Repossession of a cultural space in Francophone native literature from Quebec.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Francophone Native literature from Quebec is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although Native writing started as early as the 18th century with the teaching of missionaries, it is only since the 1970s that Native authors from Quebec began to write fictional works increasingly. Due to their historical past, social and economic situation, Native authors have only recently slightly moved away from political issues.
This thesis aims at highlighting the core elements of this literature and at demonstrating its specificities. The main corpus for this research is composed of seventeen works written by nine authors. Poetry and plays tend to be favoured by Native authors over novels and short stories; their closeness to oral tradition can be seen as one of the main reasons for such choices.
By way of introduction, I summarise the historical, social and literary evolution of Native people in Quebec. I problematize my research with references to postcolonial theories as the authors’ situation as ex-colonised people echoes the issues raised in this particular field. However, I also refer to other theorists like Doreen Massey or Anthony Giddens when necessary. The focus of the next chapters derives from these considerations. The second chapter examines how they represent themselves and others. The third chapter highlights how their recurrent representations of past events serve to the construction of a Native discourse. The fourth chapter is concerned with their representations of their own environment and demonstrates how they tie in past conceptions of nature with modern needs. The final chapter shows how using the French language can contribute to their repossession of a cultural space within Quebec society.
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