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première' by Dumont ( Le lieu ), and thus promotes the process of cul-
tural doubling, leading to a reconfiguration of culture itself in terms of
its deeper values or 'culture seconde.' Not only does every work of art,
even the most common, remove us from everyday reality, thus creating
a sense of distance, but nearly every one of the works we have encoun-
tered calls attention to this distance and doubling, thereby expanding
its initial notion of culture to explore ideals and values, even suggest
'solutions' to the problems attached to the major themes raised by vari-
ous images and icons.
Thus, a principal feature of French-Canadian literature and painting
(not so true, it seems to me, of their French ancestors) is the notion of a
dramatic discovery, a revelation, often accompanied by 'voices,' which
emanate from the individual consciousness but reflect the values of the
community ( Jean Rivard , Maria , Menaud , La montagne , Reflets de la nuit ,
Ode au Saint-Laurent ). Furthermore, this revelatory and revolutionary
process often involves an apprenticeship in deciphering signs, not only
those of society, as is characteristic of nineteenth-century French fic-
tion, 5 but especially those of nature, whose vital lessons must be learned
in this new and cryptic land.
Dumont identifies both memory and great works of art as the princi-
pal stimuli for cultural preservation and reconfiguration, and certainly
both are among the principal solutions brought forth explicitly in the
works we have examined.
That memory would be a major factor in determining cultural def-
inition is hardly surprising for a nation whose very motto, spelled out
on its license plate, is 'je me souviens.' Less obvious, perhaps, yet in-
creasingly evident from our study of literature and painting, is the
role of the landscape in triggering, anchoring, and guiding memory.
Sites of memory figure prominently in works ranging from L'Iroquoise ,
with Mesnard's cell, to Le premier jardin , where certain places are in-
itially avoided, precisely because of the lethal memories they evoke,
then confronted to complete Flora's rehabilitation. Such sites are often
complemented by the staging of past events in the present according to
Namer's description of the commemoration process, as we witness in
paintings extending from those of Joseph Légaré to Raynald Leclerc,
who evokes his own past apprenticeship through the historic sites of
Quebec City. Garneau follows the routes of Cartier and Champlain up
the Saint Lawrence River, complementing their descriptions with signs
of modern progress and vision, while Angéline visits Garneau's tomb,
not far from the resting place of the heroes he has resurrected in his
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