14th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium

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Transcript 14th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium

Roland Michel Tremblay
14th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium
Crossing Borders: 21st Century Writers in the Americas
• Who is Roland Michel Tremblay?
French-Canadian born in 1972 in Québec city now living in London UK since 1995
Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of London (Birkbeck College)
I have also studied for one year at la Sorbonne in Paris and I have finished a BA Language and Philosophy at the
University of Ottawa in Canada. I also have a college diploma in Sciences from the College of Jonquière in Québec.
Author of many books, 4 are published in French in Paris by iDLivre publisher
In the past few years I have been leading two professional lives in parallel. The first one is in the world of Conferences
in Telecoms and IT where I have been writing and managing major European events. My second life has been and still
is the one of an author and technical adviser writing novels, essays, poetry, television scripts and now big American
The books are: Eclecticism (Philosophical Essay), Waiting for Paris (Novel), Denfert-Rochereau (Novel) and The
Anarchist (Poetry). They are distributed in France, apparently they are the most popular of the publishing company
and are also distributed in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Africa and Middle-East.
Science Consultant/Technical Adviser/Writer for films and TV
The television series Black Hole High that I worked on is now being broadcast on the NBC network all over America and
on ITV all over the United Kingdom.
• What will this presentation cover?
History of French-Canadian Literature
Québec’s main authors
Roland Michel Tremblay’s books
Roland Michel Tremblay
In 1750 La Nouvelle-France
(New France) was huge, it
went down to New Orleans in
the South. As you can see the
Spanish controlled the Far
West. Of course most of these
territories were uninhabited in
those days but you could find
many French colonies. Even
today there are still many
French speaking persons in la
Nouvelle-Orléans, mainly due
to the Acadians deportation by
the British between 1755 and
New France in 1750
New France, which included Canada, was the French empire in North America. By 1750 fur traders had
expanded it in the northwest, although wars with the British had reduced it in the east. Isle Royale was the
remnant of French Acadia, most of which the British ruled as Nova Scotia. The French still maintained forts in
the part west of the Bay of Fundy (cross-hatched area). Actual French settlement was largely limited to
present-day Nova Scotia, Québec province, Illinois, and Louisiana; French influence extended farther through
alliances with the indigenous nations for trade and defense. French Canadians are descendants of the
habitants, the French-speaking peasants who stayed on in Québec after the French lost their North American
territories to the British in the 1760s.
Québec Today
Roland Michel Tremblay
This is Québec today. Even though
we lost a lot of territories to the
United States and that the frontiers
of the provinces were drawn to
maximize assimilation by leaving
out at least 1 million French
speaking people in the provinces of
Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia, we can still put four times
France in the territory of Québec.
Today’s French speaking population
of the whole Canada is about 8
million (one quarter of Canada),
almost the population of Belgium
(10 million). And most of them
don’t speak English, don’t read in
English and don’t watch English
television. This is one of the main
reasons why we have so many
publishers, television stations,
authors, books, arts in French,
because even what is French from
France does not reach us as much
as what is American but translated
into French.
Roland Michel Tremblay
History of Québec’s Literature
The distinctive complexion of French Canadian literature is due in large part to the national spirit of the
French-speaking, predominantly Roman Catholic habitants and to tensions inherent in their social,
political, and geographic situation. This situation is characterized by isolation and a feeling of being
threatened by the larger, primarily Protestant and English-speaking culture in North America.
French Canadian literature, properly speaking, began with the introduction of a printing press and the
founding of a weekly bilingual newspaper, the Québec Gazette, in 1764. However, the sense of a specific
literature different from that of France did not take hold until the 1840s. From then on, for well over a
century, literature was an important tool in French Canada’s ongoing struggle for cultural survival, and its
themes of language, culture, religion, and politics reflected the evolving nature of that struggle. By the
end of the 20th century, literature in Québec had become multiethnic, cosmopolitan, and confident of its
On a historical level, Québec’s literature was born from the "reports of the Jesuits" sent in Nouvelle-France
by the French. Then this literature of ethnologists (which described the places, people, manners, the
climate in very Christian terms) little by little left the place to tales (transcription of oral stories) and to the
account of combat (against English and the "savages"). As of this time, Québec’s literature was a literature
of assertion and resistance, which it remained until the Seventies. The quiet revolution changed this as
from the seventies Quebeckers had the impression to have won. They were not threatened any more and
their literature lost its claiming aspects to become more ludic, light, even commercial. It also lost much of
its rigor because of the revalorization of the popular language (joual). For the past twenty years the great
challenge of Québec’s literature has been to account for the great stakes of our time (political,
immigration, society, etc.) which has not happened yet.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Catholic, censorship, Quiet Revolution (Révolution Tranquille)
The Catholic religion has played a big role in literature in Québec and before 1960 Québec was one of the
most censored place in the world because directly under the powers of the clergy. No wonder the quiet
revolution happened and that suddenly Québec’s literature became one of the most liberated in the world,
celebrating the gay culture, transvestites and other subjects that were never mentioned before.
Politics played a major role in Quebec’s literature. It was not the best literature that was inspired from the
social and political situation, but it is the literature that survived through the years because it was telling the
history. One of the worst books I read from a French-Canadian author was “Le Libraire” from Gérard
Bessette and it only survived time because it was describing the socio-political situation in Canada and the
censorship exerted by the priests. The lesson here is that if you wish to be remembered as an author, you
should talk about the history of your country, politics, and the social life of the time. It is now very hard in
Québec to find a book that does not deal with this search for a distinctive identity different from the rest of
the planet and the political situation about an eventual separation of Québec from the rest of Canada.
An Identity
It is much more desirable for a French-Canadian author to be published in France, it is like consecration, like
a British writer would love to be published in America. It is also very difficult if not impossible. This said
Québec has nothing to envy to France. There are many publishers in Québec publishing in French and so
many authors even though there are not many readers, that there is no question about it: there is a FrenchCanadian culture and “la Littérature Québécoise” exists. Sometimes France can even be ignored, what is
important is to say to the English Canadians: “We are here, we have a culture!”. So much so that English
Canadians started in recent years to wonder if they had an identity to differentiate themselves from
Roland Michel Tremblay
Québec and France
It is more common today to have French-Canadians published in France but it is still a slow and uneasy
process. Only the best authors succeed. Since France and Quebec undertook real cultural exchanges in
the Forties and after the 2nd World War, almost all of the principal Québec’s authors were published in
France: Gabrielle Roy, Claire Martin, Bertrand Vac, Jacques Godbout, Anne Hébert, etc. Then little by little
Quebec began to build its own publishing structures (non-existent before the 2nd World War) and from
that point it was no longer necessary to go and get published in Paris. This practice thus disappeared with
time and Quebec’s authors and French’s publishers lost sight of each other. Today if an author makes it
big they simply get published in France by a publisher that has an agreement with a Québec’s publisher.
These authors are often translated in many languages, often up to 26.
Verbal communication - French-Canadian compared with French from France
The difference between the French that we talk in Québec with the French talked in France today is as big
as the difference between the American English and the British English. The only difference is that in
Québec we have kept the Napoleonian French while in France the standards have changed progressively
over the years. Québec’s French, including many expressions and folks’ songs, is very similar to the
French we can find in Belgium, Catalan (Spain), Switzerland and other previous French colonies.
Sometimes in Spain you hear people speaking Catalan and sometimes even Spanish, and you could think
they speak French-Canadian, until the background noise cease and then you know they are speaking
Catalan or Spanish.
Written texts and literature - French-Canadian compared with French from France
The written French in Québec is very similar to the written French in France, exactly like the written
English in the US is comparable to the written English in Britain. Only some expressions are different and
sometimes some words are written differently. Instead of growing apart, the level of French in Québec is
getting better and closer to the French of France. There is a desire to bridge the differences and to get the
standards up.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Québec’s Literature
• Links on the Internet in French
L’Île: www.litterature.org & www.litterature.org/auteur.asp
Littérature québécoise: http://felix.cyberscol.qc.ca/LQ/
La Bibliothèque électronique du Québec, free e-books of authors from Québec and France
now in the public domain: http://jydupuis.apinc.org
• Links on the Internet in English
National Library of Canada: www.nlc-bnc.ca
US Internet Movie Database: http://us.imdb.com
Online bookstores: www.amazon.com & www.archambault.ca
• A good book in French
La Littérature Québécoise by Laurent Mailhot, Typo Publisher (Montréal), Essais
• A good resource in English
Encarta Encyclopedia 2003 on CD-ROM or DVD
Roland Michel Tremblay
Anne Hébert
(Poetry and Novels)
(Sainte-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Québec, 1916-2000)
French-Canadian poet and novelist, much of whose work describes the conflict between the outer, modern world and the inner life of
the creative artist. Born in Saint-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Québec, Hébert grew up in the city of Québec. She moved to Paris in the
mid-1950s. In her books Hébert explores the sense of alienation and isolation felt by artists, but she also stresses the need to work in
the everyday world as a way to spiritual redemption. She is known for her precise descriptions of the physical world.
Many of Hébert's works explore the theme of awareness after revolt against violent oppression. Her first novel, Les chambres de bois
(1958; The Silent Rooms,1974), is the story of a young woman who returns to a more natural and simple life after being imprisoned
by her husband. Hébert's later novels—such as Kamouraska (1970; translated 1973); Les enfants du sabbat (1975; Children of the
Black Sabbath,1977); and Les fous de Bassan (1982; In the Shadow of the Wind,1983)—are stories of demonic possession and
murder. Hébert's other works include the novels Le premier jardin (1988) and L'enfant chargé de songes (The child full of dreams,
1992); the poetry volumes Les songes en équilibre (Dreams in Equilibrium, 1942) and Le jour n'a d‘égal que la nuit (Day Has No Equal
but Night, 1994); and the short-story collection Le torrent (1950).
The violent eroticism of Hébert’s early work gave way to an increasing serenity and even nostalgia for the society from which she had
voluntarily exiled herself in the 1950s. Anne Hébert shows that after more than three decades she can still evoke the mysteries of
human existence.
Anne Hébert's highly regarded Les Fous de Bassan is a symbolic and mysterious story set in the village of Griffin Creek in 1936.
In Le premier jardin, Anne Hébert tells the story of actress Flora Fontanges, who returns from France to her hometown of Quebec City
in the 1970s to perform in a play. The invitation to return comes at a time of personal anguish, for her daughter has just died. Like
Atwood's Elaine Risley, Flora Fontanges explores her hometown, recapturing with stunning accuracy the passionate history of the city
and her own personal history.
As a result of Quebec's Catholic heritage, its writers often see human conflicts in terms of damnation and salvation. Anne Hébert's
important novel, Les enfants du sabbat, set in a Quebec convent in the mid-1940's, is a visionary tale of a young girl's damnation.
Anne Hébert's Héloise is the story of a married man in Paris, whose encounter with a woman leads him into a life of fantasy.
Anne Hébert Center (French): www.usherbrooke.ca/flsh/centannheb/index.html
Roland Michel Tremblay
Michel Tremblay
(Theater and Novels) (Montréal, 1942 - )
The novels and plays of Michel Tremblay, set in Montréal’s working-class neighborhoods and dealing with such themes as the politics of
language, homosexuality, transvestites, prostitution, drug dealers and incest, explored the transformation of Québec society in the 60s
and 70s. His plays were innovative in language and subject matter. They also experimented with staging and characters, often splitting
the stage into different times or places or creating more than one version of a character.
Tremblay, who by the 1980s had published some 50 volumes, also produced several new plays, including Albertine en cinq temps
(1984; Albertine in Five Times, 1986), using a cast of characters familiar from his earlier works. His most important works of the
1980s and 1990s were novels, including two additions to the multivolume Chroniques du plateau Mont-Royal: Des nouvelles d’Edouard
(News of Edward, 1984) and Le premier quartier de la lune (1989; The First Quarter of the Moon, 1994). Tremblay’s Le coeur
découvert (1986; The Heart Laid Bare, 1989) is a moving account of homosexual love. The explicitly autobiographical Un ange cornu
avec des ailes de tôle (A Horned Angel with Tin Wings, 1994) traces Tremblay’s evolution from childhood to young adulthood through
the books that were important to him.
The nostalgic trilogy evoking his childhood in working-class east-end Montréal in the 1940s consists of La grosse femme d'à côté est
enceinte (1978; The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant, 1981), Thérèse et Pierrette à l'école des saints-Anges (1980; Therese and
Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angels, 1984), and La duchesse et le roturier (The Duchess and the Commoner, 1982).
Another expression of French Canadian self-confidence was an ongoing debate over whether writers should work in traditional French
or in French as it was spoken in Canada. This issue took on epic proportions in a controversy over a play by Michel Tremblay, Les
belles-soeurs (1968; translated 1974), which many critics found shocking in its use of colloquial language that was considered both
ugly and crude. The play shows 15 working-class women from three generations laughing and quarreling after one of them wins a
million trading stamps and asks the group to help her paste them into booklets. Tremblay brought the nature of the language
controversy into sharp focus and delighted audiences by recreating the anglicized, impoverished, yet forceful language of the Montréal
working class. In so doing, he helped bring French Canadian drama to the attention of the world.
Tremblay's Le Vrai Monde?, for Le Theatre Français, looked at how a writer uses his life in his work. In Douze coups de théâtre (Twelve
theater pieces) Quebec's foremost playwright, Michel Tremblay, offers souvenirs of his discovery of the theater and the text of his first
prizewinning play. Michel Tremblay presents in C't'à ton tour Laura Cadieux a gathering of women, playing cards in the waiting room of
a gynecologist. And from Québec came Michel Tremblay's Hosanna, about a homosexual relationship between a motorcyclist and a
hairdresser. Michel Tremblay's Bonjour la Bonjour, is about an incestuous family.
Focused more narrowly on Montreal, indeed centered on the now mythic Rue Fabre, is Michel Tremblay's Le premier quartier de la
lune, the fifth and final volume of his Chroniques de MontRoyal. The action takes place on June 20, 1952; it is the last day of school,
the moment when summer seems to offer hope in the difficult world of nine-year-old Marcel and young people like him. Alienated from
the world around him by worsening epilepsy, Marcel creates a dream world in his solitary life with his cat, Duplessis.
Main website: http://membres.lycos.fr/karmina/index.html
Roland Michel Tremblay
Réjean Ducharme
(Saint-Félix-de-Valois, Québec, 1941 - )
Novelist and playwright Réjean Ducharme spent seven months in the Canadian Air Force in 1962, then
worked as a salesman, office clerk and cab driver before travelling across Canada, the United States and
Mexico for three years.
Ten of his works have been published by Gallimard which is an accomplishment, given the prestige of this
French publishing company. His first novel, L’Avalée des avalées (1966), won the Governor General’s Literary
Award in 1967. His second novel, Le Nez qui voque (1967), was awarded the Prix littéraire de la province de
Québec. These two, plus a third novel, L’Océantume (1968), were published during the years of the Quiet
Revolution in Quebec and made a significant impact. Ducharme wrote the plays, Le Cid maghané and Ines
Pérée et Inat Tendu in 1968, and Ha ha! which won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1982. He
received the Prix Belgique-Canada in 1973 for L’Hiver de force and the Prix France-Canada in 1976 for Les
Enfantômes. In addition, he wrote the lyrics of several songs for Robert Charlebois (1976). Ducharme also
wrote the screenplay for two very successful films: Les Bons Débarras (1979) and Les Beaux Souvenirs
(1981) produced by Francis Mankiewicz. After a 14-year silence, Ducharme surprised the world with two
novels, Dévadé (1990) and Va savoir (1994). Réjean Ducharme is considered one of the most significant and
original voices in Quebec literary history. He has also exhibited his sculptures and paintings created with
found objects, under the pseudonym Roch Plante.
Even those writers who avoided political themes expressed the tensions inherent in the Québecois situation.
Réjean Ducharme’s novel L'avalée des avalés (1966; The Swallower Swallowed, 1968) portrays the anger of
an adolescent girl who is half Jewish and half Catholic. The girl feels dominated by her mother and torn
between her contradictory cultural and linguistic heritages.
In L'Océantume, Réjean Ducharme returned to his fantasy world of children and explored their bizarre
In French Canada the most intriguing poetry event was novelist Rejean Ducharme's poetry-novel La fille de
Christophe Colomb, a surreal attempt in more than 1,000 quatrains of sophomoric doggerel to follow the
heroine in her search for true friendship.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Robert Lepage
(Theater, Movies, Actor) (Québec, 1957 - )
Robert Lepage was born in Quebec City on December 12, 1957 and was admitted to the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Québec in
1975. After graduating in 1978, he went on to Paris to complete his training at Alain Knapp's theatre school. He later returned to his
hometown where he contributed to several creations as an actor, author, and director. Then in 1980, he joined the Théâtre Repère, a
Quebec City theatre company where, within a few years, he was to make his name as one of the major creative forces of his country.
Circulations, which was created in 1984 and presented throughout Canada, won the Best Canadian Production Award at the Quinzaine
internationale de théâtre de Québec. It was in 1985, however, with The Dragon’s Trilogy, that his work was to be internationally
In 1986, he created Vinci, his first solo performance, which notably won the Prix Coup de Pouce at the Festival Off d’Avignon, the Best
Creation Award at the Festival de Nyon, and the Best Staging Award by the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre. The
following year, The Polygraph won the Time Out/01 Production Award in London, and the Chalmers Award in Toronto. Finally, in 1988,
The Tectonic Plates confirmed his reputation on many stages throughout North America and Europe.
Canadian cinema received a transfusion of fresh blood in 1995 with a large crop of films from writer-directors making their first
features. The most keenly anticipated debut was by Quebec superstar stage director Robert Lepage, whose Le confessionnal (The
confessional) opened the Directors' Fortnight program at the Cannes Film Festival. Ingenious, complex, and ambitious, Le
confessionnal is psychological drama set against the backdrop of Alfred Hitchcock shooting his 1953 film noir I Confess in Quebec City.
Lothaire Bluteau stars as an artist who helps his adopted brother unravel the mystery of his birth. Jockeying between two time
frames, Lepage displays the visual sleight of hand that distinguishes his stage work. His controlled direction leaves a cold impression,
but the brilliance of the film, which received 12 Genie nominations, is undeniable. He made many more movies since and won many
Internationally, Quebec director Robert Lepage, known for his dreamlike, highly visual collective theater, attained international renown
this year with his production of a A Midsummer Night's Dream at the National Theatre in London. The entire play took place in a pit
filled with mud and was instantly in demand in Japan and throughout Europe.
Quebec's Robert Lepage continued to create some of the most innovative visual theater in the world, presenting Needles and Opium, a
one-man show he wrote, directed, and performed, at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Among festivals, World Stage, a biennial
Toronto event, scored record attendance with a program that included Needles and Opium, a one-man show about Jean Cocteau and
Miles Davis written and performed by Quebec director Robert Lepage.
In 1993, he once again expressed his interest for music when he staged Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour, which was presented
around the world. That same year, he was very much in demand by various theaters around the world. For example, he staged
Macbeth and The Tempest in Japanese versions at the Tokyo Globe. The following year, Stockholm welcomed him for the set
designing and staging of August Strindberg's A Dreamplay.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Jacques Godbout
(Novels, Films) (Montréal, 1933 - )
After completing an MA in French literature at the University of Montreal, Jacques Godbout taught for several
years at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. On returning to Canada in 1957, he worked in advertising before
joining the National Film Board as a writer in the French department. In 1961, he directed his first documentary
short and he has been an NFB filmmaker ever since. In all, he has directed some 30 films, including four
dramatic features.
Godbout is an equally prolific author, having published numerous essays, novels and poetry collections, written
radio dramas for Radio-Canada and France's national network, and contributed to a number of periodicals,
including Parti pris, Les Lettres françaises, Maclean's, Les Nouvelles littéraires and L'Actualité, and newspapers
such as Le Jour and Le Devoir.
Godbout’s witty and urbane novels Une histoire américaine (1986; An American Story, 1988) and Le temps des
Galarneau (1994; The Golden Galarneaus, 1995) document the shift in attitudes and trends regarding language,
politics, and consumer society.
Novelist Jacques Godbout was convinced that French Canadians were first of all a North American species,
subject to all the pressures of American society. He concocted a lively and amusing version of Québecois French
to explain the dilemmas created by these pressures in Salut Galarneau! (1967; Hail Galarneau!, 1970).
In Jacques Godbout's Une histoire américaine, the protagonist, a communications expert named Gregory
Francoeur, accepts an invitation to deliver a series of talks at Berkeley on the subject of Quebec within Canada.
An incurable dreamer, Francoeur presents a journal within the novel, and his California is far from paradise.
One of the most arresting of the late 1981 novels was Jacques Godbout's allegory of Quebec political life, Les
Têtes à Papineau. It tells of a man with two heads, one speaking English and the other French, and of the
operation to separate them.
Godbout was awarded the Prix Duvernay by the St Jean Baptiste Sociey for the body of his literary work in 1972,
the Prix Belgique-Canada in 1978 and the Prix du Québec (Athanase-David) in 1985. He also received an
honorary EUROFIPA award at the 7th International Audiovisual Program Festival in Cannes in 1994.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Gabrielle Roy (Novels)
(Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, 1909-1983)
Gabrielle Roy was a Canadian novelist, a short-story writer and a journalist. Her first novel, Bonheur d’occasion (1945; The Tin Flute,
1947), broke new ground in its depiction of urban life in French-speaking Canada. Roy was renowned for her poetic style as well as
her compassion for her characters, who range from the humble urban working class to the Ukrainian immigrants who settled the
prairies of western Canada.
Roy’s first novel, Bonheur d’occasion, is considered a masterpiece of social realism. Unlike most preceding Québec novels, which
depicted rural settings and simple country folk, Bonheur d’occasion innovatively portrayed the urban environment of Montréal and its
working-class neighborhood, Saint-Henri, during World War II (1939-1945). The novel features concerns that preoccupied Roy
throughout her career, such as the misery of the homeless, the poverty of the working class, and the inequity of women’s social
position. As her other works do, the novel conceives of life as a voyage of discovery and self-realization. Bonheur d’occasion became
the first Canadian novel to win the Prix Fémina, a major French literary award. Roy’s other major urban novel is Alexandre Chenevert
(1954; The Cashier, 1955). It features a common man’s struggle with life in modern society, alienated in a large city and surrounded
by seemingly constant news reports of disaster and plight.
Most of Roy’s other major works are based on her experiences growing up and working as a teacher on the Manitoba prairies. These
books include the story collections La petite poule d’eau (1950; Where Nests the Water Hen, 1951), Rue Deschambault (1955; Street
of Riches, 1957), La route d’Altamont (1966; The Road past Altamont, 1966), and Ces enfants de ma vie (1977; Children of My Heart,
1979). Two other works, the novel La montagne secrete (1961; The Hidden Mountain, 1962) and the story collection La rivière sans
repos (1970; Windflower, 1970), are set in the Canadian Arctic. Her autobiography, La détresse et l’enchantement (1984;
Enchantment and Sorrow, 1987), was published after her death. Roy received three Governor General’s Literary Awards, for the
English translations of Bonheur d’occasion and Rue Deschambault and for Ces enfants de ma vie.
Gabrielle Roy undertakes psychological drama of a different kind in Un jardin au bout du monde, which explores the consciousness of
a Quebec woman as well as of generations of immigrants to Quebec. La route d'Altamont (The Road Past Altamont) displayed a
nostalgic sadness in four loosely connected sketches dealing with growing up and growing old. Street of Riches, a quietly moving
study, partly autobiographical, of the awakening sensibilities of a French-Canadian girl growing up in the suburbs of Winnipeg.
Significantly, all the novels written in French during the year 1955 deal with the problems of guilt or sin faced by the French-Canadian
who strives for individual freedom. Gabrielle Roy's Alexandre Chenevert is a tender and sensitive analysis of the attempts of a fearridden little clerk to escape from the meaningless repetitions of urban drudgery and from the inhumanities of a narrow religion. This is
accomplished through humility, a tender pity for the sufferings of humanity, and a love for the beauties of nature. Roy heralded a new
phase in French Canadian life and its reflection in literature. Henceforth, with the rapidly expanding city of Montréal as the nucleus for
a new literary culture, French Canadian writers would be preoccupied with the problems of urbanization.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Marie-Claire Blais
(Québec, October 1939 - )
Marie-Claire Blais published her first novel, La Belle Bête, at the age of 20. It is not as much about her native Québec Province as
about a family inhabiting a somber landscape shut off from other people and from love. After winning a bursary from the
Gugenheim Foundation in the United States, Marie-Claire Blais wrote Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel in 1965, which was widely
circulated at an astonishing speed. Like her other works, it is a bleak story of people locked in their own degraded, poverty-stricken
worlds. An author of plays and poetry, Blais used dramatic and poetic techniques in the novella Le jour est noir (1962; The Day Is
Dark,1967). A more specifically French-Canadian setting, however, forms the background of St. Lawrence Blues (1973; trans.
More than 20 novels, five plays, and collections of poetry which appeared at that time in France and in Quebec have been translated
into English. Just to name a few at random, there are: Tête blanche (1980); L'Insoumise (1966); David Sterne (1967); Vivre! Vivre!
(1969); Pierre (1986); L'Ange de la solitude (1989); and Un Jardin dans la tempête (1990). Her most recent novel, Soifs, appeared
in 1995.
Marie-Claire Blais was the recipient of many awards, such as the Prix de la langue française for La Belle Bête (1961), the Prix
France-Québec and the Governor General's Award for Les Manuscrits de Pauline Archange (1969) and Le Sourd dans la ville (1979),
the Prix Belgique-Canada in 1976, and the Prix Athanase-David in 1982 for all her works, and the Prix de l'Académie française for
Visions d'Anna (1983). In 1993, she was elected member of the Académie royale de langue et de littérature françaises de Belgique.
In Quebec fiction, Marie-Claire Blais published the third volume in her sequence about the childhood and adolescence of Pauline
Archange. Les apparences is marked by the same sensitivity that is evident in the earlier volumes, and there is a refreshing absence
of Mlle Blais' customary Gothic horror.
Marie-Claire Blais' David Sterne was a Dostoevskian examination of three young men who commit suicide.
Marie-Claire Blais, in works such as Une saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (1965; A Season in the Life of Emmanuel, 1966), showed
the emptiness and hypocrisy of the traditional values that had previously allowed French Canadians to maintain their separateness;
she particularly portrays the way these values often victimized women and children.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Antonine Maillet
(Bouctouche, New-Brunswick, 1929 - )
Novelist and playwright Antonine Maillet attended school in Bouctouche, Memramcook, Moncton, Montreal and Quebec City. Since
her first novel in 1958, Maillet has had 30 or so works published. In the course of her career, she has won many literary awards,
including the Prix Champlain for Pointe-aux-Coques (1958), the Governor General's award for Don l'Orignal (1972), le Grand Prix
de la Ville de Montréal for Mariaagélas (1973), and the much coveted Prix Goncourt for Pélagie-la-Charrette (1979).
From the start of her career, Antonine Maillet has drawn on Acadian history, language, folklore, traditions and geographical
features -- in short, the uniqueness of her native region provides material and inspiration for her writing. Several of her works are
peopled by vividly portrayed characters who share the same surroundings: an imaginary place reminiscent of Bouctouche, where
she was born. Her fervent attachment to Acadia and its people has contributed greatly to the development of a thriving culture in
the last few decades. However, as she pointed out recently at the Acadian World Congress, her people still have a long way to go:
"Acadia needs to say what it is: that it is part of Canada, that it is part of America, that it is part of the international fraternity of
Francophone nations, and that it therefore has its own place in the world -- a place that is unique, just as each of the world's
peoples is unique."
"...the French folks is the folks fr'm France, les Français de France. 'n fer that matter, we're even less Français de France than
we're Americans. We're more like French Canadians, they told us. Well, that ain't true either. French Canadians are those that live
in Québec. They call'em Canayens or Québécois. But how can we be Québécois if we ain't livin in Québec? Fer the love of Christ,
where do we live? ...In Acadie, we was told, 'n we're supposed to be Acadjens. So, that's the way we decided to answer the
question 'bout nationality: Acadjens we says to them. Now then, we can be sure of one thing, we're the only ones to have that
Antonine Maillet's Mariaagelas recalls smuggling in the region of Acadia during Prohibition.
Evangeline deusse (1975; Evangeline the Second, 1987) explore Acadian folklore and history.
Maillet is best known for her dramatic monologue La sagouine (1971; translated 1979) and a series of novels and plays based on
Acadian life and history, including Pélagie-la-Charrette (1979; Pélagie: The Return to a Homeland, 1982). Pélagie-la-Charrette was
the first work written outside of France to win the Prix Goncourt, France's prestigious literary award. The novel is about the
Acadians' return from exile in Louisiana.
Notable books for children included Antonine Maillet's delightful Christophe Cartier de la Noisette dit Nounours.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Émile Nelligan
(Poetry) (Montréal, 1879 - 1941)
Émile Nelligan, an outstanding turn-of-the-century writer, is French-Canada’s most beloved and admired poet. A romantic figure
whose literary career was tragically short-lived, Nelligan ushered French-Canadian poetry into the modern age. Nelligan was born in
Montreal on Christmas Eve, 1879. His parents, who had a troubled marriage, embodied the two solitudes of Canada. His father, David
Nelligan, was an Irish immigrant with little appreciation for French-Canadian language or culture. His work as a postal inspector
necessitated frequent absences from home. Nelligan’s mother, Émilie-Amanda Hudon Nelligan was a French Canadian who was
musically talented, proud of her culture and heritage and a devout Catholic.
In 1897, against his parents’ wishes, he abandoned his studies to pursue his poetry. He was actively writing verses and could envision
no other profession for himself. In 1896, he met his mentor and future editor, the priest Eugène Seers (later called Louis Dantin) and
Joseph Melançon, who introduced Nelligan to the literary circles of Montreal. Under the pseudonym Émile Kovar, he published his first
poem "Rêve fantasque" in Le Samedi (June 13, 1896). By September of that year, eight more of his poems had appeared in local
papers and journals such as Le Monde Illustré and Alliance nationale. Nelligan’s poems showed a remarkable sensitivity to the power
of words and the music of language and were tinged with melancholy and nostalgia. By 1897, poems appeared for the first time in Le
Monde Illustré and La Patrie under his real name, which was sometimes modified to "Nellighan" or "Nelighan".
In 1899, at the age of 19, he was confined to a mental asylum, where he lived until his death in 1941. During his years of
confinement, Nelligan continued to write, but he had lost the capacity to create a body of work and spent his time rewriting his earlier
poems from memory.
Émile Nelligan’s body of work comprises some 170 poems, sonnets, rondels, songs and prose poems. Astonishingly, these were all
written when he was between the ages of 16 and 19. Nelligan had published only 23 poems before his incarceration, but in 1904,
thanks to the diligence of his friend Louis Dantin and with his mother’s help, 107 poems were published in Émile Nelligan et son
oeuvre with a preface by Dantin.
Émile Nelligan was a pioneer of French-Canadian literature. In his poetry, he threw off the time-worn subjects of patriotism and
fidelity to the land that had so occupied his literary predecessors, and explored the symbolic possibilities of language and his own,
dark, inner landscape. Although his writing was influenced by symbolist poets such as Charles-Pierre Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud
and English-language writers such as Lord Byron and Edgar Allan Poe, Nelligan created a poetic sensibility that was uniquely his own.
In so doing, he struck a chord of recognition with French Canada that remains to this day, for his work continues to be celebrated. His
poems have been translated into English, and he is the subject of numerous colloquia, films, novels, poems, and a ballet and an
opera. A hundred years after he created his last poem, the poetic vision of Émile Nelligan endures.
Unlike other French Canadian writers of the 19th century, Nelligan makes no references to history or politics. However, critics have
interpreted the dreams and frustrations he expresses as symbolic of the mood of the French Canadian people at the end of the
century: stifled by the control and political domination of the Roman Catholic Church.
Many of his poems can be found here: http://poesie.webnet.fr/auteurs/nelligan.html
Roland Michel Tremblay
Hubert Aquin
(Essays, Novels)
(Montréal, 1929 -1977)
Hubert Aquin was, briefly, Quebec's great warrior-intellectual. His life was short and intense: between the late '50s and his
suicide in 1977 he wore the hats of novelist, essayist, terrorist agitator, politician, prisoner, film producer, literary editor, and
stockbroker. After receiving his degree in philosophy from the University of Montreal, he spent three years at the Institute of
Political Studies in Paris, then returned to the University of Montreal, where he studied for one year at the Institute of History.
Aquin worked as a radio and television producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Public Affairs division in Montreal
and won many awards for his work as a director with the National Film Board.
Next Episode, Aquin's first novel, is a brilliant offshoot of its author's early political career. Written while Aquin was being held at
a Montreal psychiatric hospital, pending trial for the possession of a stolen automobile and an automatic firearm, Next Episode is
narrated by a young revolutionary, an Aquin double who's also imprisoned in a psychiatric institution. In an attempt to while
away the hours, the narrator begins writing a kind of political thriller concerning a Québécois terrorist who, while abroad in
Switzerland, unexpectedly rediscovers his long-lost lover, K., a sort of eternal-feminine figure and personification of the nation
of Quebec. K. instructs the narrator to murder one H. de Heutz, a spy-banker-historian-aristocrat who has apparently been
sending information about radical Québécois bank accounts to the RCMP. The convoluted chase that ensues is a Kafkaesque
exercise in futility, in which the twinned agents pursue one another through a symbol-strewn landscape of cultural memory.
Two factors are likely to keep Next Episode from ever gaining a wide readership in English Canada. Aquin's French is too rich
and lyrical to translate well; the ever-capable Sheila Fischman has produced a workable version of the text, but the florid,
romantic prose of Next Episode will always sound forced in English. Furthermore, this is a book of great political and cultural
specificity. Readers who have never lived in Quebec or are unfamiliar with its history will likely find the most crucial elements of
the novel incomprehensible. Many readers will be able to enjoy the novel's acute deconstruction of the political thriller, but Next
Episode's true fire lies in its nationalist fervour.
In Trou de mémoire, Hubert Aquin used the same amalgam of crime, metaphysics, sex, and politics as in his first novel, with the
same dazzling results.
Hubert Aquin, in Neige noire, illuminates the political context of psychological obsessions.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Louis Hémon
(Brest, France, 1880 - Chapleau, Ontario, 1913)
LOUIS HEMON (1880-1913) was born in Brest in France and began his writing career there, but emigrated first
to London, and then to Quebec, the land with which his name is now indelibly linked (literally, in fact, as maps of
the province show lakes bearing both his name and that of the heroine of his single masterpiece). After studying
for a diplomatic career, he went to Canada in 1911 and worked as a farm laborer near Lac Saint-Jean, Québec,
while gathering material for his major work, Maria Chapdelaine (1914; trans. 1921). He lived less than two years
in rural Quebec, long enough to write Maria Chapdelaine, but not long enough to see its publication. He and a
companion were killed by a train while walking along tracks in a remote part of Ontario.
The novel saw publication first in Paris, as a serial in Le Temps. It attracted no particular notice at first, but in
1921 an influential French literary critic revived it as the initial number of a popular series of books, and it
became a best-seller both in France and in Quebec. A 1921 English translation, by W. H. Blake, appeared almost
simultaneously, and likewise achieved popular success.
Three of Hémon's earlier novels and a travel journal were published posthumously.
In fiction, the novel of the land reached the level of great art with the appearance of Louis Hémon’s novel Maria
Chapdelaine (1914; translated 1921). An evocation of the harsh but exalting life of French Canadian settlers and
of their struggle to keep their culture alive in a hostile Anglo-Saxon environment, the novel became a model for
French Canadian writers.
In French fiction, the regional classicism of Louis Hémon's Maria Chapdelaine had given way to sociological and
psychological studies of the clash between parochial traditionalism and various forms of liberalism and progress.
You can read it in English here: http://www.litrix.com/mchap/mchap001.htm
Roland Michel Tremblay
Denys Arcand
(Deschambault, Québec, 1941 -)
(Screenwriter, Movies)
(Brother of Gabriel Arcand, Famous Québec actor)
Denys Arcand was born on June 25, 1941 in Deschambault, a village about twenty-five miles southwest of Quebec City. He is known
for his witty, irreverent films against the pervasive influences of the Roman Catholic clergy and the English Canadian establishment.
Arcand made his first films in the 1960s during the Quiet Revolution, a period of renewed French Canadian nationalism and cultural
identity. For many years Arcand directed films with strong political messages and struggled to find a broad audience. He came to
international attention in the 1980s after some of his feature films won important awards at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
The French Canadian film director Denys Arcand had been making movies for twenty-five years when, in 1986, he became an
"overnight sensation" with his witty satire on sex and society called The Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l’Empire
Américain). The critical and commercial success of that film thrust Arcand into the international spotlight and infused new life into his
flagging career. Despite the academic pomposity of its title, the film is a witty comedy of manners about eight faculty members—four
male and four female—who gather for a dinner party and discuss sex, history, and the relationship between men and women.
Coincidentally, one of the female characters has written a book theorizing that, as civilizations approach collapse, people become
more concerned about their own gratification than about their social responsibilities. All but one of the characters in the film seem
intent on proving that theory correct.
Because Arcand had been careful to avoid references to Quebec or Canada, Le declin de l'empire Americain found a much broader
audience than anything he had done before. Made for a modest $1.8 million, Le declin grossed more than $30 million, won several
major international awards, and took nine Genies, the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars. But even more gratifying for Arcand was
the announcement in early 1987 that the film had been nominated for an Oscar in the best-foreign-language-film category, marking
the first time that a Canadian feature film had been honored in that way.
Resisting the obvious temptation to make "Decline II," he began work on a totally different kind of film called Jesus of Montreal. The
story involves a young actor named Daniel who is hired by the priest of a Montreal church to revitalize its annual passion play. The
revised drama, which suggests that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier, is a popular success, but church officials find it
offensive and want it stopped. When Daniel, whose actions in many ways begin to parallel those of Jesus, resists, conflict results.
Jesus de Montreal made its debut at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, where it captured the Special Jury Prize and created a sensation.
The film went on to win twelve Genie awards, including those for best picture, best director, and best original screenplay, and an
Academy Award nomination as the year's best foreign film. To Arcand's astonishment, the film also won the Ecumenical Prize from
the Organisation Catholique Internationale du Cinema et de l'Audiovisuel. The success of Jesus de Montreal fortified Arcand's position
as an international talent as gifted in directing commercial films as he had been with documentaries. It also led some observers to
conclude that filmmaking in Quebec had at last come of age. As some critic noted, "Arcand's career mirrors Quebec's cultural
evolution over the past two decades. His focus has shifted from the national to the personal, from political issues of oppression to
sexual traumas of affluence. He appears to relish the paradox of his position."
Roland Michel Tremblay
Roland Michel Tremblay
French Canadian author published in Paris
I have to say that Québec is not known for having produced many intellectual authors and that
might explain why its literature stays very local. Philosophy is virtually non-existent and metaphysic
is lost on the readers. I am that sort of author who loves metaphysic and complicated books, that
do not give all the answers to the reader and ask from the readers a certain investment.
My first books were so difficult to understand that it was hard for me to find anyone around willing
to read them. “The Revolution” is still a mystery to most and my guess is that if it were to be
studied in a University, it would become a very interesting book as there are a lot of different
interpretations at many levels and is not necessarily taking a point of view. Even referents are not
present, the reader never really know what is talked about in the book. For this reason it has been
very difficult for me to find a publisher in Québec, they simply did not have the market for this sort
of books. Only a French publisher could publish me, and even “The Revolution” did not find a
publisher in France.
I was lucky the “Eclecticism” was published but I have to say that it is my least popular book, even
though I feel it is my best work. In time I started to write simpler books like “Denfert-Rochereau”
and “The Anarchist”. The scandalous value of “The Anarchist” was enough to get me published and
it is the book that opened me the doors of my publisher in Paris. It has also been the most popular
book that my publisher printed. “Waiting for Paris” has only one level of comprehension as it is my
diary turned into a novel (as many authors do without admitting it). I have to say that the uncut
original version that contains 650 more pages than the published version is the most popular page
on my website. The diary is more interesting than the novel. Now let’s talk about these books
Roland Michel Tremblay
Early work – Short Stories
Since I was 10 years old I have been writing books, science reports and articles. Over the years I have written 16 books that I feel
could be published. In order to present this huge amount of work - accomplished in parallel to work and studies - I have built from
scratch four very popular websites. You will notice that the French websites are much more developed than the English ones.
Note: despite the title I am not an Anarchist nor I have any link with any anarchist organization. This is about writing a different
literature. The Crowned Anarchist is a book about a Roman king from the late French writer Antonin Artaud.
La Chanson de Roland Michel (The Song of Roland Michel)
Vortex was my first book ever written when I was 14-15 years old. It was science fiction, a book that you are the hero and
need to follow the numbers of the paragraphs and choose the story you prefer as a reader. At one point you went into a vortex
or wormhole and found yourself on the other side of the galaxy. Funny enough, today I have been working on that very topic a
lot for TV and Films. The book is now lost.
My literary adventure started with a pastiche of the Song of Roland, the first ever French book known to exist with a medieval
flavor, and was called the Song of Roland Michel. This first book was about my own existential crisis (recurring topic in all my
work) and the construction of a phantasmagoric and marvelous universe characteristic of the problems connected to childhood.
I thought I lost every copies of this book but I recently found one remaining copy in Ottawa.
Verts et Vers les Champs (Green and Towards the Fields)
The Voice of the Truth is composed of three parts. The first, Through The Green Fields, is characterized by short stories
concerning truth and liberty. It was inspired by the style of Tristan and Iseut, the modern translation by Joseph Bédier. The
second part is named Letters of R.M. and discusses the difficulty in accepting learned values. Finally, the third part, The Voice
of the Truth, is the Four Pillars that symbolize the voice of the authority, a truth that listeners will hear, interpret, then will
forget. Nevertheless, this divided truth will become the essence of all society.
General comments: I was very close to my first books. They meant the world to me, they were my own new universe I
created for myself. I kept reading them over and over again and could recite them by heart. I thought they were the best
things ever written and I was also convinced that they were going to be published within a month of being finished. Of course,
they are still unpublished. I was 17 years old and would have certainly committed suicide if I had known at the time that they
would never be published and that I would never become a respected author.
Roland Michel Tremblay
• Antoine/Antonia
Through its poetry and its musical parts, this play exists in two versions: Antoine and
Antonia. The first version redefines the traditional family in a religious way in an incarnate
drama by a cast that seems dead in appearance while they ask only to live. This represents
the way some marginal people live. Antonia is a rather light and comic adaptation of
The play is very atmospheric and uses lightning, music resembling the CD Songs of Faith
and Devotion of Depeche Mode and also a film of the ghost village of Val-Jalbert in the
background showing mysterious images of death and desperation.
• La Légende de Val-Jalbert
(The Legend of Val-Jalbert)
My plays are inspired by an abandoned village around St. John's Lake in Quebec. The
Legend of Val-Jalbert is an historical reconstitution of a ghost village. A true haunted village
legend is then posed, a young couple dies in a cavern and comes back to haunt the village.
This legend actualizes the closing down of one factory of the past to the closing down of all
the industries based in the region of Saguenay-St. John's Lake of today.
The play was going to be done at the village and the cast were going to be the people
working in the restaurant, on which the personalities of the characters were based on.
Unfortunately the company running the restaurant lost its contract and the play was never
Roland Michel Tremblay
The Philosophical Essays
La Révolution
The Revolution, by its poetical prose, shows the progress of René in his love and social success that will take him to a
larger finality: the discovery of the end of the ocean. He abandons therefore his fellows to embark on the ocean to the
discovery of his finality. He emits hypotheses on the Universe, but ignores even the circularity of the Earth. Nevertheless
he will discover the end of the ocean by his own alienation. He is then capable of creating his own insular universe, to
make the revolution, to become a God and establish his new humanity. The Revolution shows how, as humans, we try to
develop a huge philosophy without being able to see what the Universe is really about.
(The Revolution) Essay
(Eclecticism) Essay
The Eclecticism is a philosophical essay that follows no program or precise plan. One learns there to reconsider the
universe in its entirety until the points of reference exist no more. It is an absolute questioning of everything, where
time, space and thought interact to create a world of ideas more real than the daily life. With for creation our own
imagination, each of us is the God of his/her own universe. We can control it as long as we learn to become more aware
of it.
The Eclecticism was born out of a saturation of everything. It was written in London and partly in Dublin. The London life
is described, the life in the sales of whisky from Scotland to Ireland. The book is also about the madness of this world.
The subject is that of a voyage in the universe and in one’s brain. An absolute assessment of all philosophies and
currents of thoughts which the planet carried since the last millennia. An assessment to celebrate the new philosophy of
the next millennium: The Eclecticism. The Eclecticism is the death of ideas, concepts, philosophies, science, religions,
policies, the death of all and nothing.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Denfert-Rochereau is a novel that tells the story of a Paris in destruction by the war in parallel of the end of
three villages of the Saguenay-St. John Lake in Québec. A young man enclosed in the catacombs of Paris
attempt to reach the plenitude by the discovery of God. While he knows that he is going to die soon, he lives
nevertheless a rebirth that coincides with the birth of some villages very far from him. But some people will
make him believe that above Paris is on fire, thus its visions will relate to the destruction of villages of ValJalbert (desertion), St. Jean Vianney (unstable land) and St. Cyriac (flood).
It is through the history of his ancestors that the young man will understand the multiple segregations that form
in collectivities, small secret societies of knowledge that no one can easily penetrate. Like for example
universities, professional associations, religious movements, philosophy, politics, justice and even cooking. The
novel shows that the initiation is never happening without losing some liberties and a loss of identity. It is a
Novel of initiation, at the limit of the esoteric plane that describes the universe of a religious sect by
demonstrating that the society in general is functioning on the same principles.
The religious sects. How are we attracted to them? Why do we remain there even in the most gregarious
conditions? Why do we put our life into question even when we have heard all the horror stories? A mystical
philosophy, a hidden knowledge attracts us and keeps us there. René is locked up underground at DenfertRochereau. What is he doing there? He tries to reach inner peace by the discovery of God. He hears the words of
the Master, he will be initiated to the hidden world, a mystical philosophy that only the initiates know about. His
doubts, his misery, his hopes, are just the beginning of his training. Novel of initiation in the style of Virgile’s
Eneide and Homer’s Odyssey.
Denfert-Rochereau was written while I was studying in Paris and exploring the tunnels leading to the catacombs
under Montsouris Park. This is where I got the idea for the novel. It was my first real novel or normal type of
book. It was painful to write near the end as it did not come from the heart, I was forcing myself to write it. It
did work and I am very proud of the book, but it was not something poetic that I could read 100 times and recite
by heart. I was born to write, but to write what I really feel is right. Writing for me is a need and it is only great
when it comes naturally. All my previous books until Denfert-Rochereau came to me naturally and writing them
was no effort.
I did discover new things though with the novel: I could still pass along philosophies and ideas via my characters
and the situations. Moreover, I did not need to endorse these opinions even though I could defend and attack at
the same time many important themes and points of view.
Roland Michel Tremblay
(The Anarchist) Black Poetry
Black poetry, if we can define The Anarchist like that. Scandalous book, comic in certain parts, that resumes the
traditional speech of the No Future without sinking nevertheless in the dullness. Can we still move masses? Can
we again motivate a generation to accomplish some concrete things? Can we still scandalize people and create a
legend? If it is necessary to describe a generation, we should not go there through several different paths, it is
necessary to aim at the target. What is anarchic in fact is perhaps only the common reality to all. Otherwise, it is
where the anarchy begins.
I tried to be scandalous with that book, probably in order to be published and it worked. It still came from the
heart though, I really felt the need to write it. In all it is a big denunciation of many things, mostly of a way of
life even if it is not necessarily about capitalism. The thing is, it is very difficult to be scandalous today because
everything has already been done and it takes a lot to scandalize people. I guess an old grand-ma could still be
offended by everything, but even the grand-mothers who read the Anarchist deeply appreciated it. I did get a lot
of insults via emails though, more about The Eclecticism than the Anarchist because it was said it was inspiring
people to commit suicide. It is true that death and existential crisis are very central to my work. Some people
were disgusted by the Anarchist and have thrown it in the bin. So it is still possible to command a reaction from
the reader. To get them out of their mind to act out of rage and spontaneity. Most truly appreciated The
Anarchist and saw in it something new, something that has never been done before. The question is: is it
poetry? I called it black poetry with a question mark at the end.
The Anarchist is my only book that has been translated in English. My friend Sheila MacLeod just finished the
translation and I have put it online on my website less than two weeks ago. I am supposed to send it to an agent
in London but I did not have the chance to read it one last time yet. Something positive can be said about
translations, sometimes it can be better than the original. Sheila MacLeod is a well known Scottish author who
won many awards especially the New York Times Book of the Year award for her book The Art of Starvation. Her
British English is impeccable and gave to The Anarchist a credibility that I could not find in the French version. It
now sounds like a great British work of art.
Roland Michel Tremblay
The Anarchist
The Collective Soul Is
No Faith, No Hope
I’m Corrupt
Being Nothing
Let's Go To Mass On
Your Children Are All
Empty Vessels
The Anarchist
Have a Nice Cup of Tea, My
I’ll Tell What’s Normal
I Fucked the Town Slag
It’s Par for the Course in
New York
Drink Up Your Whisky, Old
Girl, and Cheat Death
We’re Not a Lost
The Alchemist
I Strike and I Kill
Outside Buckingham Palace
Flush it all Down the Loo
Stop Puking all Over Me!
God Loves Me!
My Life Is Ruled By Sex
Poor Little Thing
My Head’s About to
I Pissed on the Sorbonne
I Love My Sugar Daddy
In the Depths of the Marais
Church Street
What I‘ve Found in the
Holy Bible of the Hotel
I’m Your Leader
I’m Unreachable
I’m Irresponsible
My Mea Culpa
My Devolution, My
Throw Me Away After Use
Step Into My Hell
Come With Me and I’ll
Show You The World
For God's Sake, I Have a
Life to Live!
I Went to the Chapel of
The Existential Crisis
The Bloody Meat
The Hen-House
Beef Curtains
I Will Not Pose Naked for
Your Beautiful Eyes
Mummy, Come Get Your
The Annoying Guy
Put the Tourists to Death!
You Want an Orgy?
Take Me to See Ireland
I Float in Space
Is it My Fault If I Don’t Get
a Hard On?
Flee, Flee, Flee
I’m Going to Shoot Myself
Your Flowers Smell Like
Christ Decomposing!
You're So Sweet!
I Go from One Extreme to
the Other
Go Fuck Yourself, You Ass
In the Heart of London
I Can't Endure You, But I
Would Sleep With You
You Raped Me
You are a Fucking Bitch
I am Incompatible with Life
There are no Noble
There is Nothing Worse
than People with Principles
The Policy of Truth
Go Wash Yourself!
Sex? Here are the
Contracts to Sign...
Stop Saying that I am a
Naughty Boy!
Being Extremist
The Annoying Big Pigs
From the Moment That...
Close all my Accounts!
You Old Skin, Get a Life!
Berlin - New York Via
You Flushed Me, That
Fucked Me Up Completely
I'm Connected
Out of My Sight, Out of My
Love is Beautiful
I Have No Taste
I Finally Found Happiness
No Pity for the Rejects
I am Just a Pretty Face
Fucking Immigrant
26 Cameras Supervise Me
When I Shit
A Big Bomb In There...
Too Many Stupid People
Around Me
I'll Kick Your Fuckin’ Head
You're the New Love of My
This Evening on Oxford
Bitchy Woman
Fucked Up
A Fat Dog's Cunt, Mother of
My Child?
Is It Your Wife Flat on Her
Ass on The Floor?
Revenge Always Comes
Marianne Faithfull In
Russell Square
Too Many Lovers In My Life
Crabs, Crabs, Crabs Again
To Die In Peace
I am Making History
I am God
Roland Michel Tremblay
Diary turned into a novel
• L’Attente de Paris
Waiting for Paris is the fictionalized traditional version of the Underground. The novel is to the third person
singular and presents a young man fond of two women. Between Ottawa, Paris and New York, he has to make
choices and to attempt to realize his dreams.
Our hero lives only for Paris and will finally be parachuted directly between the walls of the Sorbonne in Paris.
However the cultural shock is very big. The dreams are so simple, an ideal which did not suspect the obstacles and
the bureaucracy of the governments and the universities. But that builds beautiful stories, especially when
emotion, irony and the sarcastic remarks are on the menu. Waiting for Paris was written in an honest and direct
style, it is the most accessible book of the author. Only one level of interpretation (almost) and sometimes
surprisingly funny. An instantaneous book written before and after the departure of the author for Paris.
• Underground
(Waiting for Paris, Novel)
Underground is mostly the life of the author, but very amplified. It concerns a young student who finishes his
studies at the University of Ottawa and who dreams of Paris and New York. He will attempt to benefit from the
social security services after a summer job that proved disastrous, finally he will find himself in Paris continuing his
studies. The interest of the book is in the style in which it is written.
General Comments
Underground created quite a sensation in Paris when I was writing this 1000 pages book instead of working on my
Masters degree at la Sorbonne. I would go in Le Jardin du Luxembourg every day, panicking because I was not in
class or studying, then I would write for hours all my suffering and existential crisis. The whole House of Canadian
Students where I was living was reading bits and pieces of it on certain nights. My fellow students also took a
great interest in it, they even presented me to great publishers like Gallimard and Le Seuil which of course did not
publish me. For the first time I felt admired, I was considered like a real author and it was an incredible feeling. In
Paris everyone wants to write a book before they are 30 and soon realizes that it is quite difficult if not impossible.
So they truly admire someone who can write so many books. It was a dream come true even though I was far
from being published. It is also the time that I met the great author Anne Hébert, so Paris was magical.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Other diaries that will become novels
• Mind the Gap and No Way Out
Second and Third parts of the trilogy of autobiographical fictionalized novel. This time it is the universe of Toronto, New
York, London and Brussels that is depicted. Adventures of a youth in the bars, pubs, clubs, within different
relationships and the alcohol. The idea is to create the myth of the miserable and poor author in a handwriting that
grips. Emotions, sensitivity, philosophy of life, everything is there, the author can die at the end of his work.
• Les Éléments Urbains Londoniens
(London Urban Elements)
The meaning of London urban life considered in parallel of the life in the countryside in France, especially along the
Canal du Midi. The book also tells the adventures of the author while travelling throughout Europe because of his
conferences: Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Cannes, Rome and Geneva. Is there a meaning to this existence and the
life we have built as for ourselves as a society?
• General comments
Diaries are always refused by publishers who never read them anyway unless you are a political figure or a celebrity.
Too many people writes a diary and feels it is good enough to be published, of course it is not and would never sell. So
the trick for me was to live a life so interesting that the diary would become as good as a novel. I also needed to write
it with a style sufficiently interesting and funny that publishers would want to publish it. It was not easy and many
sacrifices had to be done in order for this to come true. I abandoned my studies in Ottawa (Law) and Paris (Literature),
I moved to Europe, I made huge life decisions like moving to New York in split seconds and never regretted it. You are
either someone who will reach its goals and will sacrifice everything for them, or you are not and might succeed at
being a good lawyer without ever making your dreams come true. I want to die and be proud of my achievements, not
sad that I have not fulfill my dreams. So I am continuing my life as a crazy man and I am writing it all down for
posterity. Of course, writing a diary is also therapeutic, it is a way to understand myself and to help me to make
decisions about my future.
Roland Michel Tremblay
General comments
Now I only live for science fiction and Theoretical Physics, as if these were the answer to my existential crisis. I need to find
out what is the universe and to understand the purpose of human kind in this universe. I believe that philosophy leads to
theoretical physics and the opposite is also true. I have been working hard on understanding the universe we live in and why
we exist, I am not certain if I am any close to the truth.
• The Box
(Novel in French)
Novel with an anti-hero who accomplishes himself in the universe of drugs, sex and clubs of London. The complete story of the
immorality is passing by. Back rooms of bars, sexual abuse, exploitation, the grip without mercy of a rich owner of a café
called The Box located on the Seven Dials at Covent Garden. A sad demonstration of human limits, but equally the creation of
a modern boiling London. A generation without future that lives without God, without pity, drugged to full capacity for days
without seeing their own existence. The day of the awakening is death. Until, at least, Raymond becomes schizophrenic and
alienated. That makes it possible for him to transpose his mind to another corresponding life in a parallel universe (so he
thinks anyway). Therefore Raymond is finding himself in a situation where he can change his universe, but he will have to
learn to change his own personality if he wants to maintain together the different elements of his existence.
• The Relative Universe
(Novel in English)
A group of scientists sends a ship with its crew into the very small, reaching the very large on the other side of the galaxy. This
is the implications and the applications of the Shrinking Theory and Universal Relativity. What will it change? What can be
invented considering the theory? Travel in time and very far from here. I am thinking about changing it into a film script
instead of finishing the novel.
• Aux Infinis de l’Univers
(Essay in French)
An essay about the infinities of the Universe, also considering the implications of the theories I have developed. Déjà vu, time
paradoxes, timelines, free will, etc.
• Universal Relativity/Shrinking Theory
(Essay in English)
New theory of the Universe. How Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and the Superstring Theory can
change the Universe conceptualized by Einstein and Newton. Going faster than the speed of light, shrinking instead of covering
a distance, the configuration of the universe being relative to the point of view.
Roland Michel Tremblay
Sci-Fi TV Series and Films
• Black Hole High (Strange Days at Blake Holsey High)
(Series on NBC, Discovery Network, Fireworks Entertainment)
Finally the breakthrough. My theories attracted the attention of a famous Executive Producer in Hollywood and I started to
work on a big series. As a Science Consultant and Technical Adviser, I almost became a Story Editor and many of my ideas
made it to the scripts, sometimes whole episodes are my own suggestions. I worked very hard and presented many
scripts ideas that might be made and written by me if a second season is confirmed.
Reports can be read online: www.crownedanarchist.com/scifi.htm
Other related URLs: http://familyscreenscene.allinfoabout.com/tv/blackhole.html
• Prometheus Rising
(Hollywood Film) (Nov 2002 to Jan 2003)
Then it happened again, giving me hope for the future. A science fiction author working on a big script contacted me and
together we developed the whole science underlying the story and a lot of the story itself.
I was the technical adviser to a big budget sci-fi film called Prometheus Rising. It will come out next year in LA. My report
online: www.crownedanarchist.com/paralleluniverses.htm
• First Planet
(April 2002 to October 2002)
(TV series in progress)
The Executive Producers asked me to pitch ideas for new series and films so now I am working at developing ideas that
could make it to the big screen.
The story behind my first idea: "Our existence is due to a temporal paradox and the destruction of an entire galaxy, and
our future depends on the survival of many side scales universes.”
Roland Michel Tremblay
• Where to find me on the Internet?
 www.crownedanarchist.com (French and English)
 www.themarginal.com (French and English)
 www.idlivre.com/rolandmichel.tremblay (in French only)
• How to contact me?
 44E The Grove, Isleworth, Middlesex, London, TW7 4JF, United Kingdom
 [email protected]
 Tel/Fax: +44 (0)20 8847 5586
• Merci! Vous avez des questions?