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painting is premised on the juxtaposition of a limited place representing
culture (here, as in Lacombe's novel, the paternal home) and a vast space
representing nature ('la nature grandiose').
Within the now-delineated space, Chauveau then starts to lay in de-
tails in the second paragraph:
C'était vers la fin d'une belle après-midi du mois de septembre, et l'en-
droit natal des jeunes Guérin était une des ces riches paroisses de la côte du
sud , qui forment une succession si harmonieuse de tous les genres de pay-
sages imaginables, panorama le plus varié qui soit au monde, et qui ne
cesse qu'un peu au-dessus de Québec, où commence à se faire sentir la
monotonie du district de Montréal. [It was towards the end of a beautiful
September afternoon, and the birthplace of the young Guérins was one of
those rich parishes on the south coast , which form such a harmonious suc-
cession of all imaginable types of landscapes, the most varied panorama
that exists in the world, which stops only a little above Quebec, where one
begins to sense the monotony of the Montreal region.]
Here, Chauveau notes the specific time of day and month of the year,
since both will have an effect on the appearance of the scene, from the
quality of the light to the state of the foliage. He also situates the spe-
cific geographic location, using local terms ( côte du sud ) highlighted in
italics, which both reinforces local identity for the French-Canadian
reader and promotes it for the French or French-speaking reader from
elsewhere. Most of all, Chauveau identifies the overall impressions of
the scenic view, the principles that will govern the entire landscape
description: the vast scope ('panorama'), the multiplicity ('tous les
genres'), variety ('varié'), and harmony ('si harmonieuse'), all of
which are at odds with the 'monotonie' of the landscape as one ap-
proaches Montreal; that is, the very unity that had so appealed to
Cartier and Champlain.
The third paragraph takes us back from the periphery to the centre,
from the plurality of landscapes to the singularity of the paternal prop-
erty or, in this case, properties, since there are two houses associated
with the Guérin family, both suggesting relative ease, but each quite
different from the other. The first one, where they live presently, old
and a bit decrepit, reflects a former social order, divided into two parts,
the higher one for the family, the lower one for the servants or guests.
The second, where the deceased patriarch used to live, is of a more
modern taste, if taste can be used to describe this heteroclite building
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