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identity as a woman writer? Has Laure Conan in her novel, like
Angéline in her diary, not achieved a spiritual life by writing about
spirituality? Has Angéline de Montbrun itself not become a literary mon-
ument and a national memorial, resisting the 'corrosive bite' of time
and preserving the French-Canadian identity? Has Laure Conan, as a
writer, not herself achieved what Angéline de Montbrun had ascribed
to Garneau: 'la reconnaissance immortelle de tous les Canadiens' (188;
the immortal recognition of all Canadians)?
Characterizing Conan's novel as 'a bomb in the Father's House,'
Patricia Smart finds that 'reading Angéline as a novel of feminine resis-
tance and rebellion, we see that the paradise of the first part of the novel
is the world of patriarchal power from which women must emerge in
order to accede to their own subjectivity, and that Angéline's “fall” is a
fall into writing' (26). Smart concludes, however, that despite her resis-
tence, Angéline is ultimately 'defeated' by the paternal power structure
(57). 25 Fernand Roy, on the contrary, finds that Angéline attains another
zone that transcends human time and emphasizes (through italics no
less) that such transcendence does not require religion but occurs
through writing itself: ' Pour entendre que les mots font sens dans un temps
autre, celui de l'énonciation, il n'est pas nécessaire de nommer ce temps un
temps “divin” et d'aliéner ainsi le sujet parlant. ' ('Laure,' 194; To understand
that words have meaning in another time, that of their enunciation, it is not
necessary to name this time 'divine' and thus alienate it from the speaking
voice .) Moreover, in redefining herself, Laure Conan solidifies and even
reforges national identity, since history itself, as Roy concludes else-
where, is ultimately a matter of writing ('L'histoire,' 347). And, I hasten
to add, borrowing Fernand Dumont's terms (from Le lieu ), history, as
written into and through the novel, moves beyond the past - in terms
not only of personal ties but also of societal traditions - and forward
towards the future.
If indeed writing, a high form of culture that leads to a higher form of
'second culture,' emerges as a primary aspect of spirituality in Angéline
de Montbrun , we might modify our earlier chart as follows to return to
the dialectical pairing of culture and nature that underlies our overall
study of literature and painting, albeit, in this case, from a 'spiritual'
perspective:
Sky
Writing / Spirituality
Culture (permanence)
} that is:
}
}
that is:
Garden ÅÆ Sea
Earthly life
Nature (impermanence)
 
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