Les Cultures Du Monde Au Miroir De l'Amérique Française

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Monique Moser-Verrey (ed.), Les Cultures du Monde au Miroir de l'Amérique Française (Québec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2002), 234pp. $28. ISBN 2-7637-7879-8.

The traditional view that French Canada - Quebec in particular - was for a long period an inward-looking society, concerned above all with its own survival, closed to the outside world, hostile to other cultures, is not altogether founded. (Even the otherwise xenophobic church was 'open' to the world in sending, from the mid-1800s onwards, thousands of missionaries to Africa and South America.) Certainly, there has been a tendency to oversell this somewhat caricatured image, often, of course, because it suited some agenda or other. The truth is that in myriad ways and at myriad levels, French Canada has always interacted with other cultures - even at its seemingly most introspective moment - and, all things considered, it would have been astonishing if it had not. This collection of twelve essays, most competently edited and presented by Monique Moser-Verrey, explores some of the many fascinating ways in which the outside world has affected or been absorbed by French Canadian society and culture. It is in no sense meant to constitute a coherent, historical overview. Rather, the extremely diverse topics discussed - they range from the welcome given to Longfellow's Evangéline to the art of warfare in New France, from the Swiss and Savoyard influence on modern religious architecture to the interest in reincarnation in the 1970s - are paradigmatic. …