Writers are inheritors of another kind of lineage, one that they claim not by the corroboration of blood or name, but by the self-assertion of a right to storytelling. This is how writing can share and borrow lineages from myth, poetry, and theories. For many writers, the choice of what literary modes or models, schools or styles to adopt as one’s own is one that determines a life’s work.
Of course, there are also the cultural inheritances that are preconceived for us, by our elders, leaders and teachers. They are passed down by way of our mother tongue, proverbial sayings, idioms and family legends. We inherit tastes and aesthetic standards through our academic studies, and assimilate methods of analysis and literary approaches through our curriculum. Bodies of literature and literary canons can also be violently and insidiously imposed onto colonial subjects as an extension of state and institutional power. Those traumatic histories and devalued selfhoods are among a Canadian writer’s most painful legacies.
In its 2016 Spring Supplement, The Puritan invites writing that considers our complicated relationship to our literary inheritances. We welcome stories, poetry, essays, reviews and interviews that questions our inherited ideas, philosophies, standards and biases. How much of the past do we identify with, how long do we need to keep rehashing familiar debates, and how do we ultimately reject outmoded concepts in order to forge new connections and fresh approaches?
Some possible topics include:
- reinterpreting myth and tradition
- family traits and tendencies
- collective memory and memorialization
- traumatic histories
- ghost stories
- native language speakers
- land claims/ ancestral claims
- literary successors
- literary legacies: wills, papers and archives
- fallacies and appeals to antiquity/tradition
- the legacies of feuds, scandals and controversies
If you are interested in contributing, please send a pitch to puritanmagazineeditors [at] gmail [dot] com (with “Spring Supplement 2016” as the subject line) by Feb 15th, with the possibility of a first draft by March 20th .
Supplement Editor, The Puritan