Quebec Studies

Louise Maheux-Forcier and the Poetics of Sensuality

Quebec Studies (1983), 1, (1), 286–297.


Louise Maheux-Forcier and the Poetics of Sensuality Maurice Cagnon “Le chant que je devais chanter n’a pas i t 6 chant6 jusqu’i ce jour.” This quote in exergue to Louise Maheux-Forcier’s first novel, Amadou,’ signals the initiatory voyage that comprises all of the author’s works, and specifically the early trilogy, Amadou, L’lle joyeuse and Une f 0 r . t pour Zoe‘. Though the words are the poet Tagore’s, Sappho’s call is also clearly heard, as Nathalie, the protagonist, evokes in multiple experiences the omnipresence of the young Anne with whom she had come to know her first love. In the long nocturnal flashback which architects the book, the narratress filters her entire life through that initial, sacral moment, exploded at the work‘s outset in cosmic, mythical terms. Within Amadou’s novelistic world, Anne may or may not have actually existed; she might, in fact, be a necessary figment of Nathalie’s fertile imagination, the keystone t o creating a personal mythology that would repel her restrictive moral and religious upbringing. Maheux-Forcier unfolds her novel as a parable equating Anne with Nathalie’s beloved maple tree, planted on the day of her birth: “C’6tait au commencement du monde et j’6tais amoureuse d’un arbre [. . .] jeune et beau” (12); “apris cet arbre j’ai aim6 une fille . . . Anne! [. . .] merveilleuse [qui] m’attendait du fond des Iges” (12-13). Both are conceived (in the denotative and connotative senses of the word) as universal, immemorial phenomena transcending any specificity of time and space, as sources and incarnations of Truth and Beauty, as bearers of a morality of Love to counterbalance conventional social and spiritual norms. The text makes it clear, however, that the compensation which they offer for those norms may be no more than illusory, for as the work closes, Sylvia, the surrogate Anne figure, writes to Nathalie that their renascent dawn will be

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Author details

Cagnon, Maurice