Saxophonic Circles, Machete Marks
Three hundred and fifty years ago Louis XIV issued the Code Noir — a series of fifty-nine laws applied to slaves in Caribbean colonies. In her debut fiction collection, Canisia Lubrin writes through these original codes to shed light on the Sun King and give voice to those who were silenced by imperial edicts. The islands’ oral cultures contest the written decrees, and Lubrin’s opaque codes and petits recits dismantle the master narrative of the past. Subtitled Metamorphoses, each of her offerings mutates from Ovidian beginnings through Kafkaesque parables and Borgesian labyrinths. Furthermore, each entry is accompanied by American artist Torkwase Dyson’s black-and-white drawings that address the original Code Noir and Lubrin’s imaginative critique. This juxtaposition of visual and textual elements reinforces a Black aesthetic and mimetic code.
Some of the author’s codes are allegories of identity, where allegory means an other speaking or a speaking of otherness. Code 23, “Metamorphosis 2: Corpse Exquisite,” presents an apocalyptic scene: “Now that we’ve followed this road for a few days with a philosophical question about living plainly, fitting no allegory…” In her migrating accounts, Lubrin follows many roads, and her refusal of allegory is itself followed by “I Have Become Allegory.” This allegory is divided into two sides. “Side A: Allegory as How Many Storms,” which is filled with apocalyptic sound; and “Side Be: Allegory as Job Interview,” which contains a beginning and an ending that connect to other stories in the book. Code 52, “Finally, Since I Have Become Allegory,” continues the story of Piyah’s blindness from the earlier story where blindness becomes a symptom of society. From beginning to ending, Code Noir is an interconnected allegory, another speaking, a speaking of the other, a postcolonial assembly of voices. “Side Be” points to sides taken, the beside, the being and becoming of ontology and hauntology.
Torkwase Dyson’s drawings depict these allegories, their dark marks interfering with the wording of imperial edicts. Pentimento and palimpsest, each picture troubles a thousand words with black smudges, erasures, commentaries on Louis XIV’s and Lubrin’s codes. They add a fuller picture to Lubrin’s already fulsome text, and what animates her allegories are voices and vistas in 59 short stories — the jazz and geometric disturbances of drawings.
The three epigraphs that Lubrin has chosen indicate the directions she follows in her work. The first is taken from Lucille Clifton’s “1994”: “but you must know all about this / from your own shivering life.” This shivering sound feeds into the other epigraphs and most of Lubrin’s writing. The second epigraph is from Aimé Césaire’s “A Discourse on Colonialism”: “I hear the storm. They talk to me about progress.” The shivering storm progresses to the third epigraph from Merle Hodge’s “Crick, Crack, Monkey”: “‘No,’ we chorused.” Her Caribbean chorus joins many other voices in Lubrin’s polyphonic, polymorphous odes to sorrow and joy. Her avant-garde jazz shivers Canada and cracks the Carib-being throughout a Black diaspora.
In her “Opening Remarks” the author encodes and decodes her own discourse: “The murderers in this draft are those who write the laws … with their Black Codes — every morning of every country on Earth.” Set against the “breaking, buried language” of ministers, presidents, or physicians is the poet who is “growing into their fictions” by using a counter-discourse to break the colonial language barriers. Lubrin’s metaphoric mind subverts any official buried language and brings it not only to the surface but also transcends it. She refers to her writing as a “set-up” meant to confront the King’s codes: “I sometimes went flying with a winged assassin. We flew across the continents, met gods with wrecked noses and infant deities with erections, all framed in rooms of men-at-arms.” Lubrin’s iconoclastic flights subvert hierarchies and cover continents and aeons of pain.
Her first code, “The Keeper of Dates,” begins with “The woman keeps all her dates in a black room.” Black tropes pervade these historical allegories alongside Dyson’s forceful lines. Instead of Kafka’s gatekeeper, we confront a female datekeeper who remembers a historic auction scene. To promote the allegory and decenter meaning, pronouns shift from Dyson’s “they” to “You enter the room barefoot. She is standing at the front of the room beside a single white Roman pedestal …. We have been told she remembers everything there ever was.” Barefoot versus pedestal, black versus white, imperial Rome versus postcolonial keeper — this surreal auction occurs where no one is welcome. “It is a strange respite from wasting our lives in the lingering noise of men who had arbitrarily determined what was important enough to be ritual.” History’s noise initiates the ritual of sound: “As we wait, a recording begins on loop: Sit. Sit …. (A loud, prolonged wind full of sibilant Ss enters the room and hovers.” In this strange loop of sounds a vertical plane is established between sitting and standing: “Against this soundtrack, the woman begins the auction, and a crew of men, wearing velvet blindfolds and striped suits, begin to bid on the dates.” Blindness peers through these codes, while John Coltrane’s jazz provides background guidance.
The female auctioneer is opposed to the crew of men and Roman pedestal. The interplay of Ss (slaves, sold) includes a visual component that lends an aura to allegory: “A small light falls through a hole in the ceiling. When she is done with the language of dates, her skin glistens, onyx.” Onyx’s variegated colour belongs to a larger scheme and spectrum — Lubrin’s vistas that radiate from a small ceiling light to a broader panorama: “And then we left, carrying the feeling that we were travelling toward a wind that would scatter our lives beyond any manageable scope.” Like Coltrane’s sounds, Lubrin’s scope increases through the auction: “Three hundred and twenty-two years from the day of the auction, in a place called Code Noir: Risking the Dark, you will find the dates’ migrations, and an arrow illuminating a path through the dark.” In her series of historic mutations, she risks the dark, and her reader follows an arrow of geometric sound from bullhorn and saxophone.
Code 2, “No ID, or We Could be Brothers,” is one of the most accessible codes because of its contemporary, realistic setting. Gregory, a taxi driver in Toronto, is supposed to pick up the narrator and his friend Andi, but Gregory is beaten up by the police. The title highlights the sense of identity in this story where narrator and Gregory are connected in brotherly camaraderie. The story begins on King Street in an historic nod to the originator of black codes; the characters are “consumers of misery” who argue “about some grand-sounding-but-empty thing we’d read about feminism and badness in the national paper.” Gregory’s background is significant, not only in this story, but in others as well: “He had left his family on an island, waiting, as he accumulated, in the arteries of the metropolis, many things worth numbers less than zero.” This accumulation of negative numbers prepares for the ending where he is in the hospital when “you want things to add up that don’t add up.” Similarly, the city’s arteries with their flow and arrest of traffic contrast with the patient’s arteries damaged by police brutality.
“He had come from what most people viewed as nothing, the tough plantation life, now only memory, of a now-mythic Caribbean.” The nothingness of his past belongs to the negative mathematics in the metropolis and the emptiness of an argument surrounding feminism. Gregory’s biography runs in counterpoint to the immediacy of the violent events of his arrest and beating. Similarly, the narrator’s identification with Gregory underscores the entire question of identity and brotherhood. Negative numbers form part of “No ID,” while events distance their resemblance: “now he’s as remote and distant from my present as a forgotten age when gold coin passed for legal tender.” This reference to the past reminds us of Louis XIV’s golden currency and black codes, as well as the hardships of negative numbers that interfere with the ability to make gains. Coltrane’s “Venus” weaves these threads together in the taxicab’s musical background — “the blessing of Coltrane’s obnoxious sax.” That music voices the liquid belonging from mythic Caribbean to realistic Canada. Disruptive and eruptive, Coltrane’s notes and tones improvise a grid along with Dyson’s blur.
The next code combines historical realism (the end of World War II) with a fable “”Involving the Krill and the Whale.” “Leaving Oneself in the Cupboard” begins with the Rastaman playing a bugle to announce the end of the Second World War. Al the Rastafan has served in the army in the war against the Germans, but his efforts go unrewarded. “He did not mean to speculate on the probable entertainment or visions concerned with the co-dependence of the krill and the whale.” This ecosystem of liquid belonging, large and small, devourer and devoured works its way through the story. Armed with a machete rather than a rifle, Al (the beginning of Allegory) cultivates a plantation. “Everything in such countries has their history: the milk, the goats, the people who trade one story for another between the cycles that measure a life against the stubborn stages of the tides.” If this bugle adds another voice to Lubrin’s chorus, then the tides advance her vistas, liquid belongings, and storied exchanges. Al’s “trio of spaces” had “launched a crude and unpopular empire.” “Leaving Oneself in the Cupboard” is a domestic drama subdivided into many sections with subtitles that tease meaning. The title of the final section, “As Through a Flower or Kitchen Garden” invites comparisons and choices in Lubrin’s mixing of metaphoric and narrative elements whose scope includes minuscule krills and vast whales.
In the face of subtractions and divisions, Lubrin multiplies through choices and options of either-or modes or metaphoric substitutions. Code 4, “The Birth Dealer, or the Two-Sided Caduceus,” branches and proliferates. These double snakes relate to the twisted meanings of the messenger Hermes and to medicinal healing powers — the double-dealing of narrative birthing. The story starts off in a “Western” fashion: “Ole Moon rode into town on his brown horse, towing a beige carriage.” This brown-beige colour scheme gives way to another dichotomy between Great House and tavern. Ole Moon rides in search of Helena Jallaim, the local midwife. “He said it like this, with his ‘one’ alveolar, beginning with gw: “Anybody know gwhere I might find
Helena Jallaim?” This peculiar pronunciation is at once comic and sinister, his one opposed to two-sided Caduceus, his alveolar allegory preparing for difficult breathing and death. Ole Moon’s colloquial voice joins others in regional dialects and eccentricities.
The narrative gaze follows him: “I and several others watched him let the horse shift his heavy ass all bèlèkont to-and-fro.” Bèlèkont stands out as much as the horse’s sweeping motion to join Ole Moon’s pronunciation and other bel cantos. The narrator’s gaze participates in the comic to-and-fro of voice and vista in this story. Helena is known locally and affectionately as “Dou-Dou” — a doubling midwife who, along with Ma Weight, is the only female presence. Ole Moon produces a photo of a bronze riding boot with a massive Spanish spur from the statue of Juan de Oñate seated on a horse. Oñate had built up all the streets in New Mexico, according to Ole Moon who contrasts small and big, like tavern and Great House: “Small men like the ones who go around breaking things off the monuments of big men.” Ole Moon plays the death dealer in contrast to Dou-Dou. When she fails to save a baby and its mother, he prepares to shoot her, but a deus ex machina saves her life at the end: “And Dou-Dou and I watched as the horse raised a foot — all flesh and privacy — and kicked Ole Moon dead in the head.” History’s iconoclastic boot takes revenge in New Mexico against conquistadors and colonialism. Birth and death in this code stand for New Mexico’s history. Ole Moon and Oñate fall in the stroke of a pen and bèlèkont revenge against equestrian statues and regal statutes. Once again, Lubrin’s ventriloquism levels the killing field.
From New Mexico to Haiti, the end of Code 5, “The Origin of Lullaby,” features another fall: “Because the moment you become filled with something, anything, that buzzing in your head is swallowed up, without warning, porous and full of the world’s human voices — and the lullaby is born, shoots out to cushion your fall.” Lubrin shifts the hum and buzz of implication away from metropolitan noise to colonial lullaby. In her landscape of voices Sara and Andi reappear from the earlier story, as does Coltrane’s Haitian Jazz structure to open the masterpiece Kulu Sé Mama in the music of Raoul Guillaume, the Haitian musician. This lullaby is a liquid translation from shore to shore in expanding and retreating vistas.
The dog in Code 5 leads to “17 Dogs” in Code 6, which in turn nods to André Alexis’s Fifteen Dogs. This parable intersperses, syncopates, and improvises “Who” to question identities and meanings in the bark of a saxophone and grid of dysgraphia. “Dressed-up dog on the bridge” remains a mystery, while “Russian Oligarch” sends a clear message that divides victims and perpetrators in an engaged and enraged potpourri. The allegory ends on a foreboding note: “The dogs are coming, and they know you by name.” Immediately following these “dogs” is “Code Noir: Swing,” an oscillation between coming and going, between swing music and geographic swings, and between literal and figurative meanings. “We know we are going places. We swing this way, we swing that way, we swing until we have stuck the moon, stuck it to our backs.” Moonstuck experimental codes swing from brief proverbs to longer narratives. “Via Overnight Mail” is delivered in a long footnote following a single textual line: “Fifteen years, been driving this cab.” The number returns to 17 dogs, while cab driving recalls Gregory’s taxi. The cab driver comes home after his night shift and kicks his dog. In his distinct voice he describes a haunted house and picking up a passenger who is “all blanched from the head down.” The driver changes shifts, works three days of twelve-hour shifts: “No moral ideal but let’s just call it happiness.” Jazz note amid Dyson’s strokes, the footnote is the textual underdog that tugs on the leash to connect creatures.
From Coltrane’s Interstellar Space, “Speaking from Jupiter” sings of Minnie Robertson in a nursing home, but the story begins with the nameless narrator (sometimes Claudia Jones) visiting a cemetery with lilies and an elephant for her deceased twin sister. With a false ID, she purchases a gun to teach people how to shoot. On her Sunday visits to the nursing home, she encounters Rad S. “who has a great scar across her face from ear to ear that she calls a tattoo, to cover up her metamorphosis from cyclops to human.” Her eyesight does not “translate in double the vision” — yet another example of metamorphosis and doubling in bifocal and bifurcating postcolonialism. The final frame returns to the colloquy in the cemetery where the unreliable narrator admits that she has lied to her twin about the elephant. Her frame of reference is destabilised at the “fabulous tombstone.” The mood from Jupiter is metaphoric and extraterrestrial: “You’d love it, I think, full of marble and scripture from an anxious mood.” This code is surreal and dreamlike from grave to nursing home to shooting range. “I may even have heard you calling out to me once today, your voice shooting fast from the other end of a long, empty corridor.” Voice and vista conclude Code 9.
“Metamorphosis: 1” takes over in the form of a colloquy: “My dear, me again:” This postcolonial code begins with a sound: “We are beyond reach — but still, stretch your ears to the trade winds.” The wind’s voice reaches across Caribbean islands trading one name for another place. Paralleling Dyson’s lines, a volcanic erasure follows: black bar over black words where ruin marks everything, and “the common migration of monarch butterflies” comments on human migration against history’s monarchs. Loneliness is the central theme of this story, which conveys “meaning in metaphor.” Loneliness can only be reproduced “ the approximation of metaphor.” Lubrin’s “volcanic line of thought” is metaphoric and metamorphic, running in currents and codes. The final line of the story frames its structure by reversing the opening line, its repetition twinning the sisters and combining both currents: “Today. Me again, my dear.”
The volcano spills over to “Cedar Grove Rose,” an allegory with magic realism that alludes to World War 2. If the title seems to locate Rose in space, the story itself undercuts her location in keeping with the book’s overarching structure of liquid belonging — its divisions into “Now,” “And Then,” “And Elsewhere” — shifting frames of time and place. Lubrin’s fiction navigates the elsewhere or other place of Foucault’s heterotopia. “They say Rose was born in invisible space. And because of this, Rose could bend anything to her will.” This casual introductory prose embeds its own poetic elements, as Lubrin makes invisibility visible and undermines our notions of a stable spatial and temporal frame. Furthermore, this breakage of frames mirrors Dyson’s drawing on the opposite page with its thick blockades. “Nowadays, if you were to come upon the thick blockades of unbothered bush that surround Here, our neighbourhood that was formed by the momentary rage of a volcano no one remembers, you would have a burden of a time convincing anyone of Rose’s storied anomalies.” Lubrin’s nimble pronouns shift along with her genres of poetry and science fiction, and her blur of space and time. Her burden of time is filled with amnesia and anomalies. “Here” is simultaneously specific and vague in the topography of liquid belonging and allegory of storied animalities. “Here is made up of one field with its threadbare picket fence on the boundary still drawing apart sunlight and moonlight like matchsticks in the dirt.” The vista of “Here” is between cosmic light and minuscule matches.
Invisible space becomes more visible: “The sinewy edge of Here was once the British Empire’s communications headquarters and its stronghold of slave catchers, and held its army whores during the Second World War.” History clarifies her vista and Dyson’s sinewy, insinuating edges. “All the bays on the Atlantic side of Here are deep, and just wide enough to keep ships unseen by enemy vessels.” The Atlantic allegory is pregnant with meaning. “There has always been more Here here, of course.” There has additional meaning: “what nobody knows is that Rose made this invisible space of hers, with all its merciless things — and that Rose had turned a fugitive from There, which was a helloid by nearly any standard — into a Rose simply because she could.” In the flux of metamorphosis helloid is a block with its questionable etymology of hell or hello ID for identity, not only for Rose, but also for meaning.
Rose’s transatlantic topological code flows between here and there, now and then. Just as she bends time and man in the same way, so the unreliable narrator engages in the same bending: “I won’t tell you how I know Rose and this story; we have no time for that now. But you’re got to believe me because I own these words.” The narrator’s verbal ownership differs from colonial and capitalist possession, as she intervenes between the stranger (Baron) and Rose. When the narrator analyzes Rose’s character as always suggesting something else, we know that this description applies to all of these stories that suggest something else. “Her body, always Cartesian, turned things inside out.” Lubrin’s Cartesian codes shape geometry through misshapen dysgraphia.
Baron takes the shape of a spoon and a rose in his metamorphosis as he dances beside his dog in a choreographic code. In this fable the dog jumps on the table and presses his paw on the Play button of Baron’s radio, “and on came some jazz. Coltrane. It must have been ‘Venus,’ except fifteen years too soon.” Just as Rose and the dog return from earlier Codes, so too does Coltrane’s improvised jazz, no matter the time scheme. His “Venus” improvises this planet and insinuates itself in various Codes. Fifteen years too soon reminds us of time’s loops: “I remember that night in 1938 when Rosa’s mama had found her reputation as a Seeyer: she was one of those women who had warned the world about the end of the war.” That historic prophecy frames Rose’s chronicle; Rosa’s mom had warned people on the island about submarines in the Caribbean Sea. By the end of the story Baron is erased: “The fella turned back this time — and I saw he was as weary as any man who knew he’d been eclipsed into exile.”
Venus reappears in the next Code, “Of Dark Matter,” which begins at 6 A.M.: “‘Expect no map, no archetype from me,’ I tell Venus over the phone.” Venus cycles through planets, love, and Coltrane; photographs do not “mirror but mirage, truth not revealed but effaced.” She “can smooth out a phrase or two to the universe” in planetary voice and liquid vistas: “I say no and trace the contour of my voice, its tension with gravity, the way it fights with the world.”
That jazz continues in “Earth in the Time of Billie Holiday,” situated in Los Angeles, 1942. Combat has a sound — “the rapid sounds of an illusion coming apart.” Despite the air-raid sirens, the characters “could still speak at our normal pitch and volume because we were so used to a different kind of loud.” Billie Holiday’s voice is on the radio, while a character speaks a word, “muted as though spoken into a conch shell.” Miles Davis’s horn and Coltrane’s sax play “a saudade of saltwater” — the melancholy spray of Atlantic and Pacific against the City of Angels.
“Code Noir: Papier-Mâché” is gnomic and Borgesian: “Decades. Decades it would take. But both of our mothers died in the library of the future.” Dyson’s codes chew and mash paper. “A Goodnight” opens three weeks later and ends with departing sounds: “I could hear something like silverfish … not yet void of plots … and ahead of me is another leaving.” In response to King Louis’s Code to provide a measure of linen clothes for slaves, “Clocktowers” measures dystopian time in expressionistic colours around plantations. “The wheel comes to rest on a notebook held up on a bannister and covered with a round piece of black linen.” With their dusty inkmarks, notebooks tend to be ominous, and the black linen is picked up by “a black-faced grassquit.” “The notebook is said to have belonged to the Invisible Girl,” amid an accumulation of dust, dusty, and dirt. Amidst the “carnival of orange hues” the narrator washes herself with a new colour scheme and schedule, the chromatic chronology of slavery — the “black that shows everything.” The clocktower measures time from seconds to three hours to a century: “in one hundred years I will return, chronicling every free second, binding the volumes of our lives from dust.” The bonds of books and bodies, the free second and freed slaves — Lubrin’s compressed paragraphs overflow with tropes, meanings, lines, and linens.
In “How the River Swells” Lubrin returns to her roots once again. She begins in familiar territory surrounded by St. Lucia’s bamboo and banana groves. “My best friend died in the Roseau River, so I know it well enough.” Traumatic yet familiar, the river not only swells, but it “scars its course a short distance between the mountains and the Caribbean Sea.” The narrator maps this river through Dyson’s scarred drawings and liquid belonging, as well as the swell of Coltrane’s music. It bifurcates emotionally too: “I know it as a place of madness but of great reverie, too.” Her brother teaches her to swim in this river, and her underwater vista abruptly alters when her niece dies: “I met with a vanishing point one Monday morning in September of 1989.” Her rivered verbs form part of a haunting that “found no way to translate the sorrow,” as she feels suddenly ripped open — “becoming my own pseudonym” — a vanishing point in space, time, and existence; Coltrane’s voice, Dyson’s drowning vista.
Fast forward to 2002 in Toronto where she watches documentaries on the Discovery Channel: “No more of these picturesque, difficult things narrated in ornate British accents.” The narrator’s St. Lucia accent counters the imperial accent: “What about the people of the Antilles, not the beasts.” These ornate accents come into contact with “an ornate wood-carved picture frame” on her father’s windowsill. It’s not just that the ornate becomes unadorned, but the frame itself contains the words “truth is, we’ve all been framed.” Lubrin’s frames within frames (mise en abyme) create a narrative vertigo, and the frame becomes even more fraught because it contains a faded black-and-white photo. She frames, breaks frames, and is broken by them. She returns to the island’s church music and responds to familiar rituals. The river “is legendary for swelling without warning” because of rain from the mountains.
These liquid legends continue in “The Blind Seamstress” where the child narrator describes events surrounding Madame Jaques. Her nephew has “a permanent song in him,” and the cadence of his voice intones Lucky Dube. At the parish church with its “wicked acoustics” he mispronounces “dye king konkom,” which elicits laughter: “How could he not enjoy that lovely slide of Creole into the Queen’s English?” This linguistic slide between “thy kingdom come” and “dye king cucumber” is another aspect of postcolonial musical humour. The narrator, who had worried about being pierced by the blind seamstress, is reassured once she sees her skills at the sewing machine: “This was dancing. It was hypnotic. Madame Jaques was not a strange god.”
In her opaque vision Madame Jaques demonstrates her seeing powers, her insight into the human condition, so that a reversal reveals the narrator’s blindness to the seamstress’s skills. The “something more” in this true fiction is an excess of understanding and meaning through the dance of her Singer sewing machine, her nephew’s laughter, and her niece’s breaking “through the beaded curtains, their lines clacking densely around her like sound into water.” Her “strange mask for a god” is lifted to reveal her fuller humanity, liquid belonging, and lovely slide of unseen language.
Code 56, “The Postcard,” illustrates Lubrin’s ekphrastic technique commenting on Dyson’s black strokes surrounding the seventeenth-century words, “Declare their emancipation made in our islands.” To which the twenty-first century responds with a postcard or postscript: “A skull like a mask with gated teeth. A crown of three spires floating above it. The whole a white against black. My first thought was of someone unsteady on their feet.” The king’s words are framed and imprisoned by Dyson’s rectangles, while her trios of vertical spikes confront the crown’s three spires. Her mask speaks and silences, while the teeth gnaw at history, gating and grating the contested colours in black and white. A skull floats above unsteady feet, those feet tethered to history. Lubrin’s postcard arrives belatedly, its words stamped and delivered obscurely and obliquely, yet carved with its own precision. Or, risking the dark, it may arrive in the future of Code 59: “(The time stamp of this conveyance is a matter of protocol, not accuracy or need).” Coltrane’s codes accompany each of Dyson’s and Lubrin’s conveyances.
Lubrin is already the recipient of the Griffin Prize for her poetry. Code Noir will undoubtedly be nominated for the Governor General’s Award for fiction.
About the Author
CANISIA LUBRIN’s books include Voodoo Hypothesis and The Dyzgraphxst. Lubrin’s work has been recognized with the Griffin Poetry Prize, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry, the Derek Walcott Prize, the Writers’ Trust of Canada Rising Stars Prize, and others. In 2021, Lubrin received a Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry, and The Globe and Mail named her Poet of the Year. Code Noir is her debut fiction, and includes stories listed for the Journey Prize (2019, 2020), the Toronto Book Award (2018), and the Shirley Jackson Award (2021). Born in St. Lucia, Lubrin lives in Whitby and is poetry editor at McClelland & Stewart.
- Publisher : Knopf Canada (Feb. 6 2024)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 360 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0735282218
- ISBN-13 : 978-0735282216
Michael Greenstein is a retired professor of English at the Université de Sherbrooke. He is the author of Third Solitudes: Tradition and Discontinuity in Jewish-Canadian Literature and has published widely on Victorian, Canadian, and American-Jewish literature.