Quebec Studies

Editor's Note

Quebec Studies (2004), 37, (1), 1–2.


1 Editor's Note The Quebec political landscape is always changing, and it is a challenge for an academic journal to look beneath the seasonal variations to capture some of its deeper tectonic shifts. The opening section of this issue of Québec Studies does just this, with two important analyses of long-term trends. James Allan and Richard Vengroff scrutinize the results of the 2003 provin­ cial election with particular attention to the role of the Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ). This recently emerged third party did not make the breakthrough some observers had predicted, yet it had an important impact on the outcome of the election and a closer examination of shifting voting patterns suggests the possibility of an eventual realignment of Quebec's political parties. Scott Piroth offers a searching examination of the prospects for the independence movement by looking at variations in political and cultural attitudes across different age groups. We are also pleased to have a particularly varied selection of articles in cultural studies. Jerry White's comparative analysis of Michel Brault's and Pierre Falardeau's cinematic styles will overturn many complacent opinions about the relationship between political and aesthetic commit­ ments, but his close readings of key films should convince readers to take a second look at what "committed" cinema means in practice. The ambiva­ lence about the meaning of the past, and about the nature of memory, expressed in Brault's work, finds an echo in Normand Chaurette's plays, where the themes of trauma, mourning, and memory are central concerns. Shawn Huffman uses recent theoretical work on trauma to illuminate the interplay of dramatic movement and obsessive stalling that makes Chaurette's plays so eloquent an enactment of the difficult process of mourning. In Jean-Jacques Thomas's essay on Joël Des Rosiers, we move from drama to lyric poetry, a genre often neglected in studies of Quebec lit­ erature by scholars working outside Quebec. Yet, the poetry of Des Rosiers, which ranges from Canada to the Caribbean, is international in scope and theme, and offers a particularly attractive way to make connections between Quebec and other francophone literatures. Thomas is alert to the many intertextual echoes that also connect Des Rosiers to the high tradition of poetry in France: here, too, memory is a multidimensional thing. In the third section of this issue, we revisit Gabrielle Roy's classic novel, Bonheur d'occasion. The test of a classic is that even when we think everything has been said about it, new perspectives emerge. In different ways, Juliette Rogers and Susan Kevra show how everyday phenomena of material culture are integrated into the thematic and structural pattern of the novel. As a journalist herself, notably on a newspaper designed for a readership of farmers, Roy was attentive to these practical details, and by looking at advertisements, public service announcements, and ideological attitudes about food and nutrition, Rogers contextualizes Roy's fiction in a new way. Critics have long been aware of Roy's attention to clothing, but Susan Kevra, whose work is informed by recent studies in the history of

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