Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Histoire du Canada . Not only does memory play a major role in most
works, its very mechanisms are laid bare in 'memorable' passages from
Charles Guérin , Angéline de Montbrun , and La montagne secrète , and in all
cases it is the landscape that serves to unlock, then stage, the workings
of memory. Far from regressive, the return to the past enables the
French Canadian, his or her values threatened by assimilation, to
make contact with the values of the past and find, for example, in the
courage, cunning, self-sacrifice, and sign-reading abilities of the
Amerindian and the voyageur remedies for present woes and solu-
tions for future growth. Ultimately, it is the text or painting itself that
becomes a site of memory, 'more faithful than the best memory,' as the
narrator of Papineau's 'Caroline' puts it - but at the same time a 'blank
page' or canvas on which to write the future, as in Proulx's 'Blanc' -
which leads us to a second source of cultural redefinition identified by
Dumont and implicit in our study from the outset: the work of art.
The extent to which various works of art point to their own cultural
significance, as in the preceding quotation, is no doubt another defining
characteristic of Quebec literature and painting. In many a written text,
another written text is also present on a thematic level, not only in ex-
amples of intertextuality too numerous to mention, but in cases of
intratextuality, where they create a nested effect of 'mise en abyme'
(play within a play), as Mesnard's manuscript, Cadieux's 'Complainte,'
Angéline's diary, Flora's theatrical roles, and Laurent's notebook ( Les
aurores ) bear witness. Similarly, a painting like La France apportant la foi
aux Hurons also contains within it a painting that plays a cultural role
parallel to that which contains it, while the window in Mabel May's
'Fenêtre de l'atelier' mirrors the very frame of the painting that repre-
sents it, while reflecting the artist's easel on which it was painted. At the
same time, allusions to painting abound in literature, culminating with
the appearance of the painter/protagonist Pierre Cadorai in La mon-
tagne secrète , while allusions to literature are present not only in the
titles of certain paintings (Brymner's Ils aimaient à lire ) and in illustra-
tions of various works by Légaré, Julien, Suzor-Coté, Gagnon, and
Lemieux, but even, occasionally, by displaying texts, as in Suzor-Coté's
La mort de Cadieux . In both literature and painting, allusions to the
'song' seem to confirm Vigneault's contention that it is the form most
typical of and unique to Quebec, not only because it is not 'colonized,'
but also perhaps because its performance is often collective. Finally,
writing itself, its processes and effects, is discussed in Caroline , Angéline
de Montbrun , Ode au Saint-Laurent , Mon pays , and Les aurores montréales ,
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