Imagining Care: Responsibility, Dependency, and Canadian Literature

By Amelia DeFalco

© 2016

Imagining Care brings literature and philosophy into dialogue by examining caregiving in literature by contemporary Canadian writers alongside ethics of care philosophy. Through close readings of fiction and memoirs by Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Michael Ignatieff, Ian Brown, and David Chariandy, Amelia DeFalco argues that these narratives expose the tangled particularities of relations of care, dependency, and responsibility, as well as issues of marginalisation on the basis of gender, race, and class.

DeFalco complicates the myth of Canada as an unwaveringly caring nation that is characterized by equality and compassion. Caregiving is unpredictable: one person’s altruism can be another’s narcissism; one’s compassion, another’s condescension or even cruelty. In a country that conceives of itself as a caring society, these texts depict in stark terms the ethical dilemmas that arise from our attempts to respond to the needs of others.  

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.4in
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SKU# SP004108

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2016

    From: $42.00

    Regular Price: $56.00

    ISBN 9781442637030
  • PUBLISHED APR 2016

    From: $42.00

    Regular Price: $56.00

Quick Overview

In a country that conceives of itself as a caring society, Imagined Care discusses texts which depict the ethical dilemmas that arise from our attempts to respond to the needs of others. 

Imagining Care: Responsibility, Dependency, and Canadian Literature

By Amelia DeFalco

© 2016

Imagining Care brings literature and philosophy into dialogue by examining caregiving in literature by contemporary Canadian writers alongside ethics of care philosophy. Through close readings of fiction and memoirs by Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Michael Ignatieff, Ian Brown, and David Chariandy, Amelia DeFalco argues that these narratives expose the tangled particularities of relations of care, dependency, and responsibility, as well as issues of marginalisation on the basis of gender, race, and class.

DeFalco complicates the myth of Canada as an unwaveringly caring nation that is characterized by equality and compassion. Caregiving is unpredictable: one person’s altruism can be another’s narcissism; one’s compassion, another’s condescension or even cruelty. In a country that conceives of itself as a caring society, these texts depict in stark terms the ethical dilemmas that arise from our attempts to respond to the needs of others.  

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.4in
  • Reviews

    "DeFalco enacts a feminist critique that connects ethical philosophies of care to literary representations of caregiving."


    Sirhiy Bilenky, David Eso
    Canadian Literature 232 Spint 2017

    "Imagining Care is a well-written and well-researched book that considers ethical dilemmas in Canadian literature and argues for a reconsideration of the notion that Canada is unquestionably benevolent…The book is an excellent addition to the corpus of critical work on Canadian literature. It points to ways in which writing in Canada addresses urgent questions on the complexities of ethics and care."


    Laura K. Davis, Red Deer College
    University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018

    ‘It is a fine, thought-provoking, and eminently suggestive study… DeFalco undertakes important work in studying care and its effects – not only those effects necessary and desirable, but also those precarious and perilous-on the many who require care and the many others called on to be their caregivers.’


    David Staines
    Modern Fiction Studies vol 63:04:2017

    Imagining Care makes a powerful case for the uses of literature to illuminate the complexities of caregiving.”


    Susan M. Squier, Julia Brill Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English, Pennsylvania State University

    “Delving deeply into what Canadian literature teaches us about obligation and love, Amelia DeFalco illuminates the ethical dimensions of care among family and friends. Canadians like to think that how we care distinguishes us from those who live in the U.S. But DeFalco, pointing to the devastating effects of neoliberalism, suggests that the distinction lies more in how our literature interrogates care than in our actions and policies.”


    Sally Chivers, Department of English, Trent University

    Imagining Care sits at the nexus of moral philosophy, literary narrative, and pragmatic care manuals in a way that will be helpful not only to literary scholars, but also to readers interested in care as an ethical issue. DeFalco reads carefully and writes beautifully.”


    Margery Fee, Department of English, University of British Columbia
  • Author Information

    Amelia DeFalco is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University and the author of Uncanny Subjects: Aging in Contemporary Narrative. In 2009 she received the Polanyi Prize for literature from the Government of Ontario.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Literature, Care, and Canada

    Chapter 1. Embedded and Embodied: Caregiving, Life Writing and the Myth of the Autonomous Individual

    Chapter 2. Moral Obligation, Disordered Care: The Ethics of Caregiving in Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder

    Chapter 3. Caring for Relative Others: Alterity and Narrative in Michael Ignatieff’s Scar Tissue

    Chapter 4. “Parodies of Love”: Demands of Care in Alice Munro

    Chapter 5. Caregiving and Caretaking: Affective Economies in Alice Munro

    Chapter 6. Forgetting and the Forgotten: Care at the Margins in David Chariandy’s Soucouyant

    Conclusion: Imagining The Future of Care

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