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The Ring - The University of Victoria's Community Newspaper

June 5, 2003 · Vol 29 · No 9

Spring Convocation 2003

 

Lieutenant Governor's Silver Medal
When art challenges its own conventions

 

CrydermanAt first blush, there may not seem to be much in common between Middle English literature and the artistic experiments of the late 20th century, but Lieutenant Governor's silver medal (other than thesis) winner Kevin Cryderman (English) is interested in how writers in these two periods imagined their audience as they worked within and against artistic conventions and linguistic standards.

 

Cryderman is particularly interested in medieval literature in English in the late 14th century, a time when Chaucer and others were challenging the dominant place of Latin, establishing vernacular English as a legitimate literary vehicle, and creating new artistic vocabularies in the face of strong artistic conventions.

 

"Something similar was happening during the last half of the 20th century with the development of experimental forms of film, novels, plays and other art forms," he says. "For instance, I'm curious about the parallel between the Middle English challenge to Latin and post-colonial subversions of the dominant place of standard English within global culture."

 

For his master's project under the supervision of Dr. Proma Tagore, Cryderman investigated how two post-colonial Caribbean-Canadian writers, Faizal Deen and Dionne Brand, used unconventional language and literary styles to express identity issues they experienced as immigrants.

 

Aside from academics, Cryderman writes and records his own folk, pop, comedy and rock music, and pursues creative writing, particularly prose. His first novel, Sex in the Stream of Consciousness (a.k.a. Death of the Author), uses pseudo-intellectual characters and absurd overuse of allusion to satirize the transgression of artistic conventions. "Subverting conventions has become another convention in its own right," he explains.

 

Cryderman plans to pursue a career in academia and is currently deciding between doctoral programs at Cambridge University and the University of Rochester.

 
 

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