Margaret Laurence's Epic Imagination
University of Alberta, Dec 23, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 186 pages
Although at times painfully insecure about her creative ability and achievement, Margaret Laurence nevertheless remained fiercely loyal to her artistic vision, an archetypal vision of loss, exile and redemption that sought comprehensive expression in the epic mode that shapes the Bible, Dante's Divine Comedy, Milton's Paradise Lost, and ultimately the Manawaka world of Hagar Shipley, Rachel Cameron, Stacey MacAindra, and Morag Gunn. Paul Comeau traces the development of Margaret Laurence's epic voice from its tentative beginnings in her African fiction to its culmination in the epic Manawaka Cycle, a Dantesque journey through an infernal state of self-destructive pride, out of a purgatorial paralysis of self-doubt, and on to a kind of paradisal fulfillment in self-knowledge. Laurence discovered in epic a fitting mode at once to requite her debt to the ancestors and to break free of their influence to portray the world through the sight of her own eyes. In so doing, she became the enduring epic voice of a country and a generation.
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