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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Employing methods from book history and print culture, this chapter locates the development of French-Canadian literature in the eighteenth century in such formative phenomena as the American and French Revolutions (1776, 1789), the arrival of the first printing press (1764), and the struggle for supremacy of liberal and conservative thought. Disseminated primarily through the periodical press, eighteenth-century literature conformed to contemporary notions of “belles lettres.” In the nineteenth century, political and historical works by Lord Durham (1839) and François-Xavier Garneau (1845–48) engendered a wave of cultural nationalism and a corresponding proliferation of literary genres. From patriotic poems, historical romances, and novels of manners to psychological realism, avant-garde poetry, and serialized fiction, literary development registers the impact of historical events, such as Canadian Confederation (1867) and the hanging of Louis Riel (1885), while reinforcing the significance of the periodical press in enabling the eastward and westward expansion of French-Canadian culture.

Keywords: Canadian literature, French-Canadian literature, eighteenth-century literature, nineteenth-century literature, book history, cultural nationalism

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