Quebec 1970: a year of intense political passions, nationalist activism, violence and
for many, detention without due process. With the kidnapping of James Cross and
the murder of Pierre Laporte, the terrorist acts of a few swiftly led to the armed
intervention of the State and to mass arrests in Quebec. The War Measures Act
authorized by the Trudeau government in October 1970 resulted in an "occupied"
Quebec. During this dark and sobering moment in Quebec history, community
activism and strong nationalist sentiments were suspect, dissent was grieviously
curtailed, and human rights were arbitrarily suspended.
The essays presented in our special section on "QuÃ©bec 1970 and its
Aftermath" return to this turbulent period not to commemorate or romanticize it
twenty years later, but to rÃ©examine it in light of the crucial roles the events of
October 1970 have played in redefining the political, social, and economic
aspirations of a people, and in shaping the various forms of creative expression
which have ensued.
Guy Lachapelle's essay follows the daily unfolding of the October Crisis at
Le Devoir, while Louise Forsyth reconsiders the repercussions of the October Crisis
among the young formalist writers and admirers of the imprisoned nationalist poet,
Gaston Miron. From their respective disciplines, Pierre VÃ©ronneau and Jane
Koustas analyze the function and significance of Quebec 1970 in films (VÃ©ronneau)
and in the theatrical satire of Jean-Claude Germain (Koustas). Jacques Pelletier
offers a useful political, cultural, and historical context for viewing the development
of political themes in Quebec literature.
Reconsidering this period from the position of 1990, Pauline Julien, JeanMarc Piotte, and Gail Scott share their recollections and analyses of the meaningsâ€”
both personal and collectiveâ€”of the October Crisis. And finally, in an essay that
places the events of 1970 in the context of contemporary economic and political
factors, Henry Milner offers cautionary words about the dangers of political
nostalgia over Quebec nationalisms of the 1960s and 1970s, while underscoring
some of the lessons to be learned from the new generation of Quebec managers and
In the literature and art theory sections of this issue, Monique Crochet,
Roseanna Dufault, and Jean Cleo Godin provide new textual analyses of wellknown works by Gabrielle Roy, Louise Maheux-Forcier, and Michel Tremblay.
Emile Talbot's discussion of Nelligan's relationship to the thematic concerns of the
decadence movement in France considerably widens the context for discussing
Nelligan's literary innovations. Lise Gauvin develops a provocative analysis of
women essayists in Quebec, examining their place in the literary essay and their
public reception. Francine Couture concludes with a discussion of QuÃ©bÃ©cois
artistic experimentation during the 1960s and the art theory that supported it.
Finally, a word of appreciation is in order for the long hours Kathleen
Attwood has worked during the past two years as our editorial assistant. She is now
in the doctoral program at the University of Michigan and we all wish her well.