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468 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 avec etonnement que Ie Felix Poutre de Frechette'echappe ala potence grace al'amnistie decretee par Ie gouvernement' (p 62); et qui pis est, Duval ne semble rien savoir du succulent scandale que suscita la Veronica du meme auteur au toumant du siecle, scandale etudie afond par Paul Wyczynski dans Ie tome v des Archives des lettres canadiennes, par Maximilien Laroche dans Ie tome II du Dictionnaire des reuvres litteraires du Quebec, outils pourtant indispensables a tout travail serieux dans Ie domaine de I'histoire litteraire. Ajoutons qu'il y a bon nombre de pieces dont Duval ne sait retrouver I'auteur mais qui se trouvent aisement dans ces deux sources ... Mais si l'on ecarte la methode rigoureuse pour evaluer ce texte, la lecture s'en revele agreable et parfois meme instructive. L'ordre est chronologique, un bref chapitre consacre aux evenements 'dramatiques' de chaque annee. Si I'auteur se trouve acourt de matiere, il improvise: veut-on savoir les derniers potins de Paris pour I'an 1881? Le temps qu'il faisait aQuebec adivers moments de cette promenade? Ne lui saura-t-on gre de nous annoncer I'arrivee du premier papillon du printemps, Ie 18 avril 1894? L'allure est confortable, Ie debit agreable, anecdotique. De l'histoire litteraire a la bonne franquette, telle que la pratiquaient Louis-Michel Darveau en 1873, Laurent-Olivier David une generation plus tard. Ouvrage eminemment lisible mais peu fiable. Ces trois ouvrages racontent bien diversement l'histoire d'un theatre quebecois hors Montreal, visant chacun un public distinct: celui du lecteur curieux mais renseigne, pour Trois-Rivieres en liesse; celui du chercheur specialise, pour Ie Repertoire; celui du grand public dans Ie cas du livre d'Andre Duval. Au lecteur averti d'en faire son choix. (L.E•. DOUCETTE) Jacques Michon. Emile Nelligan: Les racines du reve. Les Presses de l'Universite de Montreal; Les Editions de l'Universite de Sherbrooke 1983 (ColI. Lignes quebecoises). 178. $15.00 The centenary of the birth of Quebec's first modem poet, Emile Nelligan (1879-1941), has prompted renewed scholarlyinterestinthe latter's tragic life and fascinating work. Utilizing the basic research that made possible Luc Lacourciere's critical edition (1952) and Paul Wyczynski's literaryhistorical (1960-76) and bibliographical (1973) studies, Jacques Michon of the Universite de Sherbrooke has become the leading figure among a new generation of Nelligan scholars who are applying contemporary critical methods to the poet's writings. Three of the six chapters of Michon's book are revised versions of articles or papers previously published or presented. They are here combined with new material to provide a coherent whole. The first chapter describes the cultural climate of Montreal at the turn of the century and the unsuccessful attempts of the members of the Ecole HUMANITIES 469 litteraire de Montreal to create an autonomous 'literary institution.' A second chapter, equally novel in its content, examines the narrative patterns of Nelligan's poetry to show that its rhetoric of renunciation and redemption was not uncongenial to the bourgeoisie of Quebec's belle epoque. On the other hand, as a revised 1979 article inserted here as chapter three demonstrates, the poetic code of the poems is revolutionary in its emphasis on the autonomy of the signifiers rather than on the referentiality of the signified: lIes mots dans Ie poeme ne designent pas des objets mais des mots' (p 53). The fourth chapter reprints a 1980 study of Nelligan's most famous poem ILe Vaisseau d'or.' The sonnet, earlier dissected in celebrated articles by Paul Wyczynski and Gerard Bessette, is here subjected to a penetrating metrical, phonetic, syntactical, and semantic analysis from which biographical and psychoanalytical interpretations are deliberately excluded. The fifth chapter is a short note on the significance of the numerous variants of the poet's name appearing as signatures to his poems. The most original and most impressive section of the book is the final chapter, in which Michon scrutinizes some thirty versions of Nelligan poems included in four notebooks kept by the poet during his long confinement (1899-1941) in mental institutions. Michon's inquiry proves that, far from being senseless ramblings, the variations...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 468-469
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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