Professor Linda Hutcheon

Department of English

Appointed a University Professor in 1996

A member of the Department of English and of the Centre for Comparative Literature, Professor Hutcheon is one of the best known and highly renowned Canadian scholars in the humanities today. She has achieved broad international recognition as a literary theorist, by helping define and describe the idea and characteristics of postmodernism as a way of delineating the most recent period in literary history and through extended examination of verbal and cultural constructs such as irony and parody. Indeed, it has been said that she "virtually owns parody and irony. One simply cannot write on those topics without starting from or otherwise deeply engaging her work." Her studies of postmodernism have begun to shape the way that literary scholars and critics see the evolution of contemporary letters in the Western tradition. Professor Hutcheon is also one of the major critics of contemporary Canadian writing and culture. More recently, she has emerged as an important critic of opera, placing certain of its themes and preoccupations within a revealing cultural and historical framework. In short, she is one of the most distinguished critics of literature and one of the most influential and most interesting minds in modern literary criticism. Her work has been translated into many languages and is admired by scholars in Europe and Asia as well as in North America.

A prolific writer, Professor Hutcheon was appointed to the University of Toronto in 1988, having been an associate of the Centre for Comparative Literature since 1980. She has more than a dozen books to her credit. Of particular note are: on postmodernism - Narcissistic Narrative (1980) and A Poetics of Postmodernism: History ,Theory, Fiction (1988) and The Politics of Postmodernism (1989; rpt. 2002); on contemporary Canadian literature - The Canadian Postmodern: A Study of Contemporary English-Canadian Fiction (1988) and Other Solitudes: Canadian Multicultural Fictions (1990); on parody and irony - A Theory of Parody: the Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (1985) and Irony's Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony (1994). With Mario J. Valdés, she has co-directed a project designed to study literary history using a new comparative model. This work has produced Rethinking Literary History: A Dialogue on Theory (2002), and two multi-volumed projects on the comparative literary history of, first, Latin America, and then East Central Europe (forthcoming). With her husband (who is a physician), she has published two books, Opera: Desire, Disease and Death (1996) and Bodily Charm: Living Opera (2000). In these, she brings the conceptual frameworks she has developed from literary theory to the world of music and spectacle, seen through the lenses of medical history. Professor Hutchen has written five long essays, over eighty chapters in books and a hundred refereed articles in addition to various non-refereed material, working papers and interviews.

Professor Hutcheon is known for the quality of her graduate students and is in constant demand as a doctoral and postdoctoral supervisor. Students speak glowingly of her as a teacher who stimulates her classes through the lively integration of research and teaching, and her classes are "packed". She is regarded as a superb teacher and in 1998 won the Northrop Frye Award, the University's highest award for teaching, which recognizes the integration of teaching and research.

Professor Hutcheon's scholarly achievements have been recognized through several awards and honours. Among her research grants and fellowships, she has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Killam Research Fellowship. In 1990, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has received honorary degrees from the University of Antwerp, the University of Helsinki, Concordia University, and the University of Western Ontario.

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