Doing Gender: Franco-Canadian Women Writers of the 1990s

Doing Gender: Franco-Canadian Women Writers of the 1990s

Doing Gender: Franco-Canadian Women Writers of the 1990s

Doing Gender: Franco-Canadian Women Writers of the 1990s

Synopsis

This collection contains eighteen critical essays devoted to works of prose, theater, and poetry created during the final decade of the twentieth century by francophone women of Quebec and Canada.

Excerpt

If, as Jane Gallop has argued, the history of feminist criticism can be traced through the various essay collections that form the stages of its development, Paula Gilbert's publication in 1985 of the essays in Traditionalism, Nationalism, and Feminism marked the moment when the writing of francophone women in Québec was recognized as constituting a corpus worthy of critical study. At that moment the complicated and contested identities of Québec, on the one hand, and women writers, on the other, were just emerging from a process of radical redefinition. the newly coined signifier of national identity, Québécois, had taken on meaning in the political debates of the 1960s and 1970s before being once again opened to question by the enigmatic outcome of the 1980 referendum on Québec independence. the active Québec feminist movement of the 1970s had proposed a new status for the woman writer in the term of l'écrivaine, prompting the rereading of texts by Québec women extending back to the nineteenth-century literary pioneer, Laure Conan.

As it was in the course of the 1980s that France Théoret felt able to bring these key terms together in her confident self-identification as “écrivaine et Québécoise, ” it was also in the 1980s that the work of Québec's women writers was able to make its generic claim to critical attention. It was in keeping with the feminist critical tration as it has taken form in the Americas, that this claim to critical recognition should assert itself through an essay collection, a fitting representation of the multiple voices that have come to characterize contemporary feminism.

The last fifteen years have seen the publication of a number of important books and articles on francophone women's writing, not only in Québec but in other regions of Canada. As a consequence, the topic is no longer perceived as marginal in the context of francophone literature or the interdisciplinary field of Canadian Studies. the writing of francophone women in Canada has entered the literary and cultural canon and has transformed it in many ways.

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