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ent as La France apportant la foi aux Hurons , Légaré's Paysage au monu-
ment à Wolfe , which includes an Amerindian along with a British hero,
and Brymner's Ils aimaient à lire , whose title borrows a line from
Shakespeare (whose works are also cited in La montagne secrète and Le
premier jardin ). From this cultural diversity to the outright multicultural
perspectives of Vigneault, Carrier, and Proulx, it is not a radical revolu-
tion (quiet or not), but a natural progression that reflects a nearly con-
stant openness of vision in Quebec's great works ( culture seconde ), if not
always in its prevailing institutions ( culture première ).
Furthermore, far from fatalistic, as some might have it, the French
Canadian is consistently depicted in great works as self-sufficient and
self-determining. From Cadieux, the intrepid voyageur, to his succes-
sors, Charles Chauvin, Jean Rivard, Pierre Cadorai, and Jean-Paul
Riopelle, the protagonist often sets out alone to find and ultimately forge
his or her (Angéline and Flora also opt for solitude) identity. For the
artist, self-determination is also a matter of self-representation, which is
manifest in the visible style typical of Quebec painting and the open
discussions of art coupled with allusions to other works in its literature,
culminating with the dramatization of Pierre Cadorai's struggle, strug-
gle itself being another correlative of self-determination. Cut loose from
friends (as is Pierre) from family (as are Charles Guérin, Jean Rivard,
Angéline, and Flora), and from country (as are various narrators in Les
aurores montréales ), protagonists become 'self-made' and, in so doing,
serve as models for the nation. From Samuel Chapdelaine's 'faire de la
terre' (make land) to Roland Giguère's 'paysage à refaire' (landscape
to redo) and Gilles Vigneault's 'pays à construire' (land to construct) it
is simply a matter of broadening the scope, and moreover, this correla-
tion between personal and national identity is yet another constant of
Quebec art.
Indeed, the quest for identity invariably involves more than just the
coherence of an individual's trajectory; it ultimately entails the adherence
to collective values: that is, the move from solitude to solidarity ( Menaud ,
La montagne secrète , Refus global , Mon pays ). 6 In short, these many works
present themselves not only as cultural products but as cultural projects,
which stage the contradictory components that contribute to the com-
plexity of French-Canadian identity, the question of which few nations
have pursued more persistently.
My main contention is that this arduous pursuit of identity is often
staged within the landscape, where various sets of contrasting icons,
those representing nature and those embodying culture(s), can be
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