Quiet Revolutions: Literature in Quebec

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 Quebec 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 Quebec and challenged Anglophone influences; to an increasingly cosmopolitan group of writers urging for a more inclusive definition of Québécois identity, writers in Quebec offer a rich portrait of the region and its people.

Our focus will be on modern and contemporary Québécois literature. We’ll look at the influence of the Quiet Revolution, with its educational reforms, creation of a Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and support for the flourishing of francophone publications and publishing houses. 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 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.

Summer or winter, Québec City is one of North America’s most beautiful cities. June offers warm weather and long days, with plenty of time to enjoy the city’s outdoor dining scene. Join us to explore the fascinating multicultural and multilingual literary heritage of Québec City, UNESCO City of Literature.

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And find the texts and other works discussed in our free webinar series below. 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


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Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

June 11–16, 2023

Michèle Lalonde’s “Speak White” and Marco Micone’s reply poem, “Speak What”
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

Ann Kirkland founded Classical Pursuits in 1999 and directed the company until 2021. She has been leading trips for Classical Pursuits and Worldwide Quest for more than 20 years. In addition to previous trips to Québec City and Montreal, she’s led journeys to many destinations in Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the US, Vietnam and more. Ann loves walking, reading and good conversation. She is curious about the unique gifts of each culture, including the stresses and the synergy that can occur when they bump up against one another. Québec City is of special interest because of the unusual juxtaposition of an old and proud, but diminishing, Anglo population in the heart of French Canada.

Le Monastère des Augustines

12 to 16 participants

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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Travel Pursuits 2023