Seth's Ironic Identities: Forging Canadian History

Daniel Marrone


"The most apt description of Seth’s work may be “historiographic metafiction,” a term coined by Linda Hutcheon. She explains that historiographic metafiction “questions the nature and validity of the entire human process of writing—of both history and fiction. Its aim in so doing is to study how we know the past, how we make sense of it” (Canadian Postmodern 22). Her emphasis on the making of the past resonates strongly with Seth’s approach to storytelling and helps to illuminate those aspects of his work that are often characterized simply as nostalgia. Stuart Hall suggests that “identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past” (225). Seth’s comics draw attention to the narrativization of the past and reveal the extent to which the making of history—and, by extension, identity—is an act of great artifice."

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