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combined and juxtaposed in close proximity in the same works, verbal
and visual, nature serving perhaps as a reminder of the ongoing strug-
gle to preserve and renew culture. It is no doubt the notion of persistent
struggle, raised to a mythological level in literature and painting, that
comes closest to occupying the central position in the constellation of
multiple, often contrasting points that constitute the French-Canadian
identity. And is it not the notion of persistent struggle that also charac-
terizes the promethean task of the artist, both writer and painter, to
capture the vast space of human experience on the intimate place of the
page or the canvas, while preserving the traces of that monumental ef-
fort through twisted syntax and typography or rapid, nervous brush-
work? Anne Hébert responded to a similar question as follows:
'Nothing is ever won for good. Everything must always be started over
again. In living as well as in writing.' 7
Struggle is, of course, universal in nature and thus a constant of
world myth and literature, but it seems to me that it assumes a particu-
lar flavour in Quebec, not just in art, but in living or, rather, in the art of
living. Many a foreigner, myself included, has been struck, as was Louis
Hémon, by the good will and good humour of our adoptive country's
citizens: 'une race pétrie d'invincible allégresse et que rien ne peut em-
pêcher de rire' (19; a race moulded of invincible elation, which nothing
could keep from laughter). The Quebecois nation is, in short, not only
'une race qui ne sait pas mourir' (194; a race that will not die), but also,
especially, 'une race qui sait vivre' (a race that knows how to live).
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