For Play and Gaming: Robert Kroetsch’s Ongoing Godgame

Paul Barrett

Abstract


While depictions of play in Kroetsch’s work have been interpreted through a wide range of critical paradigms, his stated interest in “the literal use of game in daily life” has not. In Labyrinths of Voice (1982) Kroetsch describes play and game as “a double thing” and notes how “Play resists the necessary rules of the game.” Focusing on What the Crow Said (1978) and The Studhorse Man (1970), this article demonstrates how game theory and game studies structure Kroetsch’s aesthetics. Kroetsch’s work depicts the confluence of “gamespace” and social space to suggest that that the rules of gaming can transform allegedly serious conceptions of identity, language, gender, and nation; and then, by extending the logic of gamespace to broader social spheres, he reveals how language, identity, and nation are themselves games open to creative acts of subversion.


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