Certain Difficulty of Being: Essays on the Quebec Novel

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Jun 1, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 176 pages
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In the Preface to A Certain Difficulty of Being Purdy examines the kinds of discourse that deal with the novel in some nineteenth-century Quebec novel prefaces, thereby revealing a theme of generic denegation in the sense of "This is not a novel." Purdy goes on to explore the transition from epic to novel in Félix-Antoine Savard's Menaud, maître-draveur; the contradictions stemming from the use of a first-person, present-tense narrative in André Langevin's Poussière sur la ville; the problem of narrativity and history as it is raised in Hubert Aquin's Prochain épisode; and the way in which narrative voice functions in Anne Hébert's Kamouraska. He also touches on the current debate concerning the boundaries between modernism and post-modernism. Purdy does not offer an all-embracing system to explain the development of narrative in the Quebec novel, but leads us to an understanding of how these particular novels function, each in its own socio-historical context, and how they achieve or fail to achieve what they set out to do. The thread that runs through the different chapters is a pragmatic concern with Quebec's historical "difficulty of being" as it informs in varying ways the narrative projects of the novels in question.
 

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Contents

This is Not a Novel The Rhetoric of Denial in NineteenthCentury Quebec Novel Prefaces
3
Between Epic and Novel The Crisis of Community in FelixAntoine Savards Menaud maitredraveur
19
On the Outside Looking In The Political Economy of Everyday Life in Gabrielle Roys Bonheur doccasion
41
Stopping the Kaleidoscope Narrative Ambiguity in Andre Langevins Poussiere sur la ville
62
The Politics of Incoherence Narrative Failure and the Invention of History in Hubert Aquins Prochain episode
83
An Archaeology of the Self Narrative Ventriloquism in Anne Heberts Kamouraska
109
Afterword
134
Notes
139
Bibliography
161
Index
173
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French, UWO

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