The Art and Genius of Anne Hébert: Essays on Her Works : Night and the Day Are One

By Janis L. Pallister | Go to book overview

Le Remise en question de la Corriveau
dans La Cage d'Anne Hébert

KATHRYN SLOTT

Au début de son étude approfondie de la Corriveau, Luc Lacourcière écrit: "Il n'est guère de femme, dans toute l'histoire canadienne, qui ait plus mauvaise réputation que Marie-Josephte Corriveau" (1968, 213). La légende de la Corriveau survit depuis 230 ans. L'événement historique de 1763 s'est métamorphosé en légende, reprise et refaçonnée dans une centaine de versions (Lacourcière 1973, 249). L'imagination populaire ne se fatigue pas de produire des transformations de cette légende, dont La Cage d'Anne Hébert n'est qu'une des plus récentes.

La Corriveau hébertienne qu'apporte-t-elle à ce vaste réseau folklorique et artistique? Tenant bien compte des trois dimensions de l'histoire de la Corriveau signalées par Lacourcière: "la documentation historique," "la survivance légendaire," et "la création romanesque," (1969, 243),1' je propose de commencer par passer brièvement en revue l'événement historique et ensuite d'esquisser les plus grandes lignes de son évolution en légende quasi-mythique. Après avoir considéré quelques créations artistiques modernes inspirées par la Corriveau, je terminerai par examiner la contribution particulière d'Hébert à cette légende.


LES FAITS HISTORIQUES

Les témoignages écrits des deux procès de la Corriveau étant complètement inaccessibles en français pendant une période de cents ans (Lacourcière 1969, 240), la Corriveau n'a été remise à la lumière qu'en 1863 par Philippe Aubert de Gaspé dans Les Anciens Canadiens. Avant la parution de ce livre, il n'y avait que des documents juridiques en anglais auxquels le peuple n'avait pas accès. Après la publication des Anciens Canadiens, les récits populaires ont proliféré. Sans le contrôle qu'auraient fourni les documents

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