Book Reviews: Literature and Criticism
LEWIS, PAULA GILBERT. Traditionalism, Nationalism, and
Feminism: Women Writers of Quebec. (Contributions in Women's Studies, No. 53.) Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood
Press, 1985. $35.00.
This collection of essays about QuÃ©bec women writers
is the only one of its kind available in French or English. As
a result, although the world is discovering the existence of
QuÃ©bec, its writers are, on the whole, not well-known in Englishspeaking Canada or the United States. Paula Gilbert Lewis has
capitalized on the recent and growing interest in QuÃ©bec and
in feminism. The articles in her book serve as an excellent
introduction into the richness of QuÃ©bec literature by women.
The English-speaking reader will be particularly pleased to
find that the authors of the articles have provided translations
of the passages they cite. The specialist can also benefit from
reading the well-written and informative articles in this collection.
The section on traditional texts begins, fittingly, with an
article on Laure Conan's AngÃ©line de Montbrun.
Gallays's study provides an interesting psychoanalytic interpretation of this story of a father-daughter relationship. Paula
Gilbert Lewis's article on the early short stories of Gabrielle
Roy is a study of complex female protagonists who are both
traditionalists and feminists. In James J. Herlan's article on
the radio serial based on Germaine GuÃ¨vremont's Le Survenant,
women's and men's roles are studied against the political and
social backdrop of the Duplessis era. The poetry of Rina Lasnier
and Anne HÃ©bert is the subject of the next two articles in this
section. James P. Gilroy perceives that while Rina Lasnier
follows in the tradition of the French Symbolist poets, her
work is informed by a peculiarly quÃ©bÃ©coise inspiration. In
her essay, Susan L. Rosenstreich discusses the power of the
female poet to create a new world rather than simply describe