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the farm in winter to work in the lumber camps, in the employ of the
'bourgeois.' In the sense that through its narrative frame and its land-
scape depiction Beaugrand's tale represents the social order of late
nineteenth-century French Canada, one might say that this most 'sur-
realistic' of the stories we have examined is also the most 'realistic' and
certainly the most 'modern.'
This illustration for the chasse-galerie (1892) by Henri Julien, a noted
caricaturist and painter of rural customs, 15 captures the cultural signifi-
cance of Beaugrand's rendition of the legend (figure 2.3):
Hovering at the centre of a sky lit by the moon to the left and dotted
by stars, the canoe is atilt yet afloat, narrowly avoiding an elevated sec-
tion of Mount Royal in the lower left foreground, while passing over
Montreal with the highly recognizable twin towers of Notre Dame cath-
edral silhouetted against the Saint Lawrence in the centre far ground
and the highly unique Victoria bridge crossing the river to the right.
Again the landscape is, as with Beaugrand's description, a complex mix-
ture of nature, the city, and the countryside, which Julien, limited to spa-
tial, not temporal, configurations, captured by juxtaposing planes, each
representing a different social sector of the landscape. In the prow the
intrepid voyageur urges his motley crew to collective effort to attain
their common and elusive goal. Suspended above the vast landscape,
whose natural setting is dotted with signs of civilization, the canoe itself
become a cultural place, which represents not only the dis place ment
from reality to imagination identified by Ricard, but especially a place of
collective values - camaraderie, defiance, and determination - which
define the French Canadian. Moreover, the image itself, like the canoe it
represents, became a cultural icon so popular that Julien went on to exe-
cute a version in oil, which graces the walls of Le Musée national des
beaux-arts du Québec. 16
Set in the recent not remote past, focused on a group not an individ-
ual, motivated by secular not religious values, with an adversary from
another class not race, the legend of the c hasse-galerie portrays, nonethe-
less, a struggle for identity depicted through the landscape, which
juxtaposes a defined cultural place set against and thus set off by a vast
landscape. In this case, the landscape reveals the various segments of
French-Canadian society, an opposition that we can further explore in
the nineteenth-century novel (chapters three and four), which, as the
name of the genre implies, is oriented more toward the 'new,' the con-
temporary, than is the short story, decidedly turned towards a more
glorious past, personified especially by the missionary, the Amerindian,
and the voyageur.
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