Quebec Studies

Tradition Et Modernité: Histoire, Narration Et Récit Dans Les Fous De Bassan D'anne Hébert

Quebec Studies (1989), 9, (1), 121–130.


The notions of tradition and modernity can be said to function like Jakobson's shifters, as Jespersen originally defined them: "A class of words … whose meaning varies with the situation." These two terms are a function of 1) a situation in space and time; 2) they are semantically interdependent; and 3) they cannot ignore the notions of tradition and modernity that preceded them. In order to remain, today's modernity must evolve into tomorrow's tradition. In this study, I propose to show how in Anne Hébert's Les Fous de Bassan, the three aspects of the "narrative reality" as Gérard Genette defines them in Figures III-namely, the story (the signified), the text (the signifying) and the narration (the act of telling itself)-are a perfect literary illustration of the mechanisms that condition the notions of tradition and modernity. In Hébert's novel, the story defines a situation where the dialectic between the traditional and the modern is shown to be impossible. It is at the level of the narration that this dialectic takes place as Hébert gives each protagonist a chance to tell his/her own version of the events. It is finally at the level of the text that the dynamics of the process-the exchange between the modern and the traditional-is represented. By allowing the inhabitants of imaginary Griffin Creek to rediscover the genuine purpose of speech (la parole) through the modernity of her writing-enriched with elements of the oral tradition-Hébert liberates her characters from their overbearing traditions and oppressed desire.

Access Token

Bishop, Neil B. "Distance, point de vue, voix et idéologie dans Les Fous de Bassan d'Anne Hébert." Voix & images 9.2 (Hiver 1984): 113-29. Distance, point de vue, voix et idéologie dans Les Fous de Bassan d'Anne Hébert Voix & images 9 113 29 Google Scholar

Boutet de Monvel M. Chansons de France. Paris: L'Ecole des Loisirs, 1979. Chansons de France Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques. "La Différance." Théorie d'ensemble du groupe Tel Quel, Philippe Sollers éd. Paris: Seuil, 1968. Théorie d'ensemble du groupe Tel Quel Google Scholar

Ewing, Ronald. "The English World of Anne Hébert." Canadian Literature 105 (Summer 1985): 100-10. The English World of Anne Hébert Canadian Literature 105 100 10 Google Scholar

Genette, Gérard. Palimpsestes. Paris: Seuil, 1982. Palimpsestes Google Scholar

Genette, Gérard. Figures III. Paris: Seuil, 1972. Figures III Google Scholar

Gould, Karen. "Absence and Meaning in Anne Hébert's Les Fous de Bassan." The French Review 59.6 (May 1986): 921-30. Absence and Meaning in Anne Hébert's Les Fous de Bassan The French Review 59 921 30 Google Scholar

Hébert, Anne. Les Fous de Bassan. Paris: Seuil, 1972. Les Fous de Bassan Google Scholar

Hébert, Anne. Kamouraska. Paris: Seuil, 1960. Kamouraska Google Scholar

Hébert, Anne. Poèmes. Paris: Seuil, 1960. Poèmes Google Scholar

Jakobson, Roman. Essais de Linguistique Générale. Paris: Minuit, 1963. Essais de Linguistique Générale Google Scholar

Paterson, Janet M. Anne Hébert: architexture romanesque. Ottawa: Presses Universitaires d'Ottawa, 1985. Anne Hébert: architexture romanesque Google Scholar

Paterson, Janet M. "L'Écriture de la jouissance dans l'oeuvre romanesque d'Anne Hébert." Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa 50 (1980): 69-73. L'Écriture de la jouissance dans l'oeuvre romanesque d'Anne Hébert Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa 50 69 73 Google Scholar

P. E. N. Table Ronde Budapest. Tradition et modernité dans la littérature de notre temps. Budapest: Corvina, 1964. Google Scholar

Poulin, Gabrielle. "L'Ecriture enchantée." Lettres québécoises 28 (Hiver 1982-83): 15-18. L'Ecriture enchantée Lettres québécoises 28 15 18 Google Scholar

Robbe-Grillet, Alain. Le Miroir qui revient. Paris: Minuit, 1984. Le Miroir qui revient Google Scholar

Sirois, Antoine. "Anne Hébert et la Bible." Voix & images 39 (Printemps 1988): 459-72. Anne Hébert et la Bible Voix & images 39 459 72 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details

Chevillot, Frédérique