La Pensée Nationaliste De Lionel Groulx

By Cornett, Norman F. | The Catholic Historical Review, October 2005 | Go to article overview

La Pensée Nationaliste De Lionel Groulx

Cornett, Norman F., The Catholic Historical Review

La pensée nationaliste de Lionel Groulx. By Frédéric Boily. (Sillery, Canada: Les éditions du Septentrion. 2003. Pp. 229. $28.00.)

Frédéric Boily, a political scientist, addresses the nationalist rationale of Lionel Groulx (1878-1967), priest, man of letters, the foremost French-Canadian historian during the first half of the twentieth century, and doyen of Quebec nationalism. With reason, therefore, Boily declares Groulx "a creator of French-Canadian national identity"(p. 21, all translations mine). To do this, as Boily aptly observes in regard to French Canada,"Groulx had to devise an account of its origins and designate the founders of the nation: he needed to show the historic antecedence of the people so as to posit their perenniality throughout time" (p. 31). In this vein Boily asserts that Groulx embraced "organicist nationalism, namely, the school of thought that conceptualizes the nation as an historical being whose birth and development one can trace across the ages, just like the life of an individual" (p. 210).

Boily signals the German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) as the source of such thinking and contends that, "The espousal of Herderian logic allowed Groulx to specify what distinguishes the French-Canadian nation from its neighbors, particularly by establishing Catholicism and language as the salient characteristics of its national ethos" (p. 211).

Meanwhile, Boily ultimately attributes Groulx's idea of the state to the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814), who epitomized German idealism. Boily predicates that:

To see clearly his views on the State we must set Groulx back within a specific tradition which, on the principle of the nation's historic precedence, postulates its primacy over the State. In the organicist national construct the State lies inextricably linked to the nation . . . the one who gave credence to this concept is Fichte. (p. 118)

A noted pedagogue in contemporary French-Canadian society, Groulx, according to Boily, further followed Fichte in the conception of education as "a process that endeavors to integrate individuals into the nation and deepen their attachment to it" (pp. 176-177).

Boily also identifies Groulx's thought with Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). He maintains that in the spirit of this German philosopher Groulx decries post-World War II "technology for causing an entirely unparalleled state of affairs in human history since the sudden technological explosion so inverted the existing relationship between humanity and the world that it even altered individuals' souls" (p. 97).

To make his case Boily rallies around these German philosophers a host of French political thinkers familiar to Groulx. Boily especially mentions the conservative champion of Catholicism, Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), his liberal counterpart Charles de Montalembert (1810-1870), and the fervid nationalist writers Maurice Barrés (1862-1923) and Charles Maurras (1868-1952). Between their thought and Groulx's Boily perceives "profound structural analogies" (p. 129) so that the reader frequently encounters quotations from Groulx immediately qualified by statements like: "This echoes what Herder wrote in 1769" (p. 39); "again calling to mind Heidegger" (p. 96);"in line with Fichte's argumentation" (p. 121).

Boily necessarily resorts to analogizing because, as he confesses, Groulx "to my knowledge never quotes Herder" (p. 25). This apparently also holds true for Fichte and Heidegger. Their absence from the Groulxian corpus, one of the largest in Canadian literature, vitiates Boily's thesis. Moreover, with regard to Herder and Groulx, Boily admits that the latter's "personal library, although well stocked, does not contain a sole work by this thinker" (p. 25). Indeed it does not have a single book by or about Herder, Fichte, or Heidegger-a fact that undermines Boily's theory since Groulx's extant private collection includes hundreds of philosophical titles. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

La Pensée Nationaliste De Lionel Groulx


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.