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literature

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

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Québécois Literature  
 
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Nicole Brossard

One of the principal writers to emerge in this era of liberation is Nicole Brossard (b. 1943). One of the leaders of the formalist movement, she explores in her work how the body and the text (the corps-texte) interact and influence each other.

French Kiss (1974), one of her major works of the 1970s, creates a renewed poetical language through the interaction of body and text. Although the energy of the French kiss is definitely owned by women, in the book's final chapter the text opens up on an urban vision.

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In L'Amèr (These Our Mothers [1977]), Brossard links her lyricism to the mythical construction of the mother's body and womb. Finally, with Amantes (Lovhers [1980]), Brossard explores a new love discourse centered on the love between women.

Lesbian Writing

Other women writers attempted various ways to break the silence of the body and the woman's mind, and tried to create a new literature that could express the needs and desires of women in general and lesbians in particular.

In L'Euguélionne (The Euguelionne: A Triptych Novel [1976]), for example, Louky Bersianik (b. 1930) writes a new genesis of the Woman as seen through a Lacanian optic.

In Pique-nique sur l'Acropole (Picnic on the Acropolis [1979]), she creates a new version of Plato's Symposium in which, this time, women participate in the dialogue. In the second part of the book, different aspects of women's sexuality and oppression are discussed, including masturbation and sexual intercourse with women and men.

Other writers push further their interest in the new language needed by lesbians to express themselves freely. The concern with language dominates Jovette Marchessault's (b. 1938) Tryptique lesbien (Lesbian Triptych [1980]) and Yolande Villemaire's (b. 1949) Adrénaline (1982) and Fidèles d'amour (Faithful Companions of Love [1981]). For them, history has to be rewritten to create new feminine myths, and language must be transformed.

Josée Yvon (b. 1950), in books that are half prose and half poetry, creates powerful images that are comparable to science fiction comic strips. In Travesties-Kamikaze (Kamikaze Transvestites [1980]), Danseuses-mamelouk (Mameluke Dancers [1982]), and Maîtresses-Cherokees (Cherokee Mistresses [1986]), a marginal world that resists the dominant culture is vividly realized.

In many ways, these poets do not distinguish the lesbian liberation movement from women's liberation.

Gay Male Poetry

In the liberation era, a few male poets, also linked to the formalist movement, published works that include aspects of the gay lifestyle.

André Roy's (b. 1944) poetical work of this period is quite interesting in this regard. In Les Passions du samedi (1979), Roy offers a catalogue of erotic parts of the body (muscles, hair), of sensations (tiredness, night fever, pleasure, anxiety), and, finally, of places and objects linked to gay courtship (bar, bedroom, bed, movies).

At the end of his work, the reader can find an index to the feelings and behaviors of habitués of the gay nightlife. The codification aspect is interesting and original enough to form a model of a particular kind of gay discourse.

Roy also published other poetical works dealing with similar topics; critics usually refer to these works as the "Passions cycle"--Petit Supplément aux Passions (1980), Monsieur Désir (1981), Les Lits de l'Amérique (1983). These books, along with Les Passions du samedi have been translated as The Passions of Mister Desire: Selected Poems.

In his subsequent works, Roy moves toward a more symbolic approach to lyricism, drifting away from specifically gay themes.

Jean-Paul Daoust (b. 1946) also integrates in his poetry. The images and poetical language that he uses are quite original, as he alternates literary references and cinematographic flashes, producing an urban rhythm composed of allusions to Dracula, Dorian Gray, Marilyn Monroe, and others.

This technique dominates such works as Oui, Cher (Yes, Dear [1976]), Portraits d'intérieur (Interior Portraits [1981]), and Poèmes de Babylone (Poems of Babylonia [1982]).

In Soleils d'Acajou (Mahogany Suns [1984]) and Les Garçons magiques (The Magical Boys [1986]), Daoust gives less importance to his search for a renewed poetic language but emphasizes more the way he expresses emotions. In Les Garçons magiques, he states that he wants to write his own story, as a guy who loves guys, and that he will also tell about the life of other young men, the magical ones.

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