Women and Narrative Identity: Rewriting the Quebec National Text
Annotation Women writers have made significant contributions to Quebec's ongoing process of cultural self-definition. Because the novel has traditionally played a central role in the construction of national identity, Quebec literary history has seen the continued production of identity narratives, which Jacques Godbout calls the "national text". Using the tools of contemporary feminist criticism and building on a tradition of work on Quebec women's writing, Mary Jean Green considers issues of national and cultural self-definition, situating the literary texts of Quebec women within a unique political and historical context while also relating them to the work of women writing in other cultural situations, from nineteenth-century Europe to the postcolonial francophone world. Green demonstrates that the "national text" has at times functioned to constrain women's literary expression, while in other cases it has empowered the feminine voice, endowing it with a unique identitary power. She shows that writerssuch as Laure Conan, Germaine Guevremont, Gabrielle Roy, Anne Hebert, and Marie-Claire Blais have been recognized as important because they have been widely perceived as speaking to and about the people of Quebec. The Quebec identity narrative has offered women writers a framework within which they are able not only to make their voices heard but to tell a story of feminine dispossession and desire that often questions central cultural values.
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Angeline de Montbrun Angeline's Anne Hebert Aquin autobiography autonomy Belle Bete Blais Blais's Bonheur d'occasion Brossard Canadian Casgrain Catherine central century characters contemporary Corriveau Cousture's critics cultural daughter despite discourse dominant Elisabeth Moyen experience father female feminine feminist femme fiction figure Filles de Caleb Florentine Florentine's France Theoret Francois francophone French French-Canadian Gabrielle Roy genre Germaine Guevremont Godbout Guevremont heroine historical novel Hubert Aquin ideal identitary identity narrative ideology immigrant Jacques Jean Kamouraska language Laure Conan Le Survenant liberation lives Lori Saint-Martin Maison Trestler Maria Chapdelaine Marie de l'Incarnation Marie-Didace Maryse masculine maternal Montreal mother narrator national text nationalist nineteenth-century Quebec Noel Noel's oppression parlerons Patricia Smart Phonsine Phonsine's plot political protagonist Quebec identity Quebec literary Quebec literature Quebec novel Quebecois Quiet Revolution reality Robin's role roman Rose-Anna Roy's rural seems sexual social society story Survenant terre traditional vie d'Emmanuel vision voice woman