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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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Paul Chamberland is also an important contributor to Québécois gay literature of the liberation era. In Le Prince de Sexamour (Sex-love Prince [1976]), Chamberland states that we should liberate sexuality and in the process free ourselves of the capitalist world. He also sees homosexuality as a means through which human beings can come to understand themselves.

He posits the creation of a new, essentially gay figure: the "hommenfant" (the childman or adultchild). The same theme is also explored in the Émergence de l'Adultenfant (The Birth of the Adultchild [1983]).

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Finally, in Marcher dans Outremont ou ailleurs (To Walk in Outremont or Elsewhere [1987]), young men are portrayed in a variety of brief scenes as the initiators of a revolution of love.

Just as Chamberland's work was written in order to affect society, so Jean Basile, in his book Iconostase pour Pier Paolo Pasolini (Iconstasis for Pier Paolo Pasolini [1983]), had the same goal in mind.

As the title indicates, the book, written after the death of Pasolini, is a poetical discourse about gays, feminism, and men. In it, Basile tries to use the traditional condemnatory discourse of homosexuality to praise the birth of a new gay person. As a somewhat carnavalesque work, it makes gold from the base metal of scorn and condemnation.

It was not accidental that gay writers turned to poetry in order to express a new vision of homosexuality and a new pride in gayness. Québécois poets had used poetry for similar purposes with respect to the nationalism issue.

Poetry helped in a way to create the imaginary of a land from which politicians and materialism were excluded. Lesbian and gay poets rewrote our history, expressed our emotions without censorship, and gave their vision of a new world in which power, moral standards, and homosexuality itself were transformed.

These writers did not express the same views about the gay and lesbian subculture. For some, discotheques and movies were the source of their images of the gay life. For others, the subculture was rejected in favor of a new world in which lesbians and gay men would function as shamanic figures who transform society.

Gay and Lesbian Writing of the 1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s and 1990s, gay issues are also prominent on the stage and in novels but with distinct differences from their earlier manifestations.

The recent works of Michel Tremblay, for example, center on less exotic characters than the transvestites who peopled his earlier works. In Les Anciennes odeurs (Remember Me [1981]), two gay men, a French teacher and his ex-lover, now a TV star, revisit their relationship. What brings them together has less to do with their sexual orientation, however, than with a tragedy in the actor's life: the death of his father.

In two other novels, Le Coeur découvert (Heart Laid Bare [1989]) and Le Coeur éclaté (The Burst Heart [1993]), Tremblay's descriptions of the intimate lives of gay characters are framed in the concerns of the post-modern Québécois novel and society: the extended family, urban life in Montréal, and travel beyond the province.

Two other novels published in the 1980s also reflect the common themes of the Québécois novel of the period: Stephen Schecter's T'es beau en écoeurant (You Are Such a Cutie [1984]) explores the different aspects of a love affair between a Jewish anglophone and a French-Canadian man in Montréal, whereas Guy Ménard's L'Accent aigu (Acute Accent [1983]) tells the story of a Québécois student in Paris who falls in love with a weird character.

In the early 1990s, while new writers revealed their own visions of the lesbian and gay world, one can sense the emergence of new trends. Lyricism, suspense, and art forms like photography replace realism.

In François Brunet's L'Acte de folie (Act of Madness or Folly [1993]), these techniques are used to describe the fight against AIDS; in Michael Butler's L'Homme de mon lit (The Man Who Shared My Bed [1992]), they are employed to describe the tragic ending of a relationship; and in André Martin's Darlinghurst Heroes, they are used to recount the adventures of a gay character in Australia.

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