The Trees in Emily Carr's Forest: <em>The Book of Small</em> as Aesthetic and Environmental Text

  • Cornelia Hoogland

Abstract

Résumé: Dans The Book of Small, les souvenirs d'enfance romancés d'Emily Carr offrent un nouveau regard sur son interprétation artistique du paysage de l'Ouest canadien. Le fait qu'elle se sert d'un personnage enfant pour communiquer son approche esthétique révèle qu'elle considère que l'enfant et l'artiste abordent l'expérience de façons semblables. Les choix lexicaux dans ce texte démontrent les tentatives expérimentales d'une enfant (ou d'un poète) vis-à-vis les liens entre la perception et le langage. Ce lexique sert non seulement à décrire mais à évoquer l'action et la qualité de cette rencontre. Summary: Emily Carr's fictionalized remembrances of her childhood experiences in The Book of Small provide insight into Carr's artistic interpretation of the Canadian West Coast landscape. Her choice to convey her artistic (aesthetic) approach to experience through a child character demonstrates her belief that the child and the artist approach experience in similar ways. The language in The Book of Small emulates a child's (or a poet's) experimentation with the links between perception and language. Language is used not simply to describe but to evoke the action and the quality of the encounter. Carr's autobiographical fiction has implications for contemporary attitudes toward childhood and toward the environment, both of which play important roles in children's literature. Renewed literary interest in this great Canadian modernist artist is shaping the "Canadian aesthetic" in ways that may influence how "setting" in Canadian children's literature is constructed and received.
Published
2007-07-23