Quebec Studies

Québec Feminists Look Back: Inventing the Text Through History

Quebec Studies (1983), 1, (1), 298–308.

Abstract

Qukbec Feminists Look Back: Inventing the Text Through History Karen Could Predecessors, ancestors, a body of literature, an acceptance of the right to write: each in themselves an advantage. Tillie Olson, Silences . . . se remimorant leur mtre muette, leur mtre morte h chacun. la meme et diffirente. . . . Madeleine Cagnon, Antre We generally think of “tradition” as the continuation of a given set of opinions, practices or customs from one generation to the next. In art or literature, tradition may refer to any number of commonly observed usages or patterns of organization handed down through the generations. But the dictionary informs us that word “tradition” originally had another set of meanings: 1) the act of delivering into the hands of another, and 2) surrender or betrayal.’ For many women writers in Quebec, Western cultural tradition has retained this double meaning of commonly accepted historical practice and betrayal. Tradition is a reading of the past that women have delivered into the hands of men. Tradition has betrayed women by allowing them only infrequent representation or by denying their existence altogether. For the writers we are about to examine, both of these axioms are correct. Feminist writers in Quebec, such as Louky Bersianik, Denise Boucher, Carole Masst, and France Thkoret, to name but a few, are no longer satisfied with taking a back seat in history. For this reason, their textual explorations reflect a widespread and in-

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Could, Karen