Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 40, No 2 (2021)

Echo in The Winter Vault: Anne Michaels’s Dialogic Imagination

Michael Greenstein
Issued Date: 3 Dec 2021


The intertextuality of Anne Michaels’s The Winter Vault may be found not only in recurrent themes and images from her earlier novel, Fugitive Pieces, and her poetry, but also in the inclusion of other writers in her novel. Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories of dialogism, chronotopes, polyphony, heteroglossia, and the carnivalesque; John Hollander’s study of echo and transumption; and Douglas Hofstadter’s notion of “strange loops” – all offer means of understanding Michaels’s allusions and structure in her novel. They also shed light on how her writing remembers historical trauma and eventually finds redemption through language, love, and empathy. The central characters in The Winter Vault witness the devastation of Nubian villages along the Nile and Canadian villages along the St. Lawrence River. By listening closely to echoes and stories of past destruction, these characters find solace in recreating the Canadian landscape. The intertwining of characters, histories, and landscapes returns to the origins of civilization to emerge in forms of healing and post-traumatic redemption.

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DOI: 10.1558/rst.20097


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