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HUMANITIES 189 le plan de l'actualite litteraire. Livre et lecture au Quebec (1800-1850) montre aquel point pareille assertion est erronee. Bien qu'elles abordent differents sujets sous des angles divers et qu'elles ne recouvrent pas exactement les m~mes annees, les communications reunies dans cet ouvrage marquent assurement une etape importante dans la recherche sur la culture de l'imprime au Quebec. Fort bien documentees et parfois sous un jour nouveau, elles posent de precieux jalons qui serviront aapprofondir l'histoire de cette culture. Elles contribuent notamment a une meilleure connaissance du public lecteur de l'epoque et de ses attentes. Livre et lecture au Quebec (1800-1850) constitue, ace titre, un passionnant chapitre de l'histoire de la reception de la litterature fran<;aise au Quebec. (JACQUES COTNAM) Ben-Z. Shek. French-Canadian and Quebecois Novels Oxford University Press. 152. $9.95 Ben Shek's book represents nothing less than a tour de force. In 150 pages he familiarizes the reader with the wealth of Quebec fiction available in English translation, and does so in a style that is free of jargon and a pleasure to read. Although it covers the period from the very first novel in 1837 until the end of the 1980s, the study contains a depth and insight rarely found in 'survey' books of this kind. Not only are his assessments of the novels probing, but they also often reflect original critical thinking. The discussion of Anne Hebert's Kamouraska is particularly fine, and the analysis ofJac-ques Poulin revealing. There is a blending of plot summary, critical commentary, and perspective which makes it easy for readers unfamiliar with the field to find their way, and interesting enough for those with background to profit from the text. The approach is cultural, so that the works are discussed in their social and political perspective. The first chapter, 'The Long Gestation,' covers the period 1837-1937, and places the novels in their historical context; the second, 'The Modem Novel,' traces the evolution of the novel from 1938 to 1959 and treats such classics as Trente arpents, Le Survenant, and Bonheur d'occasion. In the third chapter, 'The Sixties: The (Not So) Quiet Revolution,' there is reference to the historical change and the nationalist preoccupations of the time. The literary merits of the works are noted at some length as well, so that the reader can trace the evolution of the Quebec novel as a historical document and as an art form. The title may arouse expectations that are not fulfilled. By 'FrenchCanadian ,' Shek means, not novels written in French by non-Quebeckers, but those written before the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. 'Quebecois' refers to the novels produced since that period. However, he does discuss 190 LETTERS IN CANADA 1991 the Frenchman Louis Hemon, simply because he cannot be omitted, and Gabrielle Roy and Antonine Maillet, whose ties are to Quebec and who settled there. In the conclusion, Shek sees the novel in translation as a means of bridging the chasm between the English and French communities in this country or, as he quotes Margaret Atwood, dealing with Canada's duet of two deaf singers. It may well do that. It can only improve on the efforts of the politicians. However, the novel in translation, and Shek's book, will also satisfy an increasingly insatiable appetite for Quebec fiction abroad, and most notably in the United States. Anyone who has attended a meeting of the American Council for Quebec Studies or the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States knows that Shek's study will find a most welcome audience there. A full chapter is devoted to feminist writing. Shek concludes that women writers have 'shaken institutionalized patriarchy in Quebec and helped change the contours of its literary/cultural landscape' and have 'revitalized genres and forms.' The book ends with three useful appendixes: a brief discussion of the problems of translation, which includes a superb definition of what constitutes a good translation, a listing of French novels available in English translation, and a list of selected English-language criticism. For whatever reason, academic reviewers feel called upon to find something negative to say about the book under discussion. Perhaps they fear the accusation of being called a cheerleader. I will not follow that tradition. First, because it is silly, and second because the book does admirably what it sets out to do, which is cause for no small praise. Shek's book deserves a wide readership that will contribute to a greater knowledge of and appreciation for the novel of Quebec. (PAUL SCX:KEN) Karen Gould. Writing in the Feminine: Feminism and Experimental Writing in Quebec Southern Illinois University Press 1990. us $32.50 La voix 'feminine,' au cours des quinze dernieres annees, est devenue un facteur important dans la culture occidentale, et en particulier dans la litterature, entre autres par le biais des etudes feministes. Karen Gould, en tant que femme, critique litteraire et directrice des etudes feminines a la University of Ohio, Bowling Green, s'inscrit pleinement dans ce mouvement. Elle a deja publie nombre d'articles sur des auteures quebecoises . Son livre, Writing in the Feminine: Feminism and Experimental Writing in Quebec, est le fruit de plusieurs annees de recherche intensive au Quebec et sur le Quebec (certains segments etant deja parus sous forme d'article). Karen Gould sait utiliser a bon escient la textualite de ses ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 189-190
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-25
Open Access
No
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