British Journal of Canadian Studies

Wilderness, the West and the national imaginary in Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Englishman's Boy

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2013), 26, (1), 21–38.

Abstract

Guy Vanderhaeghe scrutinises the garrison image in the wider context of the North American West in The Englishman's Boy. His appropriation of the conventions of the Western lays bare the underpinning ideologies of the genre, especially imperialist assumptions about wilderness and the role that genre and wilderness play in American and Canadian national mythologies. His configuration of the North American West rejects the traditional idea of space as a static background for historical events. This article investigates how Vanderhaeghe rewrites the past of the North American West in spatial terms to expose the interconnection among colonialism, the Western and the national imaginary, and how such remapping presents the Western landscape as a space palimpsestically inscribed by diverse social discourses.

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Wang, Mei-Chuen