Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
cymbal to bring it to life, Menaud rejoiced at the spectacle of these gay
logjam conquerors. Above the tumult, passing through the bower was the
memory of the hardy men, the muscled men, the free men of the past: a
triumphant march to the music of warring waters, of wind-swept plains,
of breezy mountains, under the banners of hot vapour deployed by spring
above the liberated land. Everything was singing: 'We came three hun-
dred years ago, and we remained!']
The explicit musicality of the passage, brought out by the personifica-
tion of the rushing water ('les musiques de l'eau guerrière) 28 and the
springtime ('Tout cela chantait'), is initiated by the chant of the drivers
('Ohé! Ohé!'), continued by the metaphor of the sun as a cymbal ('de sa
cymbale d'or'), and sustained by the rhythmic groups of three verbs
('trimaient,' 'frappait,' 's'exaltait'), three adjectives ('grands,' 'grands,'
'grands'), and three places ('l'eau,' 'plaine,' 'montagne'). At the same
time, Savard raises this musical scene to a mythic level and the drivers
to a heroic status by the military expression 'gais vainqueurs,' the rep-
etition of 'grands' with a link to the past ('souvenir'), brought out by
the inversion of subject and verb ('passait'), the repetition of 'au dessus'
to suggest elevation, the repetition of 'du vent' to create movement, the
metaphor of a parade ('défilé') complete with flags ('étendards'), and
culminating with the inclusion of the heroic words from the literary
past: 'Nous sommes venus il y a trois cents ans et nous sommes res-
tés!' 29 In a sense, here, the text (culture) is superimposed onto the land-
scape (nature) through the medium of Menaud's consciousness, which,
both despite and because of the repetition, is evolving.
A similarly musical and mythical flavour emerges from Richard's
drawings of the drivers, as in Les draveurs , one of seven lithographs on
this theme in the portfolio for the novel (figure 6.5).
Here the dynamic strokes, twisted forms, and vivid colours accentu-
ate the intense action of the workmen, while the dominant gold and
white wave-like strokes emanating from the horizon lend the scene an
aura of heroic grandeur, not unlike that of Savard's passage, and, ac-
cording to Jean-Guy Paquet, typical of Richard's work whatever the
medium: 'La facture est si directe, si franche, c'est comme si l'on as-
sistait à la genèse d'un monde que l'artiste construit énergiquement, à
grands coups de crayon, de plume ou de pinceau.' (The technique is so
direct, so frank, it's as if one were witnessing the genesis of a world,
which the artist constructs energetically, with great strokes of pencil,
pen, or brush.) 30
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