Surrealism and Quebec literature: History of a Cultural Revolution

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Surrealism and Quebec Literature: History of a cultural revolution

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The Orange Grove

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The historical novel, like the rural novel, was to be fashionable for a full century. Garneau had the tone of his romantic French masters but added an entirely Canadien fervour which did not, however, cloud his objectivity. Today's reader prefers his death-haunted poems and his letters, which attain the status of literary criticism. The preceding era had been ideologically turbulent.

Dessaulles stimulated thought and produced some interesting texts.

Surrealism and Quebec Literature: History of a Cultural Revolution

Conservatism triumphed after the s; the nation gained homogeneity but lost originality of thought. Literature was to be the faithful mirror of a Catholic, religious and moral people. He himself showed the way by theologizing history. Also a liberal, Buies had style and showmanship; a chronicler, he observed well; a philosopher, he had independent ideas.

The first decades of the 20th century continued the established ideology of the 3 preceding ones: the dominant voice was that of nationalist historian and essayist Father Lionel GROULX. There was an abundance of poets. Between the ages of 17 and 20 , Nelligan produced some poems whose quality lifted him well above his colleagues and elders. Like them, he imitated the poets of France, but with more originality and modernity.

But most poets still devoted themselves to "poetry of the soil," with more success than in the 19th century. Rural novels appeared in large numbers.

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Criticism, like the novel and poetry, knew a certain strength in this period Louis Dantin, Marcel Dugas , but it was led by an academic, Monseigneur Camille ROY , whose literature textbook sustained H. The economic crisis of the s caused French Canadians to rethink their traditional values; WWII forced them to open themselves to the world and new ideas.


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Urbanization was underway; prosperity returned, and education was available to more people. People freed their minds from collective thought; the drama of society as a whole no longer overshadowed individual destiny.

What is Surrealism? Art Movements & Styles

Canadian publishing also began to develop. Traditional nationalism was transformed. It was now at the humanistic level that one sought to be a better French Canadian. It was a revelation: unsuspected shadows were found swarming there, but light eventually broke through to show a universe of colour and open space where a new awareness was taking shape.

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What was once felt to be the collective duty, to survive in the face of the English, was now replaced by an appetite for life as individual men and women among other men and women. Novelists were developing in the same way. Novelists took the lead in the s. Even so, it was a platform for new ideologies, such as linguistic populism and feminism. This criticism attempts to be scientific but as yet lacks originality, since it follows in the wake of its French and American masters.

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Although good writers do produce work for a general audience Michel Tremblay , the ordinary reader is as likely to turn to American bestsellers. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia. Remember me. I forgot my password. Why sign up?