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Volume 33, Number 2 (2008)

"The Little State of Africadia Is a Community of Believers": Replacing the Regional and Remaking the Real in the Work of George Elliott Clarke

March 31, 2009


Through his creative, critical, and editorial contributions to Canadian literature, George Elliott Clarke provides an aesthetic alternative to traditional definitions of regionalism, especially because he lived a large proportion of his life outside the province that formed his literary sensibility. Whereas generations of scholars have studied regionalist writing primarily as the mimetic representation of a stable and pre-existing geographical reality, Clarke's work partially reverses this formulation, dovetailing with Roberto Maria Dainotto's critique of regionalist discourse. Rather than replicating the home place, his "Africadian" writings, such as his anthology Fire on the Water (1991), reject standard interpretations of his native cultural geography and aggressively demand a real transformation of contemporary Nova Scotian social space.