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plaine laurentienne, modestes d'altitude, mais dégagées de toutes parts et
commandant d'immenses horizons. Le mont Royal et sa nécropole, les pe-
tits lacs clairs du Saint-Bruno, les prairies naturelles et les pinières du
Rougemont ont chacun leurs charmes particuliers, mais la montagne de
Belœil semble avoir toujours été la favorite des poètes, des artistes et, en
général des amants de la nature. [38; Volcanic swellings, eruptive traces
marking the fault line in the crust of the old planet, the Monteregian
Hills have resisted, better than the surrounding metamorphic rock, the
inescapable work of erosion that ceaselessly remodels the face of the
earth. They now rise over the great Laurentian plain, modest in altitude,
but standing out from everywhere and commanding immense horizons.
Mount Royal and its necropolis, the small, clear Saint-Bruno lakes, the
natural prairies and pinestands of Rougemont each have their own special
charms, but the Beloeil Mountain seems to have always been the favourite
of poets, artists, and nature-lovers in general.]
Viewed initially through the filter of a scientist and from a vast perspec-
tive that temporally reaches back into earlier geological ages and spa-
tially encompasses all of the mountains in the Monteregian group with
only a few salient visual details sufficient to distinguish the separate en-
tities lying on the plain, the description narrows in on Beloeil Mountain
and adopts an artistic lens ('des poètes, des artistes'), which also accom-
modates the general public ('des amants de la nature'). The scientific vo-
cabulary strung together alliteratively ('bubons … bavures') and yielding
to personification ('modestes … commandant') shows a mixture of lexi-
cal registers that prefigures the prose poetry of Francis Ponge, which also
envisions objects through many lenses and from multiple perspectives.
This paragraph alone is an apt illustration of the complex meeting of the
sciences and the arts that constitutes Marie-Victorin's vision of the world.
As his principal biographer, Robert Rumilly sums up the writer's ap-
proach: 'L'observation réaliste est colorée par l'imagination, sans laquelle
l'écrivain nous donnerait de simples photographies. Le Frère Marie-
Victorin observe en savant et décrit en artiste.' (75; Realistic observation
is coloured by imagination, without which the writer would give us
simple photographs. Frère Marie-Victorin observes as a scientist and de-
scribes as an artist.)
From his initial distant viewpoint, across time and space, Marie-
Victorin then moves afoot gradually, physically, up the mountain to the
summit, from which he then looks out over the plains, which had been
his previous vantage point:
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