Quiet Revolutions: Literature in Québec

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What is Québécois literature? It’s a question with an ever-changing answer that stretches back nearly 500 years. Early travelogues, histories and verse were published in France for European readers; there was no printing press in Québec until it came under British control in the 1760s. From the conservative Ecole Patriotique, which rejected the ideas of post-revolutionary France; to the “quiet revolutionaries” of the 1960s and ’70s who pushed for a secular, independent Québec and challenged Anglophone influences; to an increasingly cosmopolitan group of writers urging for a more inclusive definition of Québécois identity, writers in Québec offer a rich portrait of the region and its people.

Our focus will be on modern and contemporary Québécois literature. We’ll look first at the influence of the Quiet Revolution, with its educational reforms, creation of a Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and founding of the magazine Parti pris (“Position Taken”) and francophone publishing houses. We’ll then turn to the present day. To what extent does the Quiet Revolution shape the current political, cultural and literary landscape in Québec, and how is Québecois identity defined today? We’ll also read Marie-Claire Blais’s masterpiece of rural Québec and enjoy Québécois noir with a novel by crime writer Louise Penny.

Relax from the day’s activities in truly distinctive accommodation. Le Monastère des Augustines is a former monastery run by the Augustinian sisters, who first arrived in New France in 1639 and founded the North American continent’s first hospital, or hôtel-dieu, on the St. Lawrence River. The cells and cloisters have been turned into bright, comfortable rooms and public spaces with a focus on relaxation and healing.

Québec City, UNESCO City of Literature, is a perfect place for a fall getaway. Explore a fascinating multicultural and multilingual literary heritage from one of North America’s most beautiful cities.

Please contact us at info@classicalpursuits.com for a detailed itinerary.

And find the texts and other works discussed in our free webinar series here. If a work has been translated, its title is also given in English.

From Mother to Son: The Selected Letters of Marie de l’Incarnation, Mary Dunn, 1600s/2014
Marc Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle France/History of New France, 1617
Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, L’influence d’un livre (The Influence of a Book), 1837
Octave Crémazie, poèmes, late 1800s
Laure Conan, Angéline de Montbrun (Angeline of Montbrun), 1882
Emile Nelligan, “Clair de lune intellectuel“, around 1902
Alfred Lozeau, selected poems, early 1900s
Albert Laberge, La Scouine (Bitter Bread), 1918
Gabrielle Roy, Bonheur d’occasion (The Tin Flute), 1945
Paul-Emile Borduas et al., Refus global (Total Refusal), 1948
Gaston Miron, Deux Sangs, 1953
Parti pris, 1963-1968
Jacques Renaud, Le Cassé (Flat Broke/Broke City), 1965
An Antane Kapesh (Anne André) Je suis une maudite sauvagesse, 1976
Michèle Lalonde, “Speak White” (video), 1970; English translation, 2002
Nicole Brossard, Le désert mauve (The Mauve Desert), 1987
Marco Micone, “Speak What“, 1989, English translation
Ying Chen, L’ingratitude (Ingratitude), 1995
Dany Laferrière, L’engime du retour (The Enigma of the Return), 2009
Louise Penny, Bury Your Dead (Enterrez vos morts), 2010
Kim Thúy, Mãn, 2013, French | English

 

Aux Anciens Canadiens restaurant, situated in the former home of writer Philippe Aubert de Gaspé

Slideshow photo of Quebec at night: Wilfredor on Wikimedia Commons; Quebec City during the day, Pixabay; Aux Anciens Canadaiens, Yanhay on Wikimedia Commons

Creative Commons License 3.0 and Creative Commons License 4.0

Overview

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Destination
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada


Dates
September 26 – October 1, 2021


Readings
Michèle Lalonde’s “Speak White” and Marco Micone’s reply poem, “Speak What”
Excerpts from Le Cassé/Broke City
Selected 20th- and 21st-century poetry
A Season in the Life of Emmanuel by Marie-Claire Blais
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Selected recommended background reading


Leader
Melanie Blake is the director of Classical Pursuits and a former French-language tour guide. She studied literature and linguistics at the undergraduate and graduate level, and is a longtime lover of francophone cultures.


Accommodation
Le Monastère des Augustines


Group Size
12 to 16 participants


Cost
Approx. C$2595 + 15% HST
Single Supplement: Approx. C$300

Cost includes guides, readings, accommodation in double occupancy, two meals a day, discussions, ground transportation, walking tours, talks, excursions, admissions, and all taxes and gratuities.


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