouvant.Des qu’elle est installée, intégrée, elle s’enfuit,deménage, et m’oblige a casser le récit alors que jecommençais a m’y installer moi—même.... (134)And then:Le texte m’échappe. Je le sens glisser.... Ce personnageencore une fois m’échappe. Je finis par me laisserprendre a son histoire. Je finis par croire a la réalitéde Mime Yente.... fJje finis par vouloir suivre uneintrigue, un semblant d’histoire avec un debut et unefin. Je finis par vouloir un brin d’ordre, de logique,un lieu quoi.... Je finis par avoir la nostalgie durécit.... Elle finit par me prendre par la main, par meguider.... Elle veut sa place, toute sa place. Elle sortdu papier. Elle s’installe. (180—181)165A chiasmic exchange occurs as the writer begins to installherself in the book and the protagonist installs herself inthe world. The quest to fix chronology, narrative and placecan only end in writing (and here we return to Derrida andthe wandering, writing Jew), in textuality, but a textualitythat is nonetheless material: “[rien qu’un désir d’écritureet cette proliferation d’existence ... du language jouissanttout seul, du corps sans sujet” (15).It is only in that writing, in her Jewish identity, thatthe protagonist finds a sense of belonging or dwelling, evenif that dwelling is by nature nomadic. Just as her memoryfunctions as the wandering Jew, when she gives up theproject of “fixing” reality she finds a form of dwelling inconstant movement and transformation: she and her partner“ne se sentiraient totalement eux—mêmes qu’en marchant, entraversant les différents quartiers” (184). And in a sitein which she has never been: “[lej Shtetl son vrai paysqu’elle n’aurait jamais connu” (100).Even as she wanders between the French of France, thatof Québec, English, Yiddish and Spanish, she dwells inHebrew: “dans le fond tu as toujours habité un langage,” alanguage “carrefour, errant connie tol” (135). In hisdiscussion of the rheoniode, Bohm refers to Hebrew as onelanguage which is based on the verb, on movement and change,rather than on the noun (Bohm 30). And for the protagonist,Hebraic letters are alive; they have feet, they run, they166move, they shift and transform themselves from one letter toanother (135). Hebrew is material in a manner that othersare not; it resists the process of signification (87). Shereads these letters for themselves, a la lettre; she reads“{cjes lettres finement dessinées” (135) for their shapesand for their taste (87). Hebrew, more clearly than anyother language, achieves for her a textuality/materiality bywhich it incorporates and acts on reality (136). Hebrew is“une image graphique gui est tout un paysage. Un langagesang, mort, blessure, un langage pogrom et peur. Un langagemémoire” (135). Hebrew is a place, a memory of the future,a place which becomes becoming itself (135; see alsoDerrida, “Edmond Jabès” 101—102).Gradually, Québec will also be transformed by memory.The attempt to fix differences through writing paradoxicallyleads to the transformation of those differences: “{l]aparole immigrante derange.... Elle n’a pas de lieuinsituable, intenable... [e)lle deplace, transforme,travaille le tissu même de cette ville éclatée” (197). Themateriality of language, of semiotic invention, alters thefabric of the city itself.167From the materiality of language to a marxist materialityIn the first part of this chapter, as in each of thepreceding ones, I have attempted to elucidate how aholographic memory may form a politically useful cognitivestrategy that can alter social reality. At the same time,each of the texts discussed has, like a fragment of ahologram, revealed another perspective on that holographicmemory. This is also true for La Ouébécoite. As this textinscribes itself holographically, it also inscribes anotherpossible political agenda into the hologram, while expandingupon its episteinological implications. One importantthematic line through this text is the search for leftistcauses with which to identify, and a lamentation of the lackof a socialist movement in Québec (124). As I have alreadynoted, the lists of banks, stores and menus produce thesemiotic environment while dislocating the reader andformally creating a holographic memory. Those lists alsocomment on the effect of multinational capitalism on Québecand its culture. The protagonist contrasts her own leftistpolitics withun Quebec [sic] cokeun Quebec french friesun Quebec avec des rôties, de la relish et duketchupdes oeufs retournés et du baconun Quebec carte de credits [sic]American ExpressChargexMaster ChargeDiner’s Club168un Quebec multinationales du PétroleTexacoShellEssoGulf Oilun Québec Molsonun Québec Labattun Québec Pepsicolonie (83—4)By depicting Québécois as “Pepsis,” derided by an anglophonemajority, and as colonized by Pepsi, Robin explores therelationships between nationality and class. Thus as shedescribes Sherbrooke, she wanders further east where “letissu se déchire. Le Sherbrooke des pauvres de la mélasse,du bas de la yule, du pétrole, des usines. Le Sherbrooke oul’on ne va jamais, ou l’on ne parle que le français” (79).Robin then expands this culturally-based class system toinclude new immigrants. The protagonist’s partner in thethird section of the novel, who immigrated from Paraguay andwho lives above the Marché Jean Talon, works in a cardboardbox factory. He is one of those who would benefit most by aclass upheaval. However,[i]l ne se plaindrait pas sachant que dans ce pays, iiresterait éternellement un citoyen de seconde zone — lesimmigrants ne font pas de politigue — on aurait refusede lui donner la citoyenneté parce que trop marqué,subversif, dangereux pour la sécurité nationale. (177)The cognitive dissonance created by those lists, thedifficulty experienced in cognitive mapping this text/citymay also be lInked to what Fredric Jameson has termed a“postmodern hyperspace.” Without entering into a discussion169on periodization, I would like to draw out some of thesimilarities between this hyperspace and the holographicspaces discussed in this dissertation. Because of thethematic link, I will begin with the points of correlationbetween this hyperspace and La Ouébécoite before moving onto the holomovement in general and suggesting that thisholographic paradigm might offer the beginnings of anaesthetic of cognitive mapping: what Jameson suggests mayprovide a capacity to effect political change in this newspace.In Postmodernism. or the Cultural Logic of LateCapitalism, Fredric Jameson, like Teresa de Lauretis,utilizes the notion of cognitive mapping to suggest apolitical project. Employing architectural and literaryexamples to support his theory of postmodernism, he proposesthat one of the key indicators of postmodern culture is amutation in, or a transformation of built space. Jamesonasserts that “we do not yet possess the perceptual equipmentto match this new hyperspace, as I will call it, in partbecause our perceptual habits were formed in that older kindof space I have called the space of high modernism” (38-39).He claims that the human body lacks the perceptual apparatusto locate itself and to cognitively map its own position inits urban environment, and draws an analogy to “theincapacity of our minds, at least at present, to map thegreat global multinational and decentered communicational170network in which we find ourselves caught as individualsubjects” (44).This postmodern hyperspace is characterized inarchitecture by an attempt to create a new totality withinurban space, a miniature city within a city, a replacementor substitute (40) for the city itself. Jameson describesthe Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles to illustrate themanner in which the postmodern building downplays itsentrance to create a disjunction between itself and itssurroundings; it refuses to be a part of the city. Inaddition, a reflective glass exterior repels the city,turning it back on itself and refusing it entry. Finally,this space has no volume: it is filled with decorativestructures thatsuffuse this empty space in such a way as to distractsystematically and deliberately from whatever form itmight be supposed to have, while a constant businessgives the feeling that emptiness is here absolutelypacked, that it is an element within which you yourselfare immersed, without any of that distance that formerlyenabled the perception of perspective of volume (42).In addition to an architectural example, Jamesonperforms a literary analysis of Kevin Lynch’s The Image ofthe City, in which he suggests that “the alienated city isabove all a space in which people are unable to map (intheir minds) either their own positions or the urbantotality in which they find themselves” (51). Theresolution to this predicament would then entailthe practical reconquest of a sense of place and theconstruction or reconstruction of an articulated171ensemble which can be retained in memory and which theindividual subject can map and remap along the momentsof mobile, alternative trajectories. (51)The space of La Ouébécoite is not at all unlike thehyperspace described by Jameson. “La Québécoite” replacesune Ouébécoise; in its multi-ethnic character, it alsoreplaces la Ouébécitude that Québec literature has for solong attempted to define. The reflective exterior of theBonaventure Hotel that repels the city corresponds to themultiple self-reflexivity of the text: the autobiographicalnovel of a writer writing a novel of a writer writing anovel of a writer of history. The distinction between whatis written and what is written about is blurred and confusedby these repeated reflections. The entrance into L.Ouébécoite is as confused and convoluted as the entranceinto the Bonaventure Hotel, which, as Jameson writes, takesone through back doors and long passageways which end up onthe sixth floor, from which one has to walk down one flightof stairs before reaching an elevator to the lobby. Thetitle of Robin’s novel itself is designed to be enigmaticand on the cover of the book it is juxtaposed with a pictureof an Eastern European Gypsy camp. After the epigraphs fromJabès and Kafka, the first section, “Snowdon,” begins with:“Pas d’ordre. Ni chronologique, ni logique, ni logis” (15).There is no order nor logic to the short sentence fragmentsthat follow; they take on meaning only as one advancesthrough the text. (Like Picture Theory, this text is an172example of an innovative use of spatial form.) Suddenlythese thought—fragments mutate into fragments of overheardconversations in a café, resulting in extreme pronominalconfusion. Then the reader encounters the first image ofgetting lost in a city, and the lists begin (15-17). Asdiscussed above, the metro lines, like the passageways intothe hotel Jameson describes (but for a very differentreason) lead nowhere; the protagonist only gets so far andthen, because of a memory, t1a ligne se perd dans [s]amémoire” (70).As for the lack of volume and perspective, and the busyness of the space, the ostensible attempt to create volumein La Québécoite fills the novel with so many lists that thereader is dislocated and finds it difficult to situatehe/rself. A holographic memory within a holomovement is theepitome of immersion; there is no possibility whatsoever fordistanciation. Robin, even more clearly than Jameson,illustrates how it is possible to project the difficulty ofcognitively mapping physical, urban space onto largernational and global spaces. Montréal is depicted as part ofa global market. However, with her reference to Québec ascolonized by Pepsi and her assertion that “les immigrants nefont pas de politique” (177), Robin increases the complexityof that global space by adding the dimension of ethnicity inits relation to class.173Yet even with this added complexity, there remains thepossibility for what Jameson calls “disalienation” (51).Gradually the protagonist becomes familiar with the city andfeels most at home walking through its differentneighbourhoods (184). Similarly, in the process of reading,of learning the rules of this memory—association process,and memorizing the text, the reader comes to be able to “mapand remap along the moments of mobile, alternativetrajectories” (Jameson 51) of the text itself.The space which Jameson describes is different from theholomovement; whereas Bohm refers to a transformation of theperception of space, Jameson writes of a mutation in spaceitself, and deals exclusively with built space. Andalthough the notion of quantum reality as built space is anintriguing one, it is certainly beyond the bounds of thisdissertation. In addition, Jameson retains the notion ofindividual subjects as separate from their environment (44);complete immersion is part of the problem (42). He alsowrites of the necessity of a “reconquest of a sense ofplace” (51). A holographic memory-space is absoluteimmersion; it allows only very temporary separations intoindividual subjects, as well as temporary transformations of174space into place.6 However, there are some similaritiesbetween postmodern alienation, as defined by Jameson, andthe feminist and post—colonial alienations discussed in thisdissertation, and it is possible that these differences arepart of a transformation of the relation between self andspace that is necessary to an aesthetic of cognitivemapping.Jameson points out that the process of cognitivemapping, while representational, is not exactly mimetic:“the theoretical issues it poses allow us to renew theanalysis of representation on a higher and much more complexlevel” (51). The complexities based on expectations andsensory organ limitations discussed in the first chapter ofthis dissertation with reference to Blakemore are oneexample of why a cognitive map is not mimetic. Jameson alsopoints out the differences between cognitive mapping andcartography; a cognitive map is more of an itinerary than amap (52): a map constantly in process. Added to this is thecomplexity of the mental equivalent of the “unresolvable(well—nigh Heisenbergian) dilemma of the transfer of curvedspace to flat charts” (52).This dilemma was discussed in different terms at thebeginning of this study and reiterated at the beginning ofthis chapter in the question, posed by Derrida, of what6For a discussIon of the relation between space andplace, see Edward Reiph, Place and Placelessness, 63—78.175happens when two—dimensional writing ceases to be the modelfor meaning. Since a holographic memory is merely onefrequency of a holomovement, this theory takes the conceptof cognitive mapping even further away from mimeticrepresentation. Brossard’s Picture Theory is one attempt ata three—dimensional cognitive map, an attempt to resolvethat “Heisenbergian dilemma” of the transfer of threedimensional space to a book. As such it explores adifferent mode of representation, reproducing not a “thing”but the process of knowing that thing. La Ouébécoite doesthis as well, with its wandering memory. What Jamesonsays of postmodern hyperspace may be said of the space ofboth Picture Theory and La Ouébécoite: “ft)his spacecannot represent motion but can only be represented inmotion” (44).Jameson, like de Lauretis, uses Aithusser and Lacan totransfer the basic notion of the cognitive map situating asubject in physical space to its correlative in socialspace. He does so by tracing the history of cartographyfrom the precartographic cognitive map (which situates thesubject in its immediate surroundings) to the itinerary(which adds movement) to the use of a compass (whichsituates the subject by coordinating “existential data (theempirical position of the subject) with unlived, abstractconceptions of the geographic totality” (52). He thenemploys Aithusser to transfer the process of cognitive176mapping to social space, through the notion ofinterpellation and Althusser’s (and Lacan’s) definition ofideology as “the representation of the subject’s Imaginaryrelationship to his or her Real conditions of existence”(Althusser cited by Jameson 51). This transfer “enable[s)a situational representation on the part of the individualsubject to that vaster and properly unrepresentabletotality which is the ensemble of society’s structure as awhole” (51), for example, to “social class and national orinternational context, in terms of the ways in which we allnecessarily also cognitively map our individual socialrelationship to local, national, and international classrealities” (52).According to Jameson, the present crisis, that ofpostmodern hyperspace, stems from the inability to map ourpresent position in that space. He suggests that the wayout of this crisis is to develop[a]n aesthetic of cognitive mapping - a pedagogicalpolitical culture which seeks to endow the individualsubject with some new heightened sense of its place inthe global system [which]- will necessarily have torespect this now enormously complex representationaldialectic and invent radically new forms in order to doit justice. This is not then, clearly, a call for areturn to some older kind of machinery, some older andmore transparent national space, or some moretraditional and reassuring perspectival or mimeticenclave: the new political art (if it is possible atall) will have to hold to the truth of postmodernism,that is to say, to its fundamental object - the worldspace of multinational capital — at the same time atwhich it achieves a breakthrough to some as yetunimaginable new mode of representing this last, inwhich we may again begin to grasp our positioning asindividual and collective subjects and regain a capacity177to act and struggle which is at present neutralized byour spatial as well as our social confusion. Thepolitical form of postiuodernism, if there ever is any,will have as its vocation the invention and projectionof a global cognitive mapping, on a social as well as aspatial scale. (54)La Ouébécoite, a text that is clearly dealing with theworld space of multinational capital, reads through aholographic memory to at least begin to elucidate anaesthetic of cognitive mapping. The manner in which it doesso indicates that the notion of a holographic memory, as ithas here been outlined, might offer some manner of dealingwith Jameson’s theory of postmodern hyperspace. To testthis hypothesis conclusively would, of course, entail agreat deal of further research and analysis. However, theholographic memory does, I think, suggest a new mode ofcognitive mapping, of “knowing” space and of (temporarily)positioning the processual subject within it in a mannerwhich provides that subject with the capacity to interactwith it.In/conclusion: a writIng that is never wholeTo point towards Fredric Jameson’s suggestions regardingthe cognitive mapping of postmodern hyperspace is to open upan entirely new possible area of relevance for theholographic theory discussed here. During the course of my178analyses I have indicated other possible avenues ofresearch, such as the relation between the holoinovement andchaos theory, theories of virtual reality and possiblealliances between a holographic theory and First Nationsepistemologies. By employing Derridean terms and operationssuch as dissemination and deconstruction, I have alsoimplied that it may be possible to read Derrida through thisholographic memory. To attempt to do so would necessitate atracing of the historical and philosophical development ofDerrida’s “iuémoires,” another task that is beyond the boundsof this study. It is impossible to predict whether or notany of these possibilities could lead to further inventions.What I have proposed here is only a beginning.This dissertation has been an attempt to integratetheory and literary textual analysis,7 theoretical andscientific “abstractions” and political practices. I haveargued that more radical changes in habitual modes ofthought are necessary in order to effectuate the social andpolitical changes desired by feminist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist activists. If, as theorists such as de Lauretishave argued, subjects and their environments are in aconstant process of mutual construction, then one strategyof political art is to attempt to change the “map” of social7One might respond that the two are always alreadyintegrated, and I would agree; but more often than not theyare treated separately, atomistically, in that theory isseparated from and applied (or not) to literary texts.179reality through processes such as that of semioticinvention. However, to change that map can, like redrawingthe humanist line, simply result in a shift of subjectpositions within an identical power structure. A change inthe mode of mapping itself, while apparently a more abstractand theoretical task, may lead to more profound changes inthat map.This study has suggested an alternative iaode of mappingthrough a holographic theory, but also through the manner inwhich that theory was developed. Nicole Brossard’s PictureTheory provided a means to do this since it functionssimultaneously as theory and novel. It produces aholographic memory which Bohm’s theory expands into anepistemological process. Each of the subsequent chaptersattempted to draw more of the holographic theory out of thenovels under consideration, employing the theory to analyzethem and then asking in what way they alter or add to thetheory. Scientists such as Pribram and Bohm, and theoristssuch as flerrida, were read less as “theory,” which is oftentreated as somehow more rigorous or closer to “truth,” thanas intertext.I began with a semiotics of subjectivity, which Teresade Lauretis employs to trace the interaction between asubject—in—process and he/r environment—in—process. Shecombines notions of cognitive and semiotic mapping in orderto suggest that by altering the mode of mapping,180re-organizing that process and shifting the relationshipsamong map, mapper and mapped, a subject can produce aninvention which can eventually alter he/r semioticenvironment (Alice 55). Memory is implicit in de Lauretis’semiotics; it is necessary to both the notion of a cognitivemap and that of subjectivity. Nicole Brossard’s holographicmemory suggests how memory might function in the process ofinvention, as Picture Theory attempts to alter mimeticrepresentation by indirectly representing cognition itself.When read in conjunction with Bohm’s theory of theholomovement, that cognition becomes a form of cognitivemapping, of situating self in its environment. However,this holographic theory also transforms the process ofcognitive mapping, because self and environment conflate; asboth subjects and objects are constructed as temporaryanchorings, habits or relatively autonomous subtotalities,the possibilities for invention are increased and expanded.To introduce this holographic theory in conjunction with deLauretis’ semiotics enables further development of herproject on the politics of self-representation, not only byexpanding it beyond her concern with gender, but also byaltering the notions of self and representation which sheemploys.It is not surprising that Bohm’s holographic theoryworks in conjunction with Picture Theory. However, to beable to expand that hologram in a manner that furthers the181political projects of a variety of other unrelated texts isto suggest that it may be significant to the work ofminority politics in general. Like the semiotics of Teresade Lauretis, this holographic cognitive strategy appears tobe “transportable”; it is not limited to the context inwhich it was developed, but may be deployed structurally ina variety of situations. At a time of fragmentation betweendifferent political groups, a holographic theory may formthe ground for alliances. By encouraging differentperspectives on the hologram, the hologram acknowledgesdifferences. By its very fluidity and its refusal to setitself up as “truth” or as a true representation of reality,it also avoids establishing itself as a dominant discourse.It both encourages difference and alters itself toaccommodate difference.For example, Brossard’s political program seeks tointegrate women into historical and social reality. Sheattempts to alter the process of cognition in order tomodify language in such a manner as to integrate women intothat language. By focussing on thought as a hologram, she“invents” a form of cognition that bypasses mimeticrepresentation and thus also bypasses the “violence ofwriting.” Bohm’s notion of the holomovement theorizes areality which also resists representation. To readBrossard’s holographic memory as a frequency of Bohm’sholomovement is to imagine a form of cognitive mapping that182is highly conducive to invention. Margaret Atwood’sSurfacing also strives for a form of integration: a sense of“dwelling.” A holographic memory in a holomovementconflates subject and object and thus offers one possibilityof “dwelling” that is an alternative to the shamanictransformation undergone by Atwood’s protagonist. However,it avoids attempting to elevate itself to the status of asacred text because it makes no claim to be a “true”description of reality; it is only one possibility, but onethat encourages invention. At the same time, Surfacingproduces another perspective on this holographic theory. Itadds a post-colonial politics, expands the notion ofintegration to include space (physical and/or national) aswell as time or history and adds resolution to the notion ofholographic cognitive mapping.On one level, Marlene Nourbese Philip’s Looking forLivingstone also seeks to “dwell”; however, in this casethat dwelling signifies a recuperation of indigeneity.However, “Livingstone” is also livingstone, part of aholomovement. As such it bypasses the transcendent term ofSilence, and points towards the process of attaining thatterm. This shift in focus is also holographic; like thehologram of Picture Theory, it pays attention not toatomistic terms, particle-like signifiers and signifieds andutopian teleologies, but to the process of cognition that isrequired to imagine those utopias.183Post-colonial politics suggest that non-Natives reject atechnique of indigenization such as that of Atwood.Therefore, rather than attempting to establish arelationship between the holographic theory and BeatriceCulleton’s In Search of April Raintree, I have drawn out aparallel tendency between the two. Focussing on the oralityof Culleton’s text and the epistemology of oral culture, Ihave begun to demonstrate that there are similaritiesbetween that epistemology and a holographic one. Althoughmuch more work needs to be done in this area, thesimilarities promise at least the possibility of a politicaland philosophical alliance. And that alliance would add tothe theory precisely by not adding to it; it supplements thehologram, showing that it is not whole, that it cannotattain closure.Because of its structural and thematic resemblance toPicture Theory and its explicit use of semiotics, RegineRobin’s La Ouébécoite is easily read in terms of aholographic memory. It also synthesizes the differentdesires to dwell that are the impetus of each of the novelsdiscussed: linguistic, historical, national, spatial andcultural. In addition, it adds a multinational, globalelement that connects this holographic theory to FredricJameson’s notion of an aesthetic of cognitive mapping.Despite its apparent claim to be a holos gramma, and thewide relevance for which I have argued, a holographic theory184makes no claims to universality. The holos is offset by theinherent incompleteness of “writing”: its participation inthe logic of the supplement (Derrida, Of Grammatology 7).Although its process is holistic, it resists closure byrefusing any claim to “truth.” Because it alters therelationship between map and terrain, it makes noterritorial claims. It is merely a suggestion of aprovisional and potentially strategic construct with whichto think, one means of mapping reality that may induce aframe of mind that is capable of altering that reality.To combine Brossard’s holographic memory with Bohm’sholomovement and to read them semiotically is to suggest acognitive strategy that employs memory as process. As thetextual analyses performed in this study indicate by theiradditions to the theory, that cognitive strategy itself isalways in process: it can never be complete. Because memoryis that which both contains and works knowledge, thisconcept of memory may develop into an epistemologicalstrategy, a strategy that would alter the meaning ofknowledge, of what it means to know. A holographic memorytransforms both the method of knowing, as it isconventionally represented, and the ground of thatknowledge. In a holographic theory, both method and groundbecome fluid interaction. Knowing replaces knowledge of anything. What becomes important are the “significant effects”of signs as they pass through each consciousness/body and185produce an effect or an action upon the world (de Lauretis,Technologies of Gender 42). As David Bohm puts it,Thought is play. And you have to play with thought anddiscover to what extent it has any significance[strategic, political, culturall rather than to sayyou’re grasping truth. (Bohm 363)186BibliographyAshcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiff in. ThEmpire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-ColonialLiteratures. 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