Un/Covered Origins

A Mythological Mapping of Aritha van Herk’s Fiction

Katrin M. Fennesz

Mythology gives shape to experience and provides a framework in which to locate oneself.

However, women, in classical mythology, were either denied a representation and, thus, a history and genealogy, or they were portrayed ambiguously, making it difficult for women to find their own identity. Katrin M. Fennesz focuses on the representation of women in novels by AvH and analyzes how she transports women’s fictional lives into our postmodern world by using and abusing classical, biblical, and indigenous mythology.

Ultimately, she demonstrates that van Herk succeeds in creating a new mythology by digging deep to discover women’s original strengths and powers.

In the end, mythological characters are given new life, women a voice, the landscape is granted its own identity, and the city of Calgary its own face.