Beyond Realism: Raymond Knister's White Narcissus

Paul Denham


White Narcissus contains undeniably realistic elements in its description of farm life, but realism is not an adequate category to describe Raymond Knister's novel. The gothic and the grotesque have long traditions in Canadian fiction; White Narcissus contains gothic elements as well as realistic ones. The novel derives much of its power as a picture of life in southwestern Ontario from the tension it sets up between the two ways of seeing the world which these two traditions represent.

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