Novel of the ground?
The most famous novel, still to date, of French Canada was victim, like so many others of its success.
Insisting on this Romance side “of the ground” carrier of values that the history, well after its publication, could allot to him, it was considered sometimes as a so perfect model of the kind which one saw there seeing an unequalled pastiche of the literature “terroirist” of Quebec. Louis Hémon, in fact, apparently restricts himself to give a very simple account of an almost quiet history of love, on bottom of the life of a family of the Saguenay-Lake-Saint-Jean (with Péribonka, on the edge of the Rivière Péribonka). The winter, the traditional values (ground, family and religion) and the reasons characteristic of a certain traditional Québécois literature even could make speak about pastiche in this connection. The fact that the novelist reproduces Québécois French in a very moderate way and provides a plentiful inventory of Québécismes and local employment could seem to fall under this prospect. But is to be unaware of what makes, beyond the aspect banal, minimalist, voluntarily reduced to the land aspect, of this text, its size and its poetic breath. When well even there would be pastiche of the Québécois regionalistic literature, the pastiche would so largely exceed its models which it would have taken universal value, and it is this opening and this width which give to this novel this so particular statute and, to tell the truth, single.
It is very difficult to analyze it without taking account of this problematic statute.
Posthumous dedication and mythification
As death carries it at the time when it leaves Quebec, and before even publishing in volume its novel, published in serial with Paris, in 1913, Louis Hémon is unaware of the great interest which its novel causes. The Canadian readers see “traditional there” before the letter, the masterpiece of French Canada. It falls under the line line of the other writings of Louis Hémon, almost all published after its death.
Still to date regarded as a masterpiece of the Québécois Literature, and massively supported by the university institutions of Quebec, it eclipses the remainder of work and in particular news like Lizie Blackstone , which is attached to the British cycle of its news.
Satirical dimension and critical of this work are not to overlook: the opening of the novel on a Ite missa is (“the mass is known as”) and insistence on the religious Mœurs and the misery of the colonists does not miss audacity for a vagrant such as Louis Hémon, known for his independence and its frequentation of mediums Libertaires. The innermost depths this its work remain to be explored.
If it could allure, in the Années 1920, a writer “reactionary” and nationalist like the maurrassien Henri Massis the novel of Louis Hémon, as the remainder of its work, is exercise of freedom, a freedom which it will have, on the whole, paid of a heavy posthumous dedication and a mythification.
François Paradise or the allegory of people “born for a bread roll”
The Pessimism on which the novel is completed (resignation of Maria to marry a colonist), descriptions sharp of the anguish of the Chapdelaine mother, etc, reveal a universe Barbare without hello out of wood and the ground, an obscure, cold and closed universe, in short a universe of “eternal return of same” where any principle of Espérance or Avenir is tiny room to nothing.
Here is the direction of the Allegory of François Paradise, the applicant of Maria, who dies petrified in a snowstorm. It is a vision rather right of a Province immobilist and traditionalist, about 1900. The novel is to be compared with the Promise Lake , written by another compatriot of Hémon, Philippe Porée-Kurrer, seventy years later.
According to certain literary analysts, the allegory goes even further. The name that Louis Hémon chose for the three applicants of Maria is not the fruit of the chance. Thus, François Paradis represents the freedom of the Québécois people (" François" , old form of " Français" , and " Paradis" , it to what all aspired at the time). Runner of the wood and enthusiast of big spaces, it represents the ideal of Canadian-French.
On its side, Surprising Lorenzo offers to Maria to leave the misery of the Lake-St-Jean to follow it to the United States. It thus represents the attraction of certain Canadian-French for the foreigner, especially that at the time, the " États" represented Klondyke for them. From where the first name with foreign consonance (Lorenzo) and evocative family name (Surprising).
Finally, the author chose a name all that there is moreover " terroir" for the farmer traditionalist attached to the ground. Eutrope Gagnon represents all that there is of more common in the company of the time. The fact that Maria will marry it represents the resignation of the people Canadian-French of the time.
AdaptationsThe novel will know of three film adaptations, 2 Frenchwomen and 1 Québécois:
- in 1934 by Julien Duvivier with Madeleine Renaud (Maria Chapdelaine) and Jean Gabin (François Paradise), turned partly in Péribonka
- in 1950 by Marc Allégret in a free interpretation of work
- in 1984 by Gilles Carle with Carole Laure
The novel will be also transformed into data base, plays, illustrated novel, radio-novel, televised series. Authors will publish even continuations with the novel.
Text of Project Gutenberg
- Text of '' Maria Chapdelaine ''
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