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ground they consider the action and interaction of writing, reading, rewriting, rereading weaving an intriguing web of relationships at all levels between writers and readers: one's own work; responses to others; writing as re-created reading; reading as rewriting. We are drawn into the reflections, which travel back and forth challenging everything from current reader theories of criticism to a bilingual writer's place in a duo-lingual world. The journal offers a curious experience of the act of writing through reading in a fragmented society. The women who make up the Tessera team have aspecificaim and playa particular and important role within Canada because theirs is one of the all-too-rare journals, certainlyin the field of modern literature and letters, that deliberately serve as bridges between anglophone and francophone writers. Canada should have more of such ventures in all fields; they are crucial to our cultural health. (J. WAELTI-WALTERS) Paula Gilbert Lewis, editor. TradiHonalism, Nationalism, and Feminism: Women Wn'ters of Quebec Greenwood Press, xii, 280. $35.00 'I am unable to explain why so much writing of such impressive quality should come from so few' (p xi). Elaine Marks's comment in her foreword to this collection of essays in English on Quebec women writers inadvertently reveals both its strengths and weaknesses. The book's strength is first that it introduces these writers to a general audience, probably American, and second that it provides a needed addition to the relatively few books of Quebec criticism available to the English reader, either in translation or in English. Larry Shouldice's Contemporary Quebec Criticism, Andre Bourassa's Surrealism in Quebec Literature, translated by Mark Czarnecki, D.W. Russell's Anne Hebert in the Twayne series, and Lewis's own The Literary Vision of Gabrielle Roy are some such recent publications. While Quebec critics have excelled in textual scholarship, the study of literary institutions, and reception theory (e.g., A l'ombre de DesRochers: Ie Mouvement litteraire des cantons de l'est, "925-"950 [1985]), and in the application ofconternporary theory (e.g., Jacques Michon's use of semiotics in Emile Nelligan: Les Racines du revel, little of this reaches the unilingual reader. Opening this collection, this reader will be pleased to find a succinct introduction by Lewis, which explains how it'studies women's writing in Quebecfrom 1884to the early 1980s ... [and] offers a general chronological movement from the pre-1960s (traditionalism) to the 1960s (nationalism) and finally to the 1970S and early 1980s (feminism)' (p 6). Informative essays on many major writers - Anne Hebert, Marie-Claire Blais, Gabrielle Roy, Nicole Brossard - follow. Many - but not all- of the essays are written by American scholars interested in Quebec literature. HUMANITIES 231 Of particular note is Mary Jean Green's 'Redefining the Maternal: Women's Relationships in the Fiction of Marie-Claire Blais,' which pursues the theme and development of women's relationships chronologically through Blais's novels, although Green suggests there is a more promising unification between mothers and daughters in Visions d'Anna than the novel's closure, however tentatively hopeful, implies. Louise Forsyth's study of Nicole Brossard, 'Beyond the Myths and Fictions of Traditionalism and Nationalism: The Political in the Work of Nicole Brossard,' is a lucid ifgeneral introduction to Brossard's work, situating it within the Quebec political and cultural context, and clarifying her crucial role in fostering radical feminist writing, while Marthe Rosenfeld's 'The Development ofa Lesbian Sensibility in the Work ofJovette Marchessault and Nicole Brossard' presents a perceptive and more detailed comparison of the emergence of a lesbian poetics in the two writers. Despite a gauche, patronizing, and inaccurate beginning ('Maillet ". has sinlUltaneously transcended the confining stereotypes of traditionalism, the humorlessness of some feminism, and the narrow vision of fanatic nationalism' [p 141j), Marjorie Fit2patrick proceeds to illustrate with vivacity how Maillet creates versions of epic heroines in her major novels in 'Antonine Maillet and the Epic Heroine.' Both Karen Gould, who has written other fine articles on Quebec women writers, and Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed (though hampered by a stilted prose style) discuss the provenance and creations of Madeleine Gagnon and Louky Bersianik with sufficient depth and analysis that the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 230-232
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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