Mirosława Buchholtz

Canadian passwords. Diasporic Fictions into the Twenty-First Century

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Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika

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Mirosława Buchholtz

Canadian passwords. Diasporic Fictions into the Twenty-First Century

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Wlliam Shakespeares Hamlet is perhaps the best known literary work of art to begin with an exchange which contains the demand for a password. As can be gathered from the following part of the dialogue, Bar­nardo is entering while Francisco is standing at his post. And yet, it is Barnardo who demands to know the identity of the person he cannot see well in the dark. Francisco refuses to comply and insists that the other man stop, and, as he puts it, "unfold" himself. The automatized activity of pronouncing a password is thus imaged in this brief exchange as an act of disclosure or even self-revelation. What follows is the prompt exclamation: "Long live the King! "It does well as a password (as an agreed upon sequence of letters or sounds); Barnardo is recognized and welcomed. Nevertheless, the meaning of the four words (as opposed to their graphic or phonetic form) remains excruciatingly ambiguous not only to the reader or the viewer of Shakespeare's drama, but also to the two sentinels. Long live the King!

1 Post-words, Past Words, Passwords
2 Ghostly Transmogrification: Paul Yee's Dead Man's Gold and Other Stories
3 Mimetic Desire: David Bergen's The Case of Lena S.
4 Labyrinthine Manners: Mary Lawson's Crow Lake
5 Imaging Old Age: Rohinton Mistry's Family Matters
6 Migrant Authorship: Anne Ireland's Exile
7 Garden of Prophecy: Nino Ricci's Testament
8 Public Statement: Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe
Conclusion: Negotiations with the Living

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