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Shakespeare in Quebec

Shakespeare in Quebec: Nation, Gender, and Adaptation

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Shakespeare in Quebec
    Book Description:

    InShakespeare in Québec, Jennifer Drouin analyses representations of nation and gender in Shakespearean adaptations written in Québec since the Quiet Revolution.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6969-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Performing Arts, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    It is common practice in Québec to contrast “la langue de Molière” and “la langue de Shakespeare.”¹ Yet, in a Québec that prides itself on still speaking Molière’s tongue, it is puzzling to find a remarkably rich history of adaptations of Shakespeare since the Quiet Revolution, a period of massive social reform inaugurated in 1960. More than thirty such French-language adaptations of Shakespeare have been written in Québec – and an impressive number of translations and innovative stage productions have been performed as well – making Shakespeare a far more creative force in Québec than Molière. The surprising existence of Québécois Shakespeare...

  5. Chapter One Postcolonial Shakespeares and Gendering the Québec Nation
    (pp. 11-41)

    Ric Knowles opensShakespeare and Canadawith an autobiographical narrative. He identifies himself as a “white, male, settler/invader [who] stands as postcolonial subject” and who participated in the “1970s Canadian nationalist movement” during which Canadian drama was “coming of age” and supposedly “breaking free of what it consider[ed] to be the pernicious influence of the mother country, her Bard, and his theatrical outpost in Southwestern Ontario” (14, 13). Knowles recounts feeling like Miranda when she expresses amazement at this “brave new world/That has such people in’t” (5.1.183–4). He claims that she is an “(almost) second-generation settler/invader [speaking], not about...

  6. Chapter Two A Theory of Shakespearean Adaptation
    (pp. 42-67)

    This book is about Québécois adaptations of Shakespeare, yet none of these three key terms – Québécois; adaptation; Shakespeare – is particularly stable. What exactly makes a play “Québécois”? What kind of cultural product counts or does not count as an “adaptation”? What is the relationship between “adaptation” and other terms, such as “appropriation,” with which it is often paired or substituted? How directly must an adaptation evoke, cite, reference, rewrite, or appropriate Shakespeare’s texts (or imagined aspects of his personal life?), and how much Shakespearean-related content must it contain to be considered an adaptation “of Shakespeare”? This chapter will attempt to...

  7. Chapter Three The Quiet Revolution: Passer à l’action
    (pp. 68-88)

    Thought versus action: Hamlet’s dilemma is also Québec’s. Robert Gurik’sHamlet, prince du Québec(1968) allegorically aligns Québec’s quest for sovereignty with Hamlet’s problem of ceaseless thought versus the need to take immediate action and suggests Québécois must throw off their Hamlet complex, an imperative in keeping with nationalist discourses during the Quiet Revolution. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Québécois nationalism was expressed largely in terms of taking action,passer à l’action,¹ and throwing off the defeatism of ané pour un petit painattitude of self-deprecation.² This type of nationalism was manifested through anti-ecclesiasticism, neo-Marxism, and parallels...

  8. Chapter Four Tyrants and Usurpers: Tradapting the Conquest
    (pp. 89-111)

    The use, quality, and even existence of the Québécois language was a key debate during the 1970s to which Michel Garneau contributed with his “tradaptations,” to use his own neologism, ofMacbeth(1978) andLa tempête(1973/1989). Without changing Shakespeare’s plot or characters, Garneau exposes the semiotic richness of the Québécois language by translating the text into an approximation of an eighteenth-century dialect spoken in New France prior to the Conquest while he subtly adapts geographical and historical details in order to conflate the action within the world of Shakespeare’s plays with the Conquest and contemporary neocolonialism. The overlapping spatiotemporal...

  9. Chapter Five The First Referendum: Daughters of the Carnivalized Nation
    (pp. 112-132)

    Jean-Pierre Ronfard’sLear(1977) andVie et mort du Roi Boiteux[Life and Death of the Limping King] (1981), adaptations of Shakespeare’sKing LearandRichard IIIrespectively, employ carnival and magic realism to parody the bastardized state of the nation whose corruption and decay can be eliminated only by the rise to power of strong-willed women.¹ Rabelaisian carnival dominates every aspect of these two adaptations;² food, drinking, rampant sexuality, and references to the grotesque lower body abound, but, since it is temporary, the result of carnival must ultimately be the reinstatement of social order.³ For Mikhail Bakhtin, carnival is...

  10. Chapter Six The Second Referendum: Plurality without Pluralism
    (pp. 133-170)

    Since 1990, Québec has seen an explosion of adaptations of Shakespeare by a range of playwrights from various sociocultural backgrounds, including the first Québécois adaptations written by women, queers, and aboriginals. No fewer than twenty-seven adaptations have been written and produced since then, and the number continues to grow (see the appendix). With such a wide range of texts, one would not expect to find much commonality among them. What unites these texts is their plurality, not only as a trait embodied by the diversity of the corpus itself but also in the emergence of a cacophony of other voices...

  11. Conclusion: Québec v. Canada: Interculturalism and the Politics of Recognition
    (pp. 171-192)

    The Québec nation has a recognition problem; so do women. Since they are devalued social groups that constitute a statistical majority but occupy a minority status, one would expect to find evidence of solidarity in each group’s struggle for social justice. While the 1970s feminist slogan “Pas de Québec libre sans libération des femmes! Pas de femmes libres sans libération du Québec!” suggests that inter-group solidarity is not just desirable but required if each is to achieve its goals, these ideals have yet to materialize as a political reality. As a corpus of literature, Québécois adaptations of Shakespeare embody this...

  12. Appendix: Chronology of Québécois Adaptations of Shakespeare, 1960–2013
    (pp. 193-202)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 203-252)
  14. Works Cited
    (pp. 253-270)
  15. Index
    (pp. 271-286)