Making Believe: Magdalene Redekop in Conversation with Linda Hutcheon

This event is a follow up to the June book launch of Magdalene Redekop’s Making Believe: Questions About Mennonites and Art.

That launch was primarily focused on Mennonite history. The aim of this event is to encourage conversation about Mennonites and art. Renowned scholar Linda Hutcheon will raise questions based on her reading of Making Believe, after which there will be time for questions from the audience.

You can submit your questions via the book’s Facebook page. Redekop says: “I am particularly enjoying those when they take the form of people telling me stories about their own experiences.”

The event is free, and will be hosted by Alyx Duffy.

About the Book

Making Believe responds to a remarkable flowering of art by Mennonites in Canada. After the publication of his first novel in 1962, Rudy Wiebe was the only identifiable Mennonite literary writer in the country. Beginning in the 1970s, the numbers grew rapidly and now include writers Patrick Friesen, Sandra Birdsell, Di Brandt, Sarah Klassen, Armin Wiebe, David Bergen, Miriam Toews, Carrie Snyder, Casey Plett, and many more. A similar renaissance is evident in the visual arts (including artists Gathie Falk, Wanda Koop, and Aganetha Dyck) and in music (including composers Randolph Peters, Carol Ann Weaver, and Stephanie Martin).

Confronted with an embarrassment of riches that resist survey, Magdalene Redekop opts for the use of case studies to raise questions about Mennonites and art. Part criticism, part memoir, Making Believe argues that there is no such thing as Mennonite art. At the same time, her close engagement with individual works of art paradoxically leads Redekop to identify a Mennonite sensibility at play in the space where artists from many cultures interact. Constant questioning and commitment to community are part of the Mennonite dissenting tradition. Although these values come up against the legacy of radical Anabaptist hostility to art, Redekop argues that the Early Modern roots of a contemporary crisis of representation are shared by all artists.

Making Believe posits a Spielraum or play space in which all artists are dissembling tricksters, but differences in how we play are inflected by where we come from. The close readings in this book insist on respect for difference at the same time as they invite readers to find common ground while making believe across cultures.

About the Presenters

Magdalene Redekop is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Mothers and Other Clowns: The Stories of Alice Munro.

Linda Hutcheon is Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. She has collaborated iwth Michael Hutcheon, M.D., Professor of Medicine, U of T, on the intersection of medical and cultural history, studied through the vehicle of opera. They have published four books on topics such as disease, death and the body—most recently, Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten (U of Chicago Press, 2015).

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