Transcript: Southern Ontario Gothic | Jun 03, 2015

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black suit, lilac shirt, and striped lilac tie.
A wall screen behind him reads "The Agenda, with Steve Paikin."

Steve says THEY LIVE LIVES NOT
UNLIKE OURS IN SMALL TOWNS AND
VILLAGES ACROSS OUR PROVINCE.
THEY ARE THE CHARACTERS THAT
MAKE UP THE LITERARY GENRE
"SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC," A
STYLE OF STORY-TELLING THAT
REFLECTS ONTARIO BACK TO ITSELF,
AND IN TRUE GOTHIC STYLE,
DOESN'T HIDE AWAY FROM THE
SECRETS, THE TORMENTS AND AN
EVIL THAT LURKS ACROSS THE LAND.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE ON THE
GENRE AND ITS PLACE IN OUR
NARRATIVE AND THE WORLD:
IN VICTORIA, B.C.:
JANE URQUHART, AWARD-WINNING
AUTHOR CURRENTLY TOURING WITH
HER NEW BOOK "THE NIGHT STAGES";

Jane is in her sixties, with chin-length wavy blond hair. She's wearing a mint-green turtleneck and a beaded necklace.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a picture of a bicycle parked against a wall.

Steve continues AND WITH US IN STUDIO:
SHANI MOOTOO, THE UNIVERSITY OF
TORONTO'S JACK McCLELLAND WRITER
IN RESIDENCE AND AUTHOR MOST
RECENTLY OF "MOVING FORWARD
SIDEWAYS LIKE A CRAB."

Shani is in her late forties, with short wavy black hair. She's wearing rounded glasses, a black blazer and a white shirt.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a painting of a sunset scene in hues of orange and pink.

Steve continues MONIKA LEE, PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH
WHO TEACHES GOTHIC LITERATURE AT
BRESCIA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE AT
LONDON'S WESTERN UNIVERSITY;

Monika is in her fifties, with straight chestnut hair in a bob. She's wearing a gray blazer over an orange blouse, and silver hoop earrings.

Steve continues AND MICHAEL HURLEY, POET AND
ENGLISH PROFESSOR AT THE ROYAL
MILITARY COLLEGE OF CANADA IN KINGSTON.

Michael is in his fifties, with receding white hair and a goatee. He's wearing a gray pinstripe suit over a white shirt, and a golden hoop earring in his left lobe.

Steve continues IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU THREE
HERE IN OUR STUDIO, I THINK FOR
THE FIRST TIME, RIGHT?
YOU'RE ALL ROOKIES HERE.
AND JANE URQUHART, LOVELY TO SEE
YOU AGAIN.
I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU SINCE I
INTERVIEWED YOU FOR THAT OLD
SHOW STUDIO TWO, WE DID YOUR
BOOK "THE UNDERPAINTER," AND
IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK ON TVO.

Steve and Jane appear on split screens, with the caption "Southern Ontario Gothic." A caption under Jane's frame reads "Victoria, B.C."

Jane says WONDERFUL TO BE HERE.

Steve says I NEED A PROFESSOR.
PROFESSORS, COME ON IN HERE,
WE'RE GOING TO DO BASIC 411 ON
THIS.
MONIKA, SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC.
WHAT IS IT?

The caption changes to "Monika Lee. Brescia University College."

Monika says TIMOTHY FINLEY
MAY HAVE BEEN THE FIRST
PUBLISHED TO USE THE TERM
"SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC" AND HE
USED IT COMPARING IT TO A GENRE
IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES
CALLED SOUTHERN GOTHIC WHICH WAS
A GENRE THAT WEDDED LITERARY
REALISM TO FEELINGS OF TERROR
AND DID SO BY FOCUSING ON THINGS
LIKE MENTAL ILLNESS, VIOLENCE,
FAMILY DYSFUNCTION, RACIAL
TENSION, DECREPITUDE, ALL THESE
THEMES THAT WERE POPULAR IN THE
SOUTHERN U.S.
BECAUSE THERE WERE SOUTHERN
ONTARIO WRITERS DOING SIMILARLY,
THIS SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC
CAME INTO BEING.

The caption changes to "Literature 101."

Steve says HOW FAR DO YOU THINK
IT GOES IN ONTARIO?

A picture shows a book with an orange cover, titled "Wacousta."

Monika says I WOULD TAKE IT
BACK TO THE VERY FIRST NOVEL
FROM SOUTHERN ONTARIO,
"WACOUSTA," WHICH IS A TYPICALLY
SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC NOVEL
WHICH DESCRIBES A MAN, A
EUROPEAN, THAT GOES WILD THAT
LIVES WITH THE NATIVES AND
DRESSES HIMSELF UP IN WAR PAINT
AND HE'S VERY FRIGHTENING AND HE
ABDUCTS THE HEROINE.
IT'S A LURID TALE?

Steve says HOW DID THIS
SOUTHERN GOTHIC DEVELOP IN
SOUTHERN ONTARIO?

The caption changes to "Michael Hurley. Royal Military College of Canada."

Michael says THERE'S
ANOTHER GOOD QUESTION FOR
MONIKA.
STEVE, WITH GRAHAM GIBSON'S WISE
REMARKS RINGING IN MY EARS ABOUT
MAKING GENERALIZATIONS ABOUT
WRITERS, CATS THAT CANNOT AND
SHOULD NOT BE HERDED.
I'LL BEGIN BY SAYING SOUTHERN
ONTARIO GOTHIC IS A PHRASE I'M
LOATH TO DEFINE BUT I'M HAPPY TO
EXPLORE AND MAP AND IN THE
SPIRIT PERHAPS OF THE STORY
TELLERS THEMSELVES, WHOSE JOB
DESCRIPTION INCLUDES PLAYING,
PLAYING WITH WORDS, CREATIVELY,
EXUBERANTLY, AND IN A WAY THAT
SORT OF MAPS THE FEARS AND
DESIRES AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF
THEIR SOCIETY, LIKE IT OR NOT.
NORTHROP FRY DESCRIBES IT AS
REGIONAL, MYTHOLOGICAL COUNTRY
AND BESIDES GIBSON AND ATWOOD,
WHO HAD THEIR TOES ON THE
STARTING LINE EARLY ON, AND OF
COURSE JAMES RAINEY, ANOTHER
DELIGHTFUL MASTER OF THIS GENRE,
ALICE MUNRO IS ANOTHER EXQUISITE
MAP MAKER.
SHE HAS A CHARACTER CALLED DEL
IN THE NOVEL "LIVES OF GIRLS AND
WOMEN," THIS IS THE TAKE ON THE
CHARACTERS.
PEOPLE'S LIVES IN JUBILEE,
WICKEDLY IRONIC NAME, PEOPLE'S
LIVES IN JUBILEE ARE DULL,
SIMPLE, AMAZING, UNFATHOMABLE,
DEEP CAVES WITH KITCHEN
LINOLEUM.
YOU KNOW WHAT IS IN THE CAVES,
STEVE?

Steve says TELL ME.

A picture shows a book by Alice Munro titled "Lives of girls and women." The cover features a picture of two young women seen from behind as they stare at a crop field.

Michael says THE PARADOX
THAT IS ME, YOU, THESE FOLKS,
AND I GUESS ALL OF US, IN ALL
OUR LIGHT AND GLORY, ALL OUR
SHADOW, OUR TERRIBLE POTENTIAL
FOR DAMAGE, DESTRUCTION,
DUPLICITY.
WHAT MUNRO CALLS IN ANOTHER
STORY "THE OTHER SIDE OF
DAILINESS."

Steve says FOR A GUY WHO
DOESN'T WANT TO DEFINE WHAT THIS
IS, YOU JUST DID A PRETTY GOOD
JOB OF DOING THAT.

Michael says THAT'S
SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC, DOUBLE
ENTENDRE, PARADOX.

Steve says ARE THERE PEOPLE WHO
DON'T WANT TO RECOGNIZE THIS AS
HONEST-TO-GOODNESS LITERATURE?

Monika says IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN.
WE CAN PUT THE CULPABILITY ON
THE CRITICS IN THE UNITED
STATES.
TO WED WHAT WAS A NON-REALISTIC
GENRE, GOTHIC, TO REALISM IS TO
STRETCH THE TERM "GOTHIC" VERY
BROADLY, AND DAVID INGHAM SAYS THERE'S NOTHING TO DISTINGUISH
SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC FROM
EVERYDAY GARDEN VARIETY.

Steve says DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

Monika says I DON'T THINK
SO, NO.
I DO THINK BECAUSE THE GOTHIC
TRADITION IN ITS CONVENTIONAL
TRADITIONAL SENSE STILL EXISTS
IN THE WORLD TODAY, THAT IF WE
USE A TERM FOR AN ANTI-REALISTIC
GENRE, GOTHIC, TO APPLY TO A
REALISTIC GENRE, IT DOES STRETCH
THE TERM PRETTY BROADLY.
THERE MAY BE A DANGER TO THAT.
BUT SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC AS A
GENRE DOES EXIST, IT'S HERE TO
STAY.
ENOUGH PEOPLE HAVE TALKED ABOUT
IT THAT THE TERM HAS BEEN
STRETCHED.

Steve says LET'S GET TO THE
AUTHORS AND FIND OUT WHY IT
SPEAKS TO THEM IN PARTICULAR.
JANE, COME ON IN HERE AND TELL
US WHERE ARE YOU FROM
ORIGINALLY?

The caption changes to "A Nobel Prize."
Then, it changes again to "Jane Urquhart. Author 'The night stages.'"

Jane says I'M
ORIGINALLY FROM NORTHERN,
NORTHERN ONTARIO, NEVER TO BE
CONFUSED WITH NORTHERN ONTARIO.
NOT COTTAGE COUNTRY.
I AM FROM LITTLE LONG LAC
ONTARIO WHICH IS ABOUT 300 MILES
AWAY FROM THUNDER BAY.
THAT WAS OUR NEAREST BIG PLACE.

Steve says WHY DOES SOUTHERN
ONTARIO GOTHIC SPEAK TO YOU SO
DIRECTLY?

Jane says WELL, I
SUPPOSE THAT I WAS UNAWARE THAT
IT DID, TO BE QUITE HONEST.
I THINK THAT AS AN AUTHOR I
WRITE ABOUT WHAT INTRIGUES ME
AND THEN IT'S LATER THAT
SOMEBODY ELSE DECIDES WHETHER OR
NOT I'M PART OF SOME KIND OF
MOVEMENT OR LITERARY FORM.
BUT THAT BEING SAID, MY EXTENDED
FAMILY COMES FROM NORTHUMBERLAND
COUNTY OF EASTERN ONTARIO AND
THEY WERE OF IRISH EXTRACTION
AND OF COURSE RURAL AND I HAD
UNCLES WITH FARMS AND I WAS VERY
MUCH IN TOUCH WITH THOSE PEOPLE
THROUGH MY ENTIRE LINE AND, YES,
THEY DID FEED ME IMAGINATIVELY,
I SUSPECT PARTLY BECAUSE I WAS
READING AS WELL.
I WAS READING A LOT OF CANADIAN
LITERATURE WHEN I WAS DEVELOPING
MYSELF AS AN AUTHOR BECAUSE
THERE WAS A GENERATION ABOUT TEN
YEARS OLDER THAN ME THAT WAS
HUGELY VIBRANT AND EXCITING AND
COMPELLING.
AND SO ALL OF THOSE FORCES, THE
RURAL ASPECT OF MY FAMILY
MYTHOLOGY AND THE BOOKS THAT I
WAS READING, I EXPECT THOSE TWO
THINGS COMBINED TO PERHAPS MOVE
ME TO A PRAISE WHERE I MIGHT
LOOK AS THOUGH I WERE PART OF A
LITERARY MOVEMENT OF SOME KIND
OR ANOTHER.

The caption changes to "theagenda.tvo.org"

Steve says OKAY.
ALL OF THAT MAKES SENSE TO ME.
SHANI, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

The caption changes to "Shani Mootoo. Writer in Residence. University of Toronto."

Shani says I WAS BORN IN
DUBLIN, IN IRELAND.
I GREW UP IN TRINIDAD.
I'VE LIVED MOST OF MY LIFE IN
VANCOUVER.
AND FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS
I'VE BEEN LIVING IN A SOUTHERN
ONTARIO HAMLET.

Steve says AND PRESUMABLY...
OKAY, THE FIRST THREE THINGS ON
THAT LIST PRESUMABLY DID NOT
GIVE YOU GREAT INSIGHTS INTO
SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC.
SO HOW DID YOU DISCOVER IT?

Shani says BUT GROWING
UP IN TRINIDAD, I WAS INTRODUCED
TO BRITISH LITERATURE BEFORE
ANYTHING ELSE AND SO WHAT WE
FIRST CALL GOTHIC, YOU KNOW, I
READ THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK FROM
"NIGHTMARE ABBEY" AND "CROCHET
CASTLE" BEFORE I WAS FINISHED
HIGH SCHOOL AND "DRACULA" AND
THINGS LIKE THAT.
IT WASN'T UNTIL I CAME HERE TO
CANADA, WHEN I WAS IN VANCOUVER,
I HAD A LIFE AS A VISUAL ARTIST
AND A FILMMAKER FIRST BEFORE
WRITING.
IN 1990 I HADN'T A BOOK YET
PUBLISHED, BUT I COULD FEEL THE
YEARNING TO WRITE.

Steve says IT WAS IN YOU BEFORE
YOU ACTUALLY MOVED TO SOUTHERN ONTARIO.

Shani says THE WRITING?

Steve says THE ATTRACTION TO
THIS GENRE.

Shani says WHAT I WAS
GOING TO SAY IS, WHEN I WAS IN
VANCOUVER WANTING TO WRITE, I
GOT IN TOUCH WITH ALMA LEE WITH
THE VANCOUVER WRITERS FESTIVAL
TO SAY THAT I WANTED TO COME TO
AN EVENT WHERE ALICE MUNRO WAS
LAUNCHING "FRIEND OF MY YOUTH."
AND I DIDN'T KNOW HER WORK, BUT,
YOU KNOW, I WANTED TO SEE WHAT
WRITING WAS ABOUT AND SO ON.
AND SHE SAID, WELL, COME TO THE
EVENT.
YOU CAN VOLUNTEER.
YOU CAN BE IN CHARGE OF COFFEE.
AND I WAS SUPPOSED TO LEAVE THE
EVENT 15 MINUTES BEFORE AND
PREPARE THE COFFEE.
I WAS SO FASCINATED BY THIS
STORY OF A KIND OF DIFFERENCE
THAT WAS REALLY FOREIGN TO ME
AND QUITE BIZARRE.
IT WAS DRY, IT WAS STERILE, IT
WAS BROWN.
THE LANDSCAPES WERE BROWN.
THE PEOPLE SEEMED SMALL AND
ALMOST A KIND OF MEANNESS TO
THEM, EVEN WHEN THEY WERE BEING
GENEROUS, YOU WONDERED WHAT IT
WAS ABOUT, THAT I FORGOT ALL
ABOUT THE COFFEE BUT I GOT TO
MEET HER AND GET HER TO SIGN ONE
OF MY BOOKS AND SO ON.
THAT WAS MY INTRODUCTION,
REALLY.

Steve says I WANT TO FOLLOW UP
ON THE NAME WE'VE HEARD A FEW
TIMES ALREADY HERE, WHICH IS
ALICE MUNRO.
JANE, WHEN SHE WON THE NOBEL A
COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, DO YOU
RECALL YOUR INITIAL REACTION
WHEN YOU HEARD THE NEWS?

A picture of Alice Munro pops up. She's in her late seventies, with short wavy white hair.
Another picture shows Alice smiling as she leans against a wall.

Jane says OH, I WAS ECSTATIC.
I KNOW ALICE AND SO I WAS DOUBLY
ECSTATIC BECAUSE IT WAS BOTH
SORT OF AN HONOUR FOR A
WONDERFUL FRIEND BUT ALSO JUST
SUCH A FANTASTIC THING TO HAPPEN
IN CANADA TO OUR BEST WRITER.
I THINK THAT IT'S INTERESTING
WHAT SHANI SAID ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
COMING IN CONTACT WITH ALICE
MUNRO.
I BELIEVE THAT ALMOST ALL OF US
HAVE IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER BEEN
AFFECTED BY HER WRITING, IF NOT
INFLUENCED DIRECTLY, BUT
AFFECTED BY IT.
WE'VE COME IN CONTACT WITH A
WRITER WHO HAS TAKEN THINGS THAT
WE RECOGNIZE PERHAPS, OR IN
SHANI'S CASE, THINGS THAT WE
DON'T RECOGNIZE, AND MADE THEM
SO PALPABLE ON THE PAGE THAT
THEY BECOME UNIVERSAL AND
MYTHOLOGICAL.
I THINK OF THE WONDERFUL POEM BY
PATRICK CAVANAGH ABOUT HOW, YOU
KNOW, HOMER'S GHOST WAS IN THE
FIELD IN IRELAND WHEN FARMER X
AND FARMER Y WERE ARGUING OVER
WHERE ONE PIECE OF LAND ENDED
AND ANOTHER BEGAN.
IT'S THE ORDINARY DETAILS OF
LIFE THAT REALLY MAKE US CONNECT
TO LITERATURE AND MAKE US
EMPATHIZE AND RELATE TO WHAT IT
IS THAT WE'RE READING AND WHAT
WE ARE IMAGINING WHILE WE'RE
READING.

Steve says MONIKA, HOW MUCH DID
THAT RECOGNITION, THAT
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR
HER WORK, HELP OTHER AUTHORS OF
THIS GENRE GET INTO
INTERNATIONAL MARKETS THAT THEY
PERHAPS MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE HAVE
GOT INTO?

Monika says I THINK THAT
THAT IS THE CASE, THAT A LOT OF
WRITERS ARE... IN CANADA NOW ARE
GETTING A FAIR BIT OF
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION, AND
EVEN MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, A LOT
OF PEOPLE ARE BEING INSPIRED TO
WRITE ABOUT THEIR REGIONS, THEIR
PARTICULARLY HOME-SPUN, ORDINARY
STORIES WITH THAT KIND OF
FIERCE, FORENSIC, ANALYTIC,
TERRIFYING REALISM.
AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES ALICE
MUNRO, SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC,
IS THAT WEDDING OF THE
ORDINARY... SHE'S REALLY MORE
INTERESTED IN WHAT'S TERRIFYING
ABOUT THE ORDINARY OR EVERYDAY
THAN SHE IS OF THE SUPER
NATURAL, AND TO MY MIND, HER
STORIES ARE THE SCARIEST WE
HAVE.
I STUDY AND TEACH BRITISH GOTHIC
AND BOOKS LIKE FRANKENSTEIN AND
DRACULA ARE NOT NEARLY AS
TERRIFYING ASCERTAIN ASPECTS OF
ALICE MUNRO'S STORIES, WHICH TO
ME ARE THE MOST FRIGHTENING.
FOR EXAMPLE, THERE'S A BOOK
CALLED "THE LOVE OF A GOOD
WOMAN," AND THIS NOVEL... IT'S
NOT A NOVEL, IT'S A NOVELLA, IS
ABOUT 90 PAGES LONG, IT'S HER
LONGEST STORY, AND SHE PLAYS
WITH GOTHIC CONVENTION, SHE HAS
THE VIRTUOUS HEROINE WHO IS
ENDANGERED BY A MAN WHO IS
PROBABLY A MURDERER.
AND SHE FALLS IN LOVE WITH HIM.
SO IT'S A STANDARD GOTHIC STORY
EXCEPT THAT ENID IS NOT A
TRADITIONAL GOTHIC HEROIN, SHE'S
NOT FORMULAIC, SHE IS EXTREMELY
REALISTIC.
SHE SAYS FOR EVERYBODY, THOUGH,
THE SAME THING: EVIL GRABS US
WHEN WE ARE SLEEPING.
PAIN AND DISINTEGRATION LIE IN
WAIT.
ANIMAL HORRORS, OH, WORSE THAN
YOU CAN IMAGINE BEFOREHAND.
AND THAT'S WHAT ALICE MUNRO DOES
WITH SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.

Steve says HOW DO YOU TWO QUOTE
SO BRILLIANTLY LIKE THAT OFF THE
TOP OF YOUR HEADS LIKE THAT BY
HEART.
THAT'S FANTASTIC.

Michael says IT'S HARDER
TO SIDE-STEP BECAUSE IT ISN'T
OVER-THE-TOP GOTHIC LIKE WALPOLE
IN THE 1700s.
YOU CAN'T EVADE WHAT ALICE MUNRO
IS DOING BECAUSE THE TEXTURE OF
IT IS YOUR EVERYDAY TEXTURE, AND
MAYBE DETAILS THAT YOU
OVERLOOKED, BUT SHE GIVES A
LITTLE TWEAK TO AND THERE'S A
LITTLE CHILL THAT LIES THERE.
CANADIANS HAVE BEEN NOTORIOUS
IN... ESPECIALLY IN SOUTHERN
ONTARIO, INATTENTIVE, CARELESS
OF OUR OWN CULTURE, OUR OWN
LITERATURE, OUR OWN PAINTING,
OUR OWN JOURNALISTS.
AND WE LOOK OUTSIDE OURSELVES TO
GET VALIDATION.
SO WHEN SHE MAKES IT BIG ON THE
WORLD SCENE, WE GO, OH.
AND NOW THAT ENVIRONMENT BECOMES
VISIBLE TO US AGAIN.

Steve says LET ME GO TO JANE ON
THAT.
NOW THAT THIS DOOR HAS BEEN
PUSHED OPEN MORE WIDELY THANKS
TO ALICE MUNRO GETTING THE NOBEL
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, HAVE YOU
NOTICED A CHANGE IN THE KIND OF
FEEDBACK YOU GET WHEN YOU TRAVEL
THE WORLD?

Jane says I HAVE TO
SAY THAT I DON'T NECESSARILY,
BUT IT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE THAT
WHEN I'M TRAVELLING, THE NAME
ALICE MUNRO COMES UP QUITE
OFTEN.
I THINK THAT WHAT HAS HAPPENED
IS THAT ALICE HERSELF HAS BECOME
MORE WIDELY READ AS A RESULT OF
WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE, BUT
THAT BEING SAID, SHE WAS ALREADY
MUCH, MUCH ADMIRED IN MANY, MANY
DIFFERENT CULTURES AND AROUND
THE WORLD.
I THINK TOO THAT IT'S IMPORTANT
TO UNDERSTAND THAT ALICE'S
STORIES ARE NOT ALWAYS SET IN
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.
I MEAN, THIS TAKES HER SORT OF
OUT OF THE GENRE.
I'VE OFTEN WONDERED WHETHER OR
NOT THE GENRE IS BASED ON PLACE
OR WHETHER IT'S BASED ON TONE OR
WHETHER IT'S BASED ON STYLE.
BUT IF WE ASSUME IT'S BASED ON
PLACE, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
KNOW THAT SOME OF ALICE'S MOST
STUNNING LONG STORIES ARE SET IN
VERY DISTANT PLACES SUCH AS
ALBANIA OR RUSSIA, TWO OF MY
FAVOURITES "TH ALBANIAN VIRGIN."
AND "TOO MUCH HAPPINESS" ARE SET
IN ALBANIA AND RUSSIA.

Steve says WHICH IS A LONG WAY
FROM SOUTHERN ONTARIO.

Jane says A LONG, LONG
WAY FROM SOUTHERN ONTARIO.
SO I'M CURIOUS TO KNOW FROM THE
ACADEMICS WHETHER THEY THINK
THIS IS A PLACE-DRIVEN THING.
AND THERE ARE MANY OF ALICE
MUNRO'S STORIES THAT ARE SET IN
AN URBAN CONTEXT.

Michael says DON'T CALL
ME AN ACADEMIC, PLEASE, OKAY?
THEY DON'T HAVE A VERY GOOD
TRACK RECORD IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
GOTHIC.
THEY'RE ALL STUCK IN THEIR HEAD
AND OPINIONATED, ET CETERA, AND
I HOPE WE'RE NOT THAT.

Steve says IT'S OCCURRED TO ME
THAT WE MAY HAVE A BUNCH OF
PEOPLE WATCHING THIS PROGRAM WHO
MAY NOT KNOW WHO ALICE MUNRO IS
OR IF THEY'VE READ HER, THEY'VE
NEVER SEEN HER INTERVIEWED.
WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A MINUTE AND
PLAY A CLIP.
THIS IS FROM A SHOW WE USED TO
DO AT TVO.
THIS IS ALICE MUNRO BEING
INTERVIEWED IN 2006.
ROLL CLIP, PLEASE.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Alice Munro. April 5, 2006."
In the clip, Alice and a female interviewer in her forties sit in a living room and talk.

Alice says WHEN I BEGAN TO PUBLISH MY
FIRST STORIES, THE PEOPLE WHO
WERE CLOSE TO ME WERE GENERALLY
HORRIFIED, OR AT LEAST SHOCKED.
"HORRIFIED" IS PERHAPS TOO
EXTREME.
BUT THE THING IS, THEY DID NOT
UNDERSTAND WHY ANYBODY HAD TO
WRITE IN THE WAY I DID.

The interviewer says THAT BEING...

Alice says WELL, LET ME SEE.
I PUBLISHED A STORY WHEN I WAS
STILL IN UNIVERSITY THAT ENDED
UP WITH ONE OF THE CHARACTERS
SAYING "JESUS CHRIST" AND THIS
WAS TERRIBLE, IT REALLY HURT MY
FAMILY... NOT MY FATHER, THOUGH
HE HAD TO KEEP QUIET, BUT THIS
IS THE SORT OF THING THAT
COULD... WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE
EARLY '50s AND CANADA WAS
PRETTY PURITANICAL, AT LEAST
WASP CANADA, THE CANADA THAT I KNEW.

The clip ends.

Steve says OKAY, SHANI, IS THAT
THE CANADA YOU KNOW TODAY?

The caption changes to "Prudence, propriety, perfectionism."

Shani says IT'S NOT THE
CANADA THAT I KNOW, NO.
EVEN THOUGH I LIVE IN A SMALL
TOWN RIGHT NOW.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'M
REALLY INTERESTED IN... JANE
SORT OF BROUGHT IT UP ABOUT, YOU
KNOW, IS THE GENRE PLACE OR...
I'M THINKING THAT THE GENRE CAN
EVOLVE AND IT WOULD BE MORE
INTERESTING, I THINK, IF IT WERE
TO EVOLVE AND INCLUDE A GREAT
MANY.
WRITERS WHO ARE... MANY OF THE
WRITERS WHO ARE WRITING NOW AND
COME FROM ELSEWHERE AND ARE
TALKING ABOUT THEIR SMALL WORLD
HERE IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO AND THE
WRITERS WHO HAVE HAD MANY
GENERATIONS HERE BUT ARE WRITING
ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME FROM
OUTSIDE INTO THEIR
NEIGHBOURHOODS.
LIKE, FOR INSTANCE, CATHERINE
BROWER'S "ALL THE BROKEN THINGS."
WRITING ABOUT A VIETNAMESE BOY
BEAU WHO HAS A SISTER WHO IS
HIDDEN AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC
BECAUSE SHE'S SUFFERING WITH
AGENT ORANGE DISABILITIES AND SO
ON, AND WHAT'S BEHIND THAT STORY
IS CANADA'S COMPLICITY IN THE
PRODUCTION OF AGENT ORANGE THAT
WAS USED IN VIETNAM.
AND THIS STORY TAKES PLACE, IN
FACT, IN TORONTO, NEAR THE
JUNCTION, THE SORT OF NIGHT
TRIPS THAT BEAU MAKES WHERE HE
HIDES OUT WITH THIS BEAR, A REAL
BEAR.
THERE ARE GOTHIC ELEMENTS TO
THAT, YOU KNOW....
FROM SRI LANKA, LIVES IN
TORONTO.
TORONTO, A CITY KNOWN AS THE
CITY OF VILLAGES, CITY OF SMALL
TOWNS AND SO ON.
IN ITSELF IT IS A LANDSCAPE OF
GOTHIC, IT CAN BE A GOTHIC
LANDSCAPE WHERE PEOPLE ARE
WRITING ABOUT THE GHOSTS OF
THEIR PAST, THE THINGS THAT THEY
HAVE BROUGHT WITH THEM, THAT
THEN MERGE INTO THE PRESENT, OF
WHERE THEY ARE, AND WHAT EMERGES
FROM THAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S A KIND
OF A DET TERRITORIALIZATION.

Steve says MONIKA, LET ME GO TO
YOU ON THIS.
YOU KNOW, THE IMPORTANCE OF
PLACE IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
GOTHIC... YOU HEARD JANE SAY
THAT ONE OF THE... ONE OF
ALICE'S PIECES TAKE PLACE IN
ALBANIA AND IT SOMEHOW FITS INTO
THE GENRE.
TALK TO US ABOUT THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF ACTUALLY WHERE
THE STORY HAPPENS.

Monika says YEAH.
WELL, THE MAJORITY OF ALICE
MUNRO'S SHORT STORIES DO TAKE
PLACE IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO
AND EVEN THOUGH SHE'S LIVED A
LOT OF HER LIFE IN VICTORIA, SHE
DOESN'T SET MANY STORIES IN
BRITISH COLUMBIA.
SO THERE IS A LOCALITY THAT IS
SPECIFICALLY ONTARIO.
HAVING SAID THAT, I THINK THAT
ONTARIO IS CHARACTERIZED ALMOST
BY THE PRESENCE OF GHOSTS.
BY THAT I MEAN, WE ARE A
HISTORY... AND THIS IS TRUE OF
CANADA AS A WHOLE, BUT
PARTICULARLY IN SOUTHERN
ONTARIO... WE ARE A HISTORY OF
PEOPLE FROM A DIASPORA AND
SEVERAL DIASPORAS, AND THE EARLY
SETTLERS, ALL ARE HAUNTED BY
THEIR HOMELAND AND THE LAND WE
INHABITED WAS INHABITED PERHAPS
10,000 YEARS OR MORE BY FIRST
NATIONS PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN
LARGELY DISPLACED AND EVEN, TO
USE THE GOTHIC WORLD, KILLED,
RIGHT?
AND THIS IS PART OF THE
REPRESSED UNCONSCIOUS OF
ONTARIO.
OUR LAND IS VERY MUCH HAUNTED BY
THAT HISTORY.
THE HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS
WHO WERE ALSO CHASED OFF THE
LAND.
AND ALL OF THESE STORIES ARE
PART OF ONTARIO HISTORY.
NOW, IF WE HAVE NEW IMMIGRANTS
BRINGING THEIR STORIES FROM
THEIR OTHER COUNTRIES, THAT JUST
MAKES THE LAND MORE HAUNTED, IT
DOESN'T MAKE THE LAND LESS
HAUNTED.
SO I THINK ONTARIO IS AN ALMOST
SORT OF PLACE WHERE EVERYBODY
EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST NATIONS
PEOPLE HAVE GHOSTS FROM A PAST
FAR AWAY IN ANOTHER LAND, AND
CONSEQUENTLY... AND WE HAVE A
LONG HISTORY AS WELL.
THE BRITISH SETTLERS WHO CAME
HERE, THE PREDOMINANTLY BRITISH
SETTLERS WHO CAME HERE, FOR
EXAMPLE, WERE COMING FROM
LITERARY GOTHIC IN THE 19TH
CENTURY IN BRITAIN DURING ITS
HEY-DAY, SO THEY BROUGHT THOSE
TEXTS OVER, THEY BROUGHT THE
BRONES AND KEATS AND OTHERS.
BEYOND THAT ON A DEEPER LEVEL,
WE'RE A LAND OF GHOSTS.

Michael says AND THE
STORIES ARE COMING OUT OF OTHER
STORIES.
I MEAN, GOTHIC IS FED ON LOCAL
LEGEND, ORAL HISTORY, GRANNY'S
MEMORY OF THIS AND THAT.
IT COMES RESONANT WITH STORY.
IN ENGLAND, EVERY TREE, EVERY
RIVER, THERE'S A TALE ATTACHED
TO IT.
AND THAT'S THE GIFT THAT THE
ATWOODS AND GIBSONS AND ALICE
MUNRO AND JANE ARE GIVING US.
OUR ENVIRONMENT NOW IS A STORIED
ENVIRONMENT.
IT RESONATES MORE WITH US.

Shani says YOU MAKE ME
THINK OF CRAIG SHERAVES' NOVEL
"ONE NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI."
HE'S FROM BUXTON, ONTARIO.
AND HE'S WRITING ABOUT AN
AFRICAN-AMERICAN YOUNG MAN WHO
IS CAUGHT UP IN RACE PROBLEMS IN
THE U.S. AND SUCH, BUT BUXTON
ITSELF, YOU KNOW, IT'S A
HERITAGE AREA FOR THE
UNDERGROUND...

Steve says WHERE'S BUXTON?

Shani says IN SOUTHERN
ONTARIO... SORRY, SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO.

Steve says SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO.

Shani says YEAH,
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.
AND I THINK HE IS WRITING ONCE
AGAIN ANOTHER LANDSCAPE THAT
SOMETIMES MY OWN WORK IS CALLED
GOTHIC... "CEREUS BLOOMS AT NIGHT."
THERE'S NO CANADA IN IT.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a black and white picture of the lower half of a woman's face and a smaller coloured picture of a yellow flower.

Shani continues BUT ALSO BECAUSE WE'RE WRITING
ABOUT THINGS UNDER HERE BUT
THEY'RE PERCOLATING IN THIS
LANDSCAPE, COMING FROM
ELSEWHERE.
SO IT'S ALMOST AS IF THERE IS
ANOTHER LANDSCAPE ON TOP OF THE
ONE THAT WE HAVE HERE THAT IS
ALSO BEING MINED.
SO IT'S A LAYER ON TOP OF
SOUTHERN ONTARIO LANDSCAPE.
IT'S A SORT OF A SOUTHERN
ONTARIO UNSETTLER KIND OF
LANDSCAPE OR GOTHIC.

Steve says JANE, CAN I GET YOU
ON THIS?
I HAVE TO TELL YOU IN MY WORLD
WHERE I HANG OUT WITH
POLITICIANS TOO MUCH, I OFTEN
HEAR, THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED
BECAUSE KATHLEEN WYNNE IS
PREMIER OR THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED
BECAUSE MIKE HARRIS IS PREMIER.
I THINK YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A
DIFFERENT HAUNTING, THOUGH.
CAN YOU GIVE US SOME INSIGHT
INTO THAT?

Jane says WELL, FIRST
OF ALL, I'D LIKE TO SAY THAT
THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED I THINK
EVEN FOR THE SETTLERS THEMSELVES
AND NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY
BROUGHT HOMELANDS WITH THEM,
WHICH THEY DID, OF COURSE, AND
I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT EVERYONE
HERE, EXCEPT OUR FIRST NATIONS
PEOPLE, CARRY TWO HOMELANDS, ONE
THAT HAS BEEN ABANDONED AND ONE
IN WHICH THEY'RE LIVING, BUT
ALSO BECAUSE THERE WAS NO
CULTURE, NO WESTERN CULTURE OF
THEIR OWN TO CONNECT TO.
SO THEREFORE THEY ALSO BROUGHT
ALL OF THIS GOTHIC LITERATURE
WITH THEM.
AND OTHER TYPES OF LITERATURE AS
WELL.
THE ONLY THING THAT WAS BEING
READ EVEN BY THE TIME I WAS A
CHILD WAS ENGLISH LITERATURE
FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE.
IF YOU WERE VERY, VERY LUCKY YOU
MIGHT GET THE ODD AMERICAN TEXT
IN SCHOOL, AMERICAN NOVEL, BUT
MOSTLY WE WERE STILL READING
ENGLISH LITERATURE THAT WAS
WRITTEN BY THE ENGLISH IN
ENGLAND.
NOW, IN MY FAMILY, WE WERE A BIT
DIFFERENT IN THAT WE ALSO
EAGERLY EMBRACED ANY IRISH
LITERATURE THAT CAME INTO THE
HOUSE BECAUSE, UNLIKE THE
MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION, WE
WERE IRISH.
BUT I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING
THAT IS EASY TO FORGET, THAT
THOSE OF US WHO GREW UP IN THE
1950s IN ONTARIO REALLY DIDN'T
HAVE ANY ONTARIO LITERATURE, OR
MUCH ONTARIO LITERATURE TO
CONNECT TO.
WE WERE READING THE ENGLISH.

Steve says LET ME RAISE ANOTHER
ISSUE HERE AND THAT IS OF
ANIMALS, AND TO THAT END, I WANT
TO PLAY A CLIP, I WANT TO READ
AN EXCERPT FROM SOMETHING.
YOU ALL KNOW AUTHOR AND ACTRESS
ANNE MARIE McDONALD.
SHE RECENTLY HAD THIS TO SAY
ABOUT THE ALEX COLVILLE EXHIBIT
AT THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO,
IT RECENTLY OPENED IN OTTAWA,
AND SHE'S TALKING ABOUT THE
THEME YOU SEE THROUGHOUT A LOT
OF ALEX COLVILLE'S WORK, THAT
CROW, THAT VERY SCARY CROW.
ROLL IT, PLEASE.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Ann-Marie MacDonald. 2014."
In the clip, Ann-Marie gives an interview. She's in her early forties, with short dark blond hair.

She says ANGELS.
VERY INTERESTING IDEA THAT
COLVILLE BROUGHT UP.
CERTAINLY THE WAY I'VE SEEN THE
CROWS, I'VE SEEN THEM AS
WITNESSES, AS INTELLIGENT
WITNESSES AND MESSENGERS.

Pictures of crows flash by as she speaks.

Ann-Marie continues BUT THEY'RE SEEING THINGS FROM
THEIR OWN POINT OF VIEW.
SOME PEOPLE HAVE PROJECTED MALEVOLENCE on them.
They're not malevolent. They're smart.

The clip ends.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "The knowing crow." The quote reads "The crows saw what happened. Other birds were in the high branches and they saw too, but crows are different. They are interested. Other birds saw a series of actions. The crows saw the murder."
Quoted from Ann-Marie MacDonald. "The way the crow flies" (2003.)

Steve says OKAY, MICHAEL,
YOU'RE ON.
CROWS.
ANIMALS.
HOW DO THEY FIGURE IN THIS GENRE?

Michael says WELL, WE
COULD START WITH JANE URQUHART'S
"FIGURE OF EXODUS" CROW, AND THE
SPIRIT ANIMAL IS THE CROW.
WHY?
BECAUSE THE CROW SEES IN ALL
DIRECTIONS AT ONCE.
AND IT'S VERY ATTENTIVE AND IT
PICKS UP ON SHINY THINGS BUT
IT'S ALSO BLACK.
IT'S NOT THAT SORT OF OPPOSITE
CHARACTER TO IT... IT'S GOT THAT
SORT OF OPPOSITE CHARACTER TO
IT.
WE HAVE XAVIER BIRD.
THERE'S SO MUCH IMAGERY OF
ANIMALS IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
LANDSCAPE AND ALSO IN THE
STORIES.
IT STARTS OFF ONCE AGAIN, AS
MONIKA WAS SAYING, WITH JOHN
RICHARDSON'S WACOUSTA.
WE HAVE A WOLF MAN WITH HIS WOLF
DOG.
HE HAS ANOTHER BOOK CALLED THE
AVENGING WOLF.
SURFACING.
FURRY CREATURES.
BABIES RAISED BY WOLVES.
IN GRAHAM GIBSON'S "PERPETUAL
MOTION."

Steve says WHY IS IT THERE?

Michael says BECAUSE
WE'RE HAUNTED!

[Laughter]

Michael says BECAUSE
PART OF OUR PSYCHE HAS WALLED
OUT THE ANIMAL, THE INSTINCTUAL.
WE'RE OFF LIMITS.
WE'RE BACK TO THE CLIP WITH
ALICE MUNRO.
CERTAIN THINGS ARE NOT ON THE
TABLE FOR DISCUSSION.
PURITANISM.
ALICE CROSSED A CERTAIN LINE
WHEN SHE PUT THEM IN WORDS.
EVERYBODY KNOWS THEM BUT SHE PUT
IT IN WORDS AND SHE DOES IT IN
AN IMAGINATIVE WAY.
THE ANIMALS ARE THERE BECAUSE
THEY REPRESENT A SIDE OF
OURSELVES WE'RE NOT COMFORTABLE
WITH.
THE LAND IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE
ANIMALS.
WOMEN ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE
ANIMALS.
AND MARGINALIZED MEN, SUCH AS
YOU FIND IN JANE'S WORK.
THINGS WE CAN'T... THAT UNSETTLE
US, THAT DISTURB US.
AND THE ANIMALS CARRY OUR
SHADOW.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO SHADOW,
ANYTHING WITH A TAIL AND HAIR
AND FUR IS IN THERE.

Steve says JANE, WHY DO YOU PUT
ANIMALS IN YOUR LITERATURE?

Jane says I THINK IT'S
PARTLY BECAUSE I WAS BORN IN THE NORTH.
I KNOW THAT SEEMS TO BE A SIMPLE
ANSWER, BUT IN FACT I THINK IT'S
MORE COMPLEX THAN IT LOOKS.
WE STILL ARE IN POSSESSION OF
SOME OF THE MOST UNEXPLORED
WILDERNESS IN THE WORLD IN THIS
COUNTRY, AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT
THE NORTH SITS UP THERE LIKE OUR
SUPER-CONSCIOUSNESS AND DIRECTS
US IN WAYS THAT WE'RE UNAWARE
OF.
I'M FASCINATED BY HOW MUCH
ATTENTION IS PAID TO THE
SOUTHERN PART OF THE COUNTRY,
AND EVEN IN LITERATURE, WHERE
THERE'S A SORT OF ONGOING
ARGUMENT ABOUT WHETHER IT SHOULD
BE RURAL OR URBAN... AN
ARGUMENT, BY THE WAY, THAT I
THINK IS NONSENSE, ACTUALLY,
BECAUSE IT DOESN'T REALLY
MATTER.
IT EITHER WORKS OR IT DOESN'T.
BUT THE WHOLE TIME THIS ARGUMENT
IS GOING ON, THERE'S THIS HUGE
VAST TRACT OF LAND THAT, YOU
KNOW, RISES ABOVE US WHILE WE'RE
DOWN THERE SQUABBLING, AND STILL
IS, TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, FILLED
WITH ANIMALS AND NATURAL
RESOURCES AND NATURAL PHENOMENA.
I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THE
ANIMALS HAVE BEEN DISRESPECTED
IN OUR COUNTRY RIGHT FROM THE
BEGINNING, RIGHT FROM THE FUR
TRADE ON.
AND RIGHT FROM THE FACT THAT WE,
OF COURSE, DIDN'T PAY ATTENTION
TO OUR FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE WHO
TOLD US THAT ANIMALS WERE VERY,
VERY IMPORTANT.

Steve says LET ME, IN OUR
REMAINING MOMENTS HERE, NOW PUT
ONE LAST ISSUE ON THE TABLE, AND
THAT IS WHETHER OR NOT THIS
GENRE HAS LEGS, AND BY THAT I
MEAN THIS.
LET'S READ THIS.
THIS IS ALICE MUNRO TOLD TO
GRAHAM GIBSON IN 11 CANADIAN
NOVELISTS, CAME OUT 40 YEARS AGO NOW...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Wither Ontario's Gothic tradition?" The quote reads "It's a very rooted kind of place. I think that the kind of writing I do is almost anachronistic, because it's so rooted in one place, and most people, even of my age, do not have a place like this any more, and it's something that may not have meaning very much longer. I mean this kind of writing."
Alice Munro, as told to Graeme Gibson, in "Eleven Canadian Novelists" (1973.)

Steve says NOW, SHE SAID THIS
MORE THAN 40 YEARS AGO AND IT
STILL AS A GENRE IS WITH US NOW.
I WONDER, JANE, NOW THAT THIS
PROVINCE IS GETTING MORE AND
MORE URBANIZED BY THE DAY, DO
YOU WORRY AT ALL THAT THIS GENRE
MAY RESONATE LESS WITH PEOPLE
GOING FORWARD?

The caption changes to "Changing landscape."

Jane says WELL, FIRST
OF ALL, I THINK IT SHOULD BE
POINTED OUT THAT THE GENRE WAS
HANDED TO THE WRITER.
THE WRITER DID NOT THINK TO HIS
OR HERSELF: I KNOW.
I'M GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING IN
THE SOUTHERN ONTARIO GOTHIC
GENRE.
I DON'T THINK WRITERS THINK LIKE
THAT.
THEY DON'T INVENT GENRES AND
THEN RUSH OFF AND WRITE BOOKS
THAT FIT NEATLY INTO WHATEVER
DEFINES THAT PARTICULAR GENRE.
HOWEVER, HAVING SAID THAT, I'M
ALSO NOT A BELIEVER, AS I THINK
I MENTIONED BEFORE, IN ANYTHING
DETERMINING THE VALUE OF A
NOVEL, ANY EXTERNAL
CIRCUMSTANCES DETERMINING THE
VALUE OF FICTION.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU WRITE A
NOVEL THAT IS NOW SET IN RURAL
ONTARIO WHEN ONTARIO IS IN THE
PROCESS OF URBANIZATION, I THINK
THAT COULD BE A VERY INTERESTING
NOVEL, ESPECIALLY IF IT WERE A
CONTEMPORARY NOVEL, TO WATCH
THAT WHOLE PROCESS TAKE PLACE.
OR IF YOU SET A NOVEL IN URBAN
ONTARIO, IT WOULD ALSO BE
SOMETHING THAT COULD EXPLORE
HUMAN NATURE WHICH IS, AFTER
ALL, WHAT WE'RE REALLY TRYING TO
DO IN VARIOUS WAYS.
BUT I JUST FEEL THAT IT'S
SOMETIMES DANGEROUS TO
PIGEONHOLE WRITERS INTO A
PARTICULAR GENRE, PARTICULARLY
SINCE THE WRITER THEMSELVES HAD
NOT THOUGHT ABOUT IT AT ALL.

Steve says FAIR ENOUGH.
ALL RIGHT, MICHAEL, SINCE JANE
HAS RAISED THE HYPOTHETICAL, IF
YOU HAD TO WRITE A SOUTHERN
ONTARIO GOTHIC NOVEL AND YOU'RE
GOING TO SET IT SOMEWHERE IN
SOUTHERN ONTARIO, WHAT WOULD YOU
BE WRITING ABOUT?

Michael says WELL,
TORONTO HAS REALLY OCCUPIED THE
SOUTHERN ONTARIO MUSE FOR A LONG
TIME.
I'M FROM TILLSONBURG.
I COULD SET IT IN RURAL
TILLSONBURG.
I DON'T HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH
THE SENSE WE'RE BECOMING MORE
URBAN.
I THINK WE'RE LOOKING FOR ROOTS.
WE'RE LOOKING FOR THAT SENSE OF
A DEFINITE PLACE.
I WOULD BORROW HEAVILY, IF I WAS
WRITING A NOVEL, FROM THE
MUNROS, FROM JAMES RAINEY, FROM
GIBSON, AND ALL OF THEM ARE
DEALING WITH DUPLICITY.
JOSEPH BLAKE, ALICE MUNRO,
JANE... THEY ARE QUITE AWARE OF
THE SPLIT-DIVIDED GOTHIC
CHARACTER, THIS FRACTURED SORT
OF CONTRADICTORY PERSON, AND
THEY DON'T HAVE TO LOOK FAR AND
YOU OR I DON'T HAVE TO LOOK FAR
TO SEE TODAY'S CONTEMPORARY, THE
COUNTERPARTS OF THE
DR. FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER,
VAMPIRE, DR. JEKYLL, MR. HYDE.
CONSIDER, IF YOU WILL, THE
GOTHIC GAP BETWEEN THE
APPEARANCE AND THE REALITY.
THE PUBLIC PERSONA AND THE
HIDDEN OTHER HYDE OF ONTARIANS
LIKE JIAN GHOMESHI, ROB FORD
WITH THE SHADOWY UNDERWORLD
ENCOUNTERS, METICULOUS CONTROL
FREAK COLONEL RUSSELL WILLIAMS,
THE MIDNIGHT RAPER MURDERER, THE
BOY NEXT DOOR, PAUL BERNARDO,
THAT QUINTESSENCE OF DULLNESS,
SEEMINGLY, MacKENZIE KING WHO
ROBERTSON DAVIES SAYS HE WAS
SECRETLY COMMUNING, STEVE, WITH
THE SPIRIT OF HIS DEAD MOTHER
WHO HE FELT HAD TAKEN UP
RESIDENCE IN HIS CAT, NOT TO
MENTION THE CURRENT
ONTARIO-BORN, ONTARIO-RAISED
PRIME MINISTER, HE OF THE VERY
GOTHIC PRONOUNCEMENTS ABOUT A
GREAT EVIL DESCENDING ON THE
WORLD, REACHING ITS TENTACLES
INTO OUR LIVES, OUR INNOCENT
LIVES, UNLESS WE SACRIFICE OUR
HARD-WON CIVIL LIBERTIES TO GET
THE SECURITY OF BILL C-51 WHICH
ITS DETRACTORS NATION-WIDE SEE
AS A VERY FRANKENSTEINIAN PIECE OF...

Steve says MICHAEL, GET OFF THE
FENCE AND TELL ME WHAT YOU
REALLY THINK.
FRIENDS, WE HAVE 30 SECONDS LEFT.
I THINK WE SHOULD SEND OUR
VIEWERS INTO THE ONTARIO NIGHT
WITH YOUR VIEW OF A SOUTHERN
ONTARIO GOTHIC NOVEL.
JANE, DO YOU WANT TO GO FIRST?
WHAT ARE YOU RECOMMENDING?

Jane says I'M THINKING NOW.
I GUESS PROBABLY "FIFTH
BUSINESS" BY ROBERTSON DAVIES.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a drawing of a person whose face is made up of four different faces.

Jane continues THAT PARTICULAR NOVEL SUMS UP
WHAT IT IS THAT WE THINK OF AS
THE GOTHIC IN ONTARIO FICTION.

Steve says FABULOUS.
MONIKA?

Monika says MAY I GIVE YOU
A PLAY?

Steve says SURE.

Monika says JAMES RAINEY'S
"THE BLACK DONNELLYS."

Steve says GREAT STORY.

Monika says HE IS ONE OF
OUR BEST GOTHIC WRITERS FROM
SOUTHERN ONTARIO AND ONE OF THE
MOST INFLUENTIAL, HE'S HAD A
HUGE IMPACT ON A LOT OF WRITERS
THAT ARE MORE FAMOUS THAN HE IS,
LIKE MARGARET ATWOOD AND ALICE
MUNRO.

Steve says MICHAEL?

Michael says GRAEME
GIBSON, "PERPETUAL MOTION."
IT NOT ONLY HAS LEGS, STEVE, IT HAS WINGS.

Steve says WELL SAID.
SHANI?

Shani says BECAUSE I'M
INTERESTED IN CHAMPIONING THE
IDEA OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE
GENRE, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY
CHAMPION KATHERINE KUTENBRAU'S
"ALL THE GOLDEN THINGS."
IT HAS ALL THE ELEMENTS OF THE
CLASSIC... WHAT'S IT CALLED?...
SOUTHERN ONTARIO...

The caption changes to "The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Weeknights at 8 on TVO and theagenda.tvo.org"

Steve says THERE YOU GO.
GOOD.
YOU TWO AUTHORS ARE TYPICALLY CLASSY.
I GAVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO
PLUG ONE OF YOUR OWN BOOKS AND
YOU STILL PLUG SOMEBODY ELSE.
THAT'S A VERY ONTARIO THING TO DO.
LET'S REMIND EVERYBODY THAT JANE
URQUHART WHO HAS BEEN WITH US
FROM VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA,
HER LATEST IS CALLED "THE NIGHT
STAGES."
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
PARTICIPATING TONIGHT.
HERE IN OUR TORONTO STUDIO,
MONIKA LEE, MICHAEL HURLEY FROM
R.M.C. IN KINGSTON, AND SHANI
MOOTOO MOST RECENTLY "MOVING
FORWARD SIDEWAYS LIKE A CRAB."
WHAT A GREAT TITLE.
THANKS, EVERYBODY.

Watch: Southern Ontario Gothic