Victoria de Zwaan
Associate Professor Victoria de Zwaan
BA (Trent), MA (McGill), PhD (Toronto)
Traill College, Wallis Hall 111
705-748-1011 ext. 6092
After completing an honours BA in Philosophy and English at Trent, Victoria de Zwaan completed graduate work in English Departments at McGill (MA) and Toronto (PhD) which focussed on late 20th century American Experimental fictions. Her first book, Interpreting Radical Metaphor in the Experimental Fictions of Donald Barthelme, Thomas Pynchon, and Kathy Acker (Edwin Mellen 2002), grounds the three authors in the “romance” tradition of American fiction on the one hand, and, on the other, in an international tradition of experimentalism that dates back to Cervantes and Sterne, but which is particularly indebted to the two trajectories of experimental fiction provided by Samuel Beckett and Jorge Luis Borges. The book also engages the competing paradigms of postmodernism and, in particular, critiques attempts to render these texts as realist texts of “late capitalism.”
Victoria considers her current work to rest on theoretically informed close readings in the arena of comparative literature/literary cultural studies, extending well beyond American fiction, and she is currently working on a series of comparative essays engaging such experimental writers as Milan Kundera and Salman Rushdie (on witness and history), Christa Wolf and Thomas Pynchon (on experiments in historical fiction), Milorad Pavic and Italo Calvino (on the fate of the book in the digital age), as well as the OULIPO school, the American metafictionists, and Mark Danielewski (on issues of “gimmickry”). She has published several articles and chapters about the idea of “slipstream” fiction, a term prominent inside Science Fiction literary-critical circles; and she has published articles and presented conference papers on a wide range of experimental texts.
Teaching and research interests include: experimental and speculative fiction, literary theory, cultural theory, history and development of cultural studies, adaptation studies, aesthetics.