Masculine Migrations: Reading the Postcolonial Male in New Canadian Narratives
Published: May 1998© 1998
216 Pages, 6.00 x 8.97 x 0.63 in
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This book examines the representation of masculinities in the fictions and autobiographies of some of Canada's most exciting writers, including Austin Clarke, Dany Laferrière, Neil Bissoondath, Michael Ondaatje, Ven Begamudré, and Rohinton Mistry, to show how cross-cultural migration disrupts assumed codes for masculine behaviour and practice. It is the first book-length study of masculinities in Canadian literature and also the first to discuss these prominent postcolonial writers in relation to one another.
Coleman founds his study on the belief that literary endeavour is socially productive, reflecting but also participating in the production of social practices and identities, and therefore it is a work of cultural commentary as well as literary criticism. The book contends that we can produce alternative masculinities by reading masculinities that challenge our current assumptions, by reading masculinities that are themselves composed of contradictory segments rather than monolithic wholes, and by reading alternatively to elaborate a plethora of masculinities. By including fragments of the author/critic's own autobiography in the text, it also dispenses with the illusion of the all-knowing, unbiased reader.
Masculine Migrations is cutting-edge scholarship and an eminently readable book, which will challenge, provoke discussion, and encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue.
'Masculine Migrations is an important and compelling book. By introducing a reflexive erotics of reading that sets the personal into dialogue with the critical, Dan Coleman makes the stakes of an ethically responsible criticism clear. His focus on "cross-cultural refractions" shifts the terms of debate through which masculinity, multiculturalism, and postcolonialism have been understood in Canada, moving analysis away from identity politics towards complex processes of identification. This book is a pleasure to read, and it may change how critics of literature write about their reading in the future.'Diana Brydon, University of Guelph
'In Masculine Migrations Dan Coleman seeks a critical language that can begin to engage with the fact of enduring white male privilege in an increasingly multicultural national literature. This book comprises a genuine attempt to negotiate the violent dialectics of pro-feminist masculinism and white postcolonialism, and to use those negotiations as a way of reading a rapidly changing world.'Stephen Slemon, University of Alberta