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HUMANITIES 219 six historical, biographical, and bibliographical appendices containing additional documentation. A l'ombre de DesRochers ... is filled with information, much of it completely new, on Sherbrooke, its literary circles, and the writers of the surrounding region. Like most works of multiple authorship, it is uneven in style and interest; and it lacks an index; it does, however, effectively illustrate the value of team investigations of regional literary history, and it reminds us that Montreal and Quebec City have no monopoly on Quebec culture. (DAVID M. HAYNE) Denise Lemieux. Une culture de la nostalgie: I'Enfant dans Ie roman quebecois de ses origines Ii nos jours Bo,,~al Express 1<)84. 242. $12·95 The unprecedented growth of Quebec literature and literary studies since 1960 has been paralleled by an extraordinary expansion of sociological investigations, some of them concerned with the literature itself. Denise Lemieux's book, inspired in part by Fernand Dumont's 1964 paper entitled 'La Sociologie comme critique de la litterature,' is the most recent and one of the most sophisticated of these analyses of Quebec literature. In her introduction the author notes that, despite the growing importance of studies of childhood in the sociologicalliterature of the past three decades, the role of children in Quebec society has received little attention. She justifies her use of fiction as documentation for her study on two grounds: writers are discriminating observers of their society, and the relatively large number of fictional works permits both verification of individual observations and diachronic study of them. Dr Lemieux's sampling is particularly wide; she draws on more than two hundred novels and cites almost fifty novelists three or more times each. Thestudy, which isbroader than its subtitle implies, is divided into four chapters. The first of these, 'La Famille dans la litterature: "Restons chez nous,'" describes the territorial and tribal character of earlier Quebec literature, as expressed in its collective symbol of 'la vieille maison' and in its endogamous social patterns. The author mentions at several points the role of the Action franc;aise movement of the '920S, although without reference to Susan Mann Trofimenkoff's 1975 study. In analysing the theme of endogamy in the novels, Lemieux shows that it is ideologically inspired and may take the form of quaSi-incestuous relationships between siblings in modern Quebec fiction like that of Rejean Ducharme. The second chapter, 'La Veillee et la revanche des berceaux,' examines the demographic changes taking place in Quebec during the early twentieth century (emigration, a declining birthrate, and high infant mortality) that underlie the ideological concerns expressed in regionalistic novels culminating in Ringuet's Trente arpents (1938). Lemieux skilfully illustrates the ambivalence of symbolic references in the fiction, relating ironic allusions in the novels of Marie-Claire Blais, for example, to the popular belief that death transforms baptized infants into angels. Parental relations and the socialization of children are treated in the third chapter. Drawing on the previous work of Jean-Charles Falardeau, SisterSainte-Marie Eleuthere, Jack Warwick, and AntoineSirois, Lemieux stresses the importance of rural or urban settings and of social class in the family power structure. In the fiction, rural and middle-class urban families tend to be patriarchal, working-class families matriarchal. Male and female roles are sharply distinguished, the man's existence being symbolized by the farm and the forest, the woman's by the kitchen and the horne. The patterns of shared authority are complex and constantly evolving, often including an imperious widowed grandmother. The socialization of children thus becomes a paradoxical mixture of discipline and indulgence. In her fmal chapter the author outlines the development of affection and sentiment in children, qualities inhibited or repressed in traditional Quebec society by a preoccupation with family needs over individual ones. Thus themes ofsolitude and lack of communication dominate in the absence of depictions of romantic or passionate love. Suppressed affection appears only obliquely, perhaps in the form of food preparation by the mother or story-telling by the father. In concluding her lengthy and detailed analysis, Lemieux refrains from making sweeping generalizations or imposing reductionist patterns, emphasizing instead the complexity, variety, and ambivalence of the presentation of child figures in the novels. Her study is thus suggestive and stimulating rather than dogmatic and definitive. Although somewhat diffuse and not easily read, it will reward both sociologists and students of literature; the former will find in it a previously unfamiliar corpus, the later will discover an unaccustomed methodology. All readers will, however, be disappointed by the lack of any index to assist in locating references to particular novels or novelists. A generous bibliography (pp 221-42) completes the book and provides guidance to those uninformed about either sociology of literary history. (DAVID M. HAYNE) Franc;ois Ricard. LA Litttrature contre elle-meme. Collection Papiers Calles, Boreal Express. 196. $12.95 Ce livre rassemble une vingtaine d'articles et d'essais, la plupart parus dans la revue Liberti! iilaquelle Fran~ois Ricard collabore depuis plusieurs annees. A premiere vue, ces textes se caracterisent surtout par leur diversite: I'auteur y examine les ecrits des Tcheques Kundera et ~kvorecky, ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 219-220
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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