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20 - French-Canadian Novels from the Nineteenth into the Twentieth Century

from Part III - After the Revolution: The Novel in the Long Nineteenth Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2021

Adam Watt
Affiliation:
University of Exeter
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Summary

This chapter traces the roots and development of the French-Canadian novel from the nineteenth into the twentieth century. A contested form in Europe, where commentators questioned its cultural value and usefulness to society, the novel’s status was additionally fraught in French Canada. Here, it was perceived as a product of the ‘Old World,’ shaped to meet the needs and to reflect the values of foreign readers. Throughout the nineteenth and well into the twentieth century, the French-Canadian novel remained a vehicle for variously negotiating or consolidating the emergent national character. Following the foundational development of ‘belles lettres’ in the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the first novels appeared in Quebec in the 1830s and 1840s. While displaying obvious debts to metropolitan influences, these inaugural novels also set precedents in theme, setting, and characterization. In addition to meeting the challenges of writing representative fictions, French-Canadian novelists had also to negotiate pressures exerted by the censorial clerical elite. The clash between social liberals and conservatives dominated literary production at the turn of the twentieth century. The themes and forms of French-Canadian fiction bear witness to the unique historical and sociocultural circumstances under which the novel developed here.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Further Reading

Andrès, Bernard, Histoires littéraires des canadiens au XVIIIe siècle (Sainte-Foy, Quebec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2012)Google Scholar
Biron, Michel, Dumont, François and Nardout-Lafarge, Élisabeth (eds.), Histoire de la littérature québécoise (Montreal: Boréal, 2007)Google Scholar
Blodgett, E. D., ‘Francophone Writing’, in The Cambridge Companion to Canadian Literature, ed. by Kröller, Eva-Marie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 4969.Google Scholar
Doyon, Nova, ‘Introduction: un journal littéraire dans l’esprit des Lumières’, in La Gazette litteraire de Montreal (1778–1779), ed. by Doyon, Nova, Cotnam, Jacques and Hébert, Pierre (Sainte-Foy, Quebec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2010), pp. 584Google Scholar
Fleming, Patricia Lockhart, Gallichan, Gilles and Lamonde, Yvan (eds.), History of the Book in Canada, Volume I: Beginnings to 1840 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004)Google Scholar
Garneau, François-Xavier, Histoire du Canada depuis sa découverte jusqu’à nos jours, vol. i (Quebec: N. Aubin, 1845), vol. II (Quebec: N. Aubin, 1846), vol. iii (Quebec: Fréchette et Frère, 1848), vol. iv, (Quebec: Lovell, 1852)Google Scholar
Lamonde, Yvan, Histoire sociale des idées au Québec (1760–1896) (Montreal: Fides, 2000)Google Scholar
Lamonde, Yvan, Fleming, Patricia Lockhart and Black, Fiona A. (eds.), History of the Book in Canada, Volume II: 1840–1918 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005)Google Scholar
Lemire, Maurice, Les Grands Thèmes nationalistes du roman historique canadien-français (Sainte-Foy [Quebec]: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 1970)Google Scholar
Lemire, Maurice (ed.), Le Romantisme au Canada (Quebec: Nuit blanche, 1993)Google Scholar
Lemire, Maurice and Saint-Jacques, Denis (eds.), La Vie littéraire au Quebec, 6 vols. (Sainte-Foy, [Quebec]: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 1991–2010)Google Scholar
Smart, Patricia, Writing in the Father’s House: The Emergence of the Feminine in the Quebec Literary Tradition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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