Science Imagined | Literature Realized: Truth and Fiction in Canada

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Fortin, Marc A.
Science; Canadian Literature; Postmodernism; Theory; Religion; Faith
In Canada, writers of long fiction have recently begun to employ representations of science and to use scientific theories to construct narratives that investigate issues of class, race, sexuality, faith, truth and the ontological understanding of human existence. This turn towards science in creative works of art suggests that scientific discourse in the early twenty-first century has become a space from which to respond to questions about the search for truth after the rise of poststructuralist theory and postmodern culture. My work investigates this recent turn towards science in contemporary Canadian literature as a way of reevaluating the idea that science is associated with a teleological movement towards human progress, and to analyze how scientific representations re-imagine faith and ethics from a secular perspective. The recent shift towards science in the literature of Canada in English suggests a questioning of social conditions which place the human within epistemological spectrums between truth and fiction, faith and reason, and the individual and the universal. In my dissertation questions related to belief and truth are bound up in a cross-textual study that looks at how Canadian literature reevaluates important debates among theology, art, and science in order to access a humanist interpretation of different possible realities. My dissertation investigates: The Bone Sharps (2007) by Tim Bowling; Curiosity: A Love Story (2010) by Joan Thomas; The Origin of Species (2008) by Nino Ricci; The Memory Artists (2004) by Jeffrey Moore; Player One: What is to Become of Us (2010) by Douglas Coupland; Atmospheric Disturbances (2008) by Rivka Galchen, and The Evolution of Inanimate Objects: The Life and Collected Works of Thomas Darwin (1857-1879) (2010) by Harry Karlinsky.
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