Imagining Care: Responsibility, Dependency, and Canadian Literature
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.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 232 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.4in
‘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.’
Modern Fiction Studies vol 63:04:2017
"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
"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
“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
“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
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
Subjects and Courses