In Ordinary Time

Benning, Sheri-Lynne Marie (2015) In Ordinary Time. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

In Ordinary Time consists of two parts, a critical introduction and novel. Focused by my sister Heather Benning’s site-specific sculptural installations, the introductory essays perform a fine topography of place, specifically of the wilderness and watersheds of my natal home in central Saskatchewan, a landscape exhausted by the current reign of corporate agriculture. While each essay can be considered discretely, they are better read as a whole as themes, stories, and various thinkers are returned to in the manner of leitmotifs. With each return, understanding deepens and alters – this movement suggestive of the ongoing nature of my meditation on place, how it shapes who we are. To further trace my continued engagement with these themes, the introduction is interleaved with poems from my collection of new and selected, The Season’s Vagrant Light (Carcanet Press 2015). Similarly, In Ordinary Time constitutes an archive of the subtleties that generate a sense of place. Set mainly between the mid-1930s and the mid-1950s, the novel centres on eight-year-old Luke Abend and his mother, Magda, descendents of German-speaking, Catholic Russians, who immigrated to rural Saskatchewan to escape religious persecution. Their intertwined narratives, which give voice to the harsh exigencies of life on a subsistence farm, reveal that not only ancestral history and inherited faith determine identity, but also that intimacy with place shapes who we are. Refashioned from the remnants of the family farm, both In Ordinary Time and the introductory essays will stand in stark contrast with Saskatchewan’s corporatized prairie. These works will invite the reader in, even as she is expelled by the current un-livability of the milieux. By coupling the sensation of intimate dwelling with the contemporary reality of rural abandonment, these projects will make manifest the complex costs attendant to the dramatic shift in Saskatchewan’s farming terrain.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Geophilosophy, ecocriticism, Canadian literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Schmidt, Professor Michael
Date of Award: 2015
Embargo Date: 8 October 2017
Depositing User: Sheri-Lynne Benning
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6752
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2015 16:00
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2015 16:59
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6752

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