By Dianne Tiefensee
During this re-evaluation 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 handle, or maybe understand, the unconventional nature of Derrida's conception. 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 decided 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
5 The structure of the sign carries within itself the trace of a perennial alterity. " Thus, he ''simultaneously provokes the overturning of the hierarchy speech/writing, and the entire system attached to it, and releases the dissonance of a writing within speech, thereby disorganizing the entire inherited order and invading the 23 Derridean Deconstruction entire field" (Derrida igSid, 42). This writing (the structure always already inhabited by the trace6) is undecidability and, as such, is also the name of the double gesture that effaces the presence of a concept (Presence, as defined by Western metaphysics, cannot be structured or inhabited by alterity) and yet keeps it legible.
Just as authors should make their own stories, so critics should make their own theories; Bowering wishes "that there be a little less application of theoretical systems, or perhaps the same amount of application, but of more people's systems - in other words, fewer Bakhtinian readings of Canadian texts, for example, and more ec- 38 Deconstruction, Postmodernism, and Kroetsch centric, unsystematized, unorganized readings according to personal, original theories" (Bowering in Moss 1987, 242). 8 But even though most definitions of postmodernism contain terms coined by Derrida - "deconstruct(ion)," "differance," "undecidability," and "under erasure" - and most Canadian postmodern theorists allude to him, Frank Davey is the one who most openly discusses what he sees as Derrida's importance to postmodernism.
8 But even though most definitions of postmodernism contain terms coined by Derrida - "deconstruct(ion)," "differance," "undecidability," and "under erasure" - and most Canadian postmodern theorists allude to him, Frank Davey is the one who most openly discusses what he sees as Derrida's importance to postmodernism. He notes that questions concerning the relative priority of speech and writing have appeared frequently in Canadian writing since 1960, both anticipating and echoing Derrida's 1967 comments on logocentric and phonocentric elements in Western culture.