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Vol 39  No 5
Nov. 2, 2006


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Pratt expert to deliver Pratt Lecture at Memorial

by Leslie Vryenhoek

Dr. Susan Gingell

One of the principal authorities on the writing of poet E. J. Pratt and how oral traditions influence literature will deliver Memorial University’s 2006 Pratt Lecture on Friday, Nov. 17.

Dr. Susan Gingell, a professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan, will explore the “noise” in Canadian literature during this public lecture, titled Towards an Aesthetic of Noise: Writing the Oral in the Canadian Context.

“A central question I’m seeking to answer is why some writers introduce voices that may seem loud, uncultivated, or even vulgar,” explained Dr. Gingell, who has published widely on eminent Newfoundland poet E. J. Pratt and is a leading Canadian scholar on the oral nature of Canadian writing.

Such writing, said Dr. Gingell, often seems at odds with the popular conception of poetry as a refined and cultivated form. “Pratt’s often rollicking soundscapes and representation of regional and working class vernaculars, and his fondness for invective make his work exemplary of noisy literature.”

Dr. Gingell has edited two volumes of the series of The Complete Works of E. J. Pratt, and has published widely on the eminent Newfoundland poet.

Through her exploration of the local and vernacular, Dr. Gingell challenges our standard conceptions of identity, nation and literature. Newfoundland literature, she noted, rooted as it is in a sometimes garrulous and often irreverent oral tradition, is an ideal medium for this consideration of self through noise and performance.

Dr. Gingell has published on Commonwealth literature, decolonization and postcolonialism, aboriginal writing, orality and literature, and Canadian poetry. Most recently, she edited a special issue of Essays on Canadian Writing, titled Textualizing Orature and Orality. She is currently writing a book tentatively titled Talk that Walks on the Page: Textualized Orature and Orality in Canada.

Dr. Gingell will deliver the Pratt Lecture on Friday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. in the Reid Theatre, in the Arts and Administration Building on Memorial’s St. John’s campus. All welcome; free admission. Free parking will be available in Lot 15.

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