The Name of the River: A Creative and Critical Approach to Reading and Writing the Southwestern Ontario Short Story

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Michell, Stephen
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University of Guelph

This project approaches the study of the Canadian short story both creatively and critically, with a specific focus on the short story in Southwestern Ontario or “Souwesto.” In a critical analysis of, first, Sherwood Anderson, then E. Pauline Johnson, Alice Munro, and Douglas Glover through the lens of what Lee Maracle calls “Indigenous responsibility” and framed with the thinking of cultural theorists such as Thomas King and Frederick Moten, this project argues that a shift from looking at the short story to looking with the short story may offer new possibilities for a multivalent and specifically an “Indigenized” study of Canadian literature. The three short stories that comprise the creative portion of the project engage the question: how do I, as a white, male, “Canadian” writer, position myself responsibly within the landscape of Canadian cultural production, and what does it mean to write short stories in a responsible way?

short story, Southwestern Ontario, Sherwood Anderson, Alice Munro, E. Pauline Johnson, Douglas Glover, Lee Maracle, Indigenous responsibility