By Dianne Tiefensee
During this second look of the paintings of Robert Kroetsch, who has been hailed as one of many fathers of post-modernism, Dianne Tiefensee argues that Kroetsch's "deconstruction" fails to deal with, or perhaps understand, the novel nature of Derrida's thought. Tiefensee contends that Kroetsch and his critics have, to some extent, misunderstood the results of Derrida's "deconstruction" and cling to a Bloomian "misreading" that's firmly grounded in conventional philosophy. She addresses the metaphysical presuppositions that govern Kroetsch's feedback, literary conception, and novels and considers the level to which his theoretical pronouncements have made up our minds his critics' readings of his paintings, concluding that Kroetsch reaffirms the very values, conventions, and attitudes he claims to withstand.
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Extra resources for "The Old Dualities": Deconstructing Robert Kroetsch and His Critics
One of the two terms controls the other (axiologically, logically, etc), or has the upper hand. To deconstruct the opposition, first of all, is to overturn the hierarchy at a given moment" (41). But in the second phase (produced collaterally with the first), this reversal must be displaced; the apparently exalted term must be reinscribed. The (deconstructing) reader must make room for "the irruptive emergence of a new 'concept,' a concept that can no longer be, and never could be, included in the previous regime [system of oppositions]" (42).
But that loss need not be a debilitating one" (Hutcheon 19883, 23; emphasis added). What Hutcheon does not see is that this loss is not debilitating precisely because it is not a loss. A loss of faith in our "master" narratives is, according to Jean-Francois Lyotard, the cause and guiding force behind postmodernism, and Kroetsch also subscribes to this theory. However, "the narcissistic indulgence characteristic of the literature of exhaustion [surfiction, metafiction]" (Ross 1985, 65) inevitably leads to solipsism and therefore reaffirms strategies of power rather than subverting them.
Come] to denote not any specific literary movement ... but the gamey, ontologically floating and simultaneously totalizing and decentralizing culture [he] had tried to name in 1973 [in From Here to There]" (Davey 1988, 107; emphasis added). Brian Edwards also refers to postmodern asserting while subverting. "The artifice and power of the printed word, the authority of the writer to prescribe reality, and the consequent reminder that the text's presented versions of reality are fictions are all foregrounded in What the Crow Said" (Edwards 19873, 106-7).