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Refworks. Open Collections. UBC Theses and Dissertations. Featured Collection. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission. Walter Benjamin hastheorized the allegorical gesture and provides a basis for extending his understanding of modern allegory to the postmodern.

The postinodern can be seenas a continuum that at its two extremes veers towards a deconstructive and areconstructive impulse, respectively. While the former decentres meaning andauthority, the latter reconstructs the two on the basis of an arbitrary allegorical construct that relies itself on audience belief which is generatedin participatory rituals. Watson and Schafer exemplify the interdependenciesof these two postrnodern impulses and their emblematical qualities. Furthermore, they illustrate how melancholics view the world, how they imbue theirworks with a political agenda, and how they try to indoctrinate theiraudiences.

Ultimately, the allegorical construct is as ideological as what itbrutally replaces. An outward of the violence that is at the root of theallegorical gesture can be seen in the many acts of violence in Watson andSchafer.

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Although he does not realize it, his workremains caught in ideology. Reconstructive postmodernisrn, as far as itdepends on the author ity of allegory, is thus built on a validating act ofthe audience, which is a leap of faith rooted in ideology.

Wilfred Watson R. Moreover, her genuine interest in my project and her generosity and kindnesswere the encouragement I needed to persevere. Shirley Neuman and the librarians in Special Collections at the University of Alberta Library in Edmonton permitted me to do research in the Wilfred Watson Papers as well as toquote from them. I also owe thanks to Wilfred and Sheila Watson, MurraySchafer, Diane Bessai, Thomas Peacocke, and Elizabeth Beauchamp, for timespent talking to me but also for valuable copies of books, scores, andtypescripts. I am grateful to Scott Taylor for many anecdotes about theWatsons and McLuhan as well as for his hospitality during a research tripto Edmonton.

Courteously, R. Murray Schafer and Shirley Neuman for NeWest Press have given me permission to reproduce material from books for which theyhold copyright. I use the authors merely as case studies that shed light upon discontinuous, post-modern attempts to confront contemporary crises of loss anddesacralizat ion. Bringing together two authors who depict two discontinuousmoments in a discontinuous postmodernity means to a certainextent at least accepting discontinuity as an organizing principle for this enquiry.

This dissertation, then, does not aimat a tight unity because the result would be a sense of closurethat impugns the discontinuity of the postmodern. Still, formal affinities do exist between the authors. While not strong enough to provide a centre to the dissertation, they are strong enough to justify gathering the authorsin one place to be analyzed with regard to their relations topostmodernism in general and postmodern allegory in particular.

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Such formal affinities are their exclusion from Canadian canonsof theatre and poetry, their use of performative media, and,Prelude Allegories of the Postinodern 2most importantly, their use of allegory as their primary methodof composition. Even though at times I seem to compare the authors--an impression, imagined or real, that cannot be avoided in a studythat of necessity must organize its material in a way thatusually indicates comparison--it is not the primary objectiveof this dissertation to do so.

As well, this dissertation isnot a study of influence. The authors in question, to myknowledge, have not influenced each other, and I do not try totrace any mutual influences on them. Rather it is a studyof selected works under specific criteria that I consider relevant to the postmodern. Hence it is a study in the history ofideas. Nevertheless, I do so quite deliberately. Itis my contention that his Patria cycle is primarily a multimedia accomplishment not primarily a musical accomplishment that deserves attention from many disciplines because it comments on our cultural condition in the late twentieth century.

These comments, I think, are more easily accessible through astudy that is situated somewhere between literature and theatrecriticism than in musical criticism because the latter has toPrelude Allegories of the Postmodern 3find a way of relating its semiotics to culture at large.

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He emigrated to Canadaat the age of fifteen. He attained his B. For the remainderof the war, he served inthe Canadian navy. After the war he con—R. Murray Schafer was born in Sarnia,Ontario, in Even asheshowed considerable talent in both music andthe fine arts. In his monograph devoted toSchafer, Stephen Adams speculates that theloss of sight in his Black male jazz Burray invites sexy ladies eye made himchoose a career in music rather than in thefine arts R.

Murray Schafer. However,as Adams also points out and as a cursorylook at his scores shows, not only didSchafer integrate both talents in an innovaI was born in Trier, a city founded as Augusta Treverorumby the Romans in 16 BC to supply the eastern border of theirempire, the Limes, with troops and goods. At various points inelementary and secondary school, we covered this period of thePrelude Allegories of the Postmodern Stinued his education atthe University ofToronto and received anM.

The same year,he became professor inthe Department of English at the Universityof Alberta and taughtuntil at its Calgary campus. In ,he moved to teach at theEdmonton campus, wherehe participated in anintellectual circle thatincluded his wife SheilaWatson, the painterNorman Yates, and thetive way, but he also developed his personalstyle of graphic illustration so much sothat his scores have been exhibited in artgalleries 6. After his high-school graduation, Schafer began studying piano and composition atthe University of Toronto, but after onlyone year he was dismissed because of tensions between him and a of his professors.

From tohe travelled inEurope and studied music as an autodidact. Prelude Allegories of the Postinodern 6Having been exposed to these sentiments day-in and day-outfor the better part of my life, I sometimes caught myself beingastonished that it was so easy to cross the Limes when I wentfrom Trier to, say, Frankfurt. Sheila Watson foundedWhite Pelican in in England, Schafer showed himself very intrigued by the creative process. Nevertheless, talking about art can bemoving and exciting, especially when one is fortunateenough to be speaking to artists about their ownwork.

Prelude Allegories of the Postmodern 7and continued publishingit until Murray Schafer During his stay in Europe, he alsowrote E. Hoffmann and Music, a study inwhich he grapples with romanticism and whatit means to him. Murray Schafer 32 ,the Limes had never become quite real to me until I partook ina string of events that convinced me not only of the reality ofthe other side but also of the fact that this Other is not somuch unknown as it is repressed, in reality an integral andnecessary part of the worldview I had been taught in my youth.

In it, he mourns theloss of the noon as a symbol that humans dismantled with themoonlanding in It is now merely a piece of property--and moonligbt will soon rhyme withneon. Perhaps it is not wrong tointerpret his career asan ongoing search for agenre that would fulfillall of his creative ambitions.

These ambitions are primarily, itseems, to create an artthat is at once Canadianand performative. Hoffmann Hisnext volume of poetry,The Sorrowful Canadians,had to wait untilwas virtually so, the form which culminated in The Sorrowful Canadians atson Archives, Box 6, ts.

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ificantly, Schaferchooses to express his ambivalence towardsromanticism by referring to the loss of aromantic symbol, namely moonlight, and theloss of a worldview that does not have totake into consideration environmental pollution. Loss, to him, is an obstacle toachieving the romantic state of mind. Schafer thus is torn between wanting to be romantic and seeing that romanticism today isreally impossible. Early in his career, Schafer was searching for an answer to a question that keptcoming back to him. Theseveral thousand people that gathered one Sunday afternoon onthe Hohenzollern-bridge crossing the Rhine near the cathedral.

The crowd was there to watch what had happened in the overnightbattle between city and river. During histenure of a Canadian Government Overseas Fellowship in Paris,he learned aboutand took an interest inone response that impressed him, influencedhim, and that he remembers vividly more thanthirty years later was John Cages. Schafer made these comments in conversation to me inconfronting an irrational entity whose power the crowd fearedyet haughtily defied. While living in Cologne, I heard a fine anecdote that illustrates the carnivalesque defiance of authority: after Hitler came to power, he staged massive Nazi parades through all major cities.

Watson pursuedhis interest in thetheatre of the absurdwith his own short absurd play, The Whatnot,for the interfacultydrama festival at theUniversity of AlbertaStudio Theatre in November The Whatnot is unpublished. And the new musicians: anyone and anything thatsounds! Here he coulddevote himself to soundscape research aswell as to his creative work which includedthe first parts of the Patria cycle.

Schafer began work on Patria 1 in andfinished it in Prelude Allegories of the Postinodern 12state of liminality, watching the irrational onslaught, not ofthe barbarians on the Romans, but of nature on civilization. Hovering in security over that spectacle, the crowd was in between opposing forces, gaining a dizzying perspective that gaveway to a celebration. In that celebration, the liminal posiAs the notebooks inthe Watson Archives atthe University of Alberta show, Watsonstarted work on hisfirst major play, Cockcrow and the Gulls, in and finished it in Watson worked closelyberta, Edmonton, Box 6, grey folder, 36pp.

They aredated from Prelude Allegories of the Postmodern 13vironment on the creatures living in it. In other words, first wemust determine and know what is wrong withthe current soundscape. Being in this position allows one to spy out the feared Other of irrationality withoutest in the theories ofMarshall McLuhan.

He was a greatbut critical admirer ofMcLuhan. Schafer thinks weshould prevent that loss by striving foraesthetic standards according to which wecan evaluate the soundscape. Thesestandards, however, are not purelyaesthetic; they often veer toward thespiritual or pragmatic.

In the s, Watsondevoted himself almostexclusively to poetry. He published severalvolumes that featuredidiosyncratic notationmethods. In The Sorrowful Canadians, he triesto achieve a polyphonicnotation method by usingdifferent typefaces andrepetitions. It is rather a aatter of the retrievalgoing all the way, that is, without actually crossing over intounknown territory. I suspect, however, that the dichotomy ofSelf and Other is not as rigorous as I have described it although it is subject to constant remappings onto other dichoPrelude Allegories of the Postniodern 16method of notation thatcombines numerals andwords in order Black male jazz Burray invites sexy ladies facilitate performance.

After not writing forthe stage for most ofthe s, he returnedto writing for the stagewith a short play, TheWoman Taken in Adultery,that was performed atthe Edmonton TheatreFringe Festival in A major play, Gramsci x3, followed in the earlys and combines theritual repetitions ofthe early ls with theof a ificant aural culture, and that is a taskfor everyone, 26 The retrieval of a ificant aural culturehas aesthetic, spiritual and pragmatic functions. The rural soundscapechanged his music. His works have since become more environmental both in the sense ofmaking natural sounds an integral part ofhis compositions and of providing his audiences with the insight that the human beingis a part and not the dominator of nature.

He also has become actively involved in performances of his theatrical work that havetomies that draw their legitimacy from the original one.

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Yetthese mappings seem to project a repressed part of the Selfonto the outside world so that the Self can deal with a repressed part of itself as an Other in an objective way ratherPrelude Allegories of the Postrnodern 17NGV of the late sinto a performativespectacle. Thomas Peacocke directed the playfor the Studio Theatrein In the late s andearly s, Watsondevoted much of his timeto preparing anthologiesof his poetry Poems,drama Plays, and short fiction The Baie Comeau Angel, earned him an international reputation as amusic-theatrical innovator. Furthermore, atthe age of sixty, he is a renowned lecturerand consultant on soundscape and environmental issues.

Murray Schafer has won numerous musicalawards, the most distinguished of which wasthe first Glenn Gould prize in Furthermore, the liminalposition suspends social or rationally conditioned behavior infavor of a carnivalesque community that reacts less obedientlyto authority. Prelude Allegories of the Postt7iodern 18Now I would like to note some of the parallels that existbetween Watson and Schafer and that lead to explorations of thepostmodern. In three allegorical poems written during his period of reorientation, Watson sketches a vision of a performative art that is specifically Canadian.

Included in this vision, however, is an ironical subversion of extant myths andparadigms of creating art. This vision describes a turn towards local values andtowards ritualistic art that frequently has an environmentalagenda.

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