Canadian Literature in French

Canadian Literature in French

French-Canadian Colonial Literature (1663-1760)

The first literary evidence of the French province of New France (1534–1763) included v. a. travelogues printed in France (expedition reports by J. Cartier, S. de Champlain and André Thevet, * 1516, † 1592), historical and ethnological writings; The reports of French missionaries published annually from 1632–73 are also of cultural and historical importance. In addition to religious writings, for example by Marie de L’Incarnation (* 1599, † 1672), the first historiographical works by Pierre Boucher (* 1622, † 1717) and Marie Morin (* 1649, † 1730) were created. Reports of the life of the fur traders (Pierre Esprit Radisson, * 1636?, † 1710; Médard Chouart Sieur des Groseilliers, * 1618, † 1696?) And letters that tell of everyday colonial life (Elisabeth Bégon, * 1696, † 1755) are also among the early texts.

The beginning of French-Canadian literature

Canadian literature in French in the proper sense began after the British conquest in 1760 and the cession of the province to the English crown in 1763 with journalistic (Etienne Parent, * 1802, † 1874) and lyrical texts (Joseph Quesnel, * 1746, † 1809). Since 1830, literature has articulated criticism of British rule with the aim of creating an independent Canadian-French culture. The literature of this time is characterized by a patriotic attitude. B. with Michel Bibaud (* 1782, † 1857). The “Histoire du Canada” (1845–48) by François-Xavier Garneau (* 1809, † 1866) and the poetry by O. Crémazie are of outstanding importance. The growing self-confidence of the French liberal bourgeoisie found expression in the 1840s in the founding of the “Instituts canadiens”. The literary movement “Mouvement littéraire de Québec” (founded in 1860) was intended to create a counterbalance in French-language literature in Canada to atheistic and materialistic tendencies in contemporary French literature. This romantic literary movement was patriotic-conservative and religious; she owned, inter alia. Louis Honoré Fréchette (* 1839, † 1908), Philippe Aubert de Gaspé (* 1786, † 1871, “Les anciens Canadiens”, 1863), Philippe Aubert de Gaspé fils (* 1814, † 1841, “L’influence d’un livre «, 1837), Laure Conan (* 1845, † 1924), Joseph-Charles Taché (* 1820, † 1894) and Pamphile Le May (* 1837, † 1918). Adolphe-Basile Routier (* 1837, † 1918) wrote the country’s national anthem in 1880 with “O Canada”. See toppharmacyschools for Canadian vocational training and education.

In 1895 Jean Charbonneau (* 1875, † 1960) founded the “École littéraire de Montréal”, which v. a. was based on the French poetry of Parnasses and Symbolism and to which, inter alia. Émile Nelligan (* 1879, † 1941), Robert Choquette (* 1905, † 1991), Paul Morin (* 1889, † 1963), René Chopin (* 1885, † 1953), Guy Delahaye (* 1888, † 1969) and Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau (* 1912, † 1943, “Regards et jeux dans l’espace”, 1937) counted. From this school – which continued to exist with interruptions until 1935 – two different currents emerged: an exotic one (including Morin) and – as a turn against aestheticism – a regionalist one. The latter was (founded in 1909) by the magazine “Le Terroir” supported and led to the emergence of rural in a healthy society settled, traditional values pledged land novel, which was, and by 1930 the dominant genre whose most tester representatives L. Hémon (“Marie Chapdelaine”, published 1916). In addition, historical novels, feature novels and – since the 1880s – psychological novels were written (Conan). The growing clerical control since the second half of the 19th century initially prevented the implementation of realism and naturalism, which only became literary at the beginning of the 20th century, despite clerical censorship. With the drastically realistic novel “Marie Calumet” (1904) by Rodolphe Girard (* 1879, † 1956) the deconstruction of the country novel began. Against the authors of the first realistic city novels, Arsène Bessette (* 1873, † 1921, »Le Débutant«, 1914) and Jean-Charles Harvey (* 1891, † 1967, »Les demi-civilisés«, 1934), as well as the author of the naturalistic novel “La scouine” (1918), Albert Laberge (* 1871, † 1960), the clerical censorship authority proceeded with reprisals. Mid-1930s – against the background of the economic depression and industrialization in Canada as well as the political events in Europe – the regionalist tendency in Canadian literature receded; partly the decline of peasant-bourgeois society was described (Félix-Antoine Savard, * 1896, † 1982, “Ménaud, maître-draveur”, 1937; Philippe Ringuet, actually P. Panneton, * 1895, † 1960, “Trente Arpents”, 1938), some bourgeois ideologies were subjected to a critical analysis (Harvey; Claude-Henri Grignon, * 1894, † 1976, “Un homme et son péché”, 1933).

French-Canadian literature from 1945

Canadian literature after World War II was marked by a cultural awakening. The literary manifesto »Refus global« (1948) by Paul Émile Bourdas (* 1905, † 1960) is an expression of a complete break with the strongly rural Catholic society and the demand for artistic freedom and a modern »Québec«. Poetic impulses also emanated from the spiritualistic poetry of Saint-Denys Garneau, which a.o. continued in the work of Alain Grandbois (* 1900, † 1975), Anne Hébert and Rina Lasnier (* 1915, † 1997).

In prose, the 1945 is a key date: The novel “Bonheur d’occasion” (1945) by Gabrielle Roy (* 1909, † 1983) sat the city by Roman final. Roger Lemelin (* 1919, † 1992) described urban reality in “Au pied de la pente douce” (1944) and André Langevin (* 1927, † 2009) described the basic existential experiences of townspeople (“Poussière sur la ville”, 1953). The psychological novel became an important genre (Françoise Loranger, * 1913, † 1995), the country novel came to a late bloom with Germaine Guèvremont (* 1893, † 1968).

Political, social, economic and religious conflicts were discussed on a broad basis and the question of national identity was raised. The publishing house “L’Hexagone” founded by Gaston Miron (* 1928, † 1996) developed into a center for modern Canadian literature in 1953, at the same time the name of a group of writers (apart from Miron and others with Roland Giguère, * 1929, † 2003; Paul- Marie Lapointe, * 1929, † 2011, »Le vierge incendié«, 1948), who processed the impulses of surrealism and who also joined well-known authors (including Grandbois and Lasnier). A revolutionary representative of political poetry is Paul Chamberland (* 1939). In addition, a diverse spectrum of partly experimental forms of expression developed in poetry, e. B. in poetry of subcultural stamping (Denis Vanier, * 1949, † 2000) and in jazz poetry (Raoul Duguay, * 1939).

From the “silent revolution” to the present

The period of the 1960s, also known as the »Silent Revolution«, was marked by an emancipation movement by the French-speaking majority and by far-reaching changes in society and cultural policy. Nationalism and separation movements stood alongside the turn to multiculturalism. The abolition of clerical censorship and state promotion of culture led to a previously unknown thematic and formal diversity of literature. With the founding of the magazine “Parti pris” (1963) by André Major (* 1942) a radicalization of literature began, which was largely characterized by a socialist and anti-clerical attitude and openly advocated autonomy for the province of Quebec. In the novel  - but also in drama – the »Joual«, the idiom of the Montreal working class, was used as a literary language to mark one’s own identity and as a medium for describing social reality. The radically experimental approaches of the Parti pris are among others. Gérard Bessette (* 1920, † 2005), Jacques Ferron (* 1921, † 1985), Claude Jasmin (* 1930), Hubert Aquin (* 1929, † 1977), Marie-Claire Blais, Antonine Maillet, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu (* 1945) and Jacques Poulin (* 1937). In addition to traditional narrative styles (such as Yves Thériault, * 1915, † 1983) now came modern literary techniques, e.g. B. Forms of the Nouveau Roman (including Hébert). The novels by J. Godbout, G. Bessette, Yolande Villemaire (* 1949) and Réjean Ducharme (* 1941), with their conflicts between narrative action and theoretical discourses, show structural features of postmodernism. Rober Racine (* 1956) should be mentioned as an outstanding experimental novelist. Contemporary novels address femininity (Diane Giguère, * 1937; Claire Martin, * 1914, † 2014), Americanism (Poulin, Godbout) and everyday cultural problems (M. Tremblay; Yves Beauchemin, * 1941; Gaétan Soucy, * 1958; Louise Dupré, * 1949; Francine Noël, * 1945). Marie-Sissi Labrèche (* 1969) caused a sensation with her autofictional debut novel »Borderline« (2000; German). Indigenous themes are also increasingly being portrayed (Bernard Assiniwi, * 1935, † 2000). The short story developed into an important genre (Ferron; Major; Tremblay; Monique Proulx, * 1952).

A feminist movement has existed in all literary genres since the 1970s , some of which – in connection with the French “Nouvelle Critique” and theoretical reflection on writing – is strongly formalistic (Nicole Brossard, * 1943; Louky Bersianik, * 1930, † 2011; France Théoret, * 1942).

The theater included experimental means of expression at an early stage and became a forum for dealing with political and social issues (Gratien Gélinas, * 1909, † 1999; Loranger; Ferron; Robert Gurik, * 1932); one of the outstanding playwrights is Tremblay. Important authors are Antonine Maillet (* 1929) and Marie Laberge (* 1950). Quebec theater has developed in many ways since the “Quiet Revolution”. To be emphasized are inter alia. the dramatic works of Pol Pelletier (* 1947), Michel Marc Bouchard (* 1958), Maryse Pelletier (* 1947), Jean-Pierre Ronfard (* 1929, † 2003) and R. Lepage. With the »Monologue«, a cabaret-like one-man show, which among other things. cultivated by Clémence DesRochers (* 1933), an independent dramatic genre emerged.

The poetry won complete formal freedom with a wide range of subjects since the “Quiet Revolution”. Authors experimenting with the language include: Brossard, Théoret, Claude Beausoleil (* 1948) and Michel Beaulieu (* 1941, † 1984). Michèle Lalonde (* 1937) formulated the call for freedom and cultural self-determination with her poem »Speak white« (1970). Dupré, Pierre Morency (* 1942), Elise Turcotte (* 1957) ask questions about subjective sensitivities. Serge Patrice Thibodeau (* 1961) writes form-experimental travel poetry. The Quebec Chanson has also enjoyed international success, including with Robert Charlebois (* 1944), Pauline Julien (* 1928, † 1998) and Céline Dion.

The immigrant authors (»écrivains migrants«) also play an important part in Canadian literature today.

Canadian Literature in French