Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society

Article excerpt

J.I. Little, The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), xi + 278pp. Cased. £42. ISBN 978-0-8020-9100-0. Paper. £20. ISBN 978-0-8020-9397-4.

It is largely thanks to J.I. Little that the anglophone community of Quebec's Eastern Townships has any academic history. Hence these essays are welcome for the glimpses they give of a largely vanished society. Little opposes the dichotomy between a French world dominated by religion and a materialist Anglo-Saxon universe, and the pervasive colouration of belief runs through studies both of individuals and communities. One essay is contributed by Marguerite Van Die, about whom no information is supplied. Seven of the eight pieces have already appeared in print. I especially enjoyed Little's reconstruction of the early married life of Edmund and Lucy Peel who upheld gentility for four years in the Sherbrooke area during the 1830s. Edmund, a kinsman of Sir Robert, even attended the birth of their first child, although I winced to read that he was 'rather unique' (p. 85). The downside of this volume is its macro-theoretical burden of microhistory. Good local history is contextual, telling us that even if Mapleton's miller was a rogue, he was better than the scoundrel at Beaverville. …

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