UBC Theses and Dissertations
The Robert Kroetsch alphabet book : sketches of a thesis Fero, Alanna Carlene
Robert Kroetsch, a contemporary Canadian novelist, poet, and critic, can often be found investigating systems of ordering: he examines their contrasting characteristics of symmetry and arbitrariness; necessity and inanity; their potential to be both banal and surprising. My thesis on Robert Kroetsch's aesthetic comprises twenty-six chapters, each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. Kroetsch's work has increasingly come to be affiliated with the "language poets"; his absorption with system invariably leads him back to the nature of the linguistic sign, and the possibilities and limitations of significance. For example, both Kroetsch's most recent novel, What the Crow Said, and "The Sad Phoenician," a long poem in which he reflects upon his identity as a writer, focus on the alphabet. In Crow, the nature of the alphabet as a paradoxically enabling and confining structure is explored thematically; in "Phoenician," the alphabetization of stanzas forms the enabling and confining structure of the text. Thus, the form of my thesis responds to those of Kroetsch; it is a form which becomes, finally, a thesis in itself.
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