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Acquiescence and salvation : Colin McDougall's Execution and existential postwar Canadian literature

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Acquiescence and salvation : Colin McDougall's Execution and existential postwar Canadian literature

Abram, Zachary (2009) Acquiescence and salvation : Colin McDougall's Execution and existential postwar Canadian literature. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Since winning the 1958 Governor General's award, Colin McDougall's only novel, Execution, has been critically neglected despite the richness of a text that provides ample critical avenues into postwar Canadian literature. This thesis, "Acquiescence and Salvation," will revitalize critical interest in McDougall, an overlooked but deserving Montreal writer, and place his work into the larger context of postwar Canadian literature. In addition, this thesis will examine the complicated relationship the novel has to existentialism, especially as it relates to trauma and how one makes meaning out of experience. McDougall's characterization and explicit allusions to existential writers like Franz Kafka indicate that Execution is an existential meditation as well as a war novel. However, this interpretation of Execution is complicated by the Christian allegory at its end, which seems out of place in an existential text. The thesis will explore the themes of sacrifice, responsibility, experience and existentialism in the primary text in concert with the writings of Sartre, Conrad, Camus, and Kafka in order to understand the postwar existential context inhabited by McDougall. Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling will be especially important to the thesis since Execution synthesizes its distinct Christian existentialism into novel form.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Abram, Zachary
Pagination:v, 86 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:English
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Webb, P
ID Code:976493
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:27
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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