Certain Difficulty of Being: Essays on the Quebec Novel
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.
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