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1- Literary Legacies: Le mouvement régionaliste and French-Canadian Folklore in Early Twentieth-Century Quebec – Laura Risk, Université de Montréal

11:30 AM, Sunday 26 May 2019 (2 hours)

This paper historicizes the first commercial performances of traditional music in Quebec, exactly 100 years ago, in the context of contemporaneous literary trends and linguistic debates. The régionaliste literary movement of the early twentieth century constructed French-Canadian identity as rooted in rural lifeways and expressed via vernacular language (Hayward 2006). In the same years, the first generation of French-Canadian folklorists, notably archivist Édouard-Zotique Massicotte and anthropologist Marius Barbeau, organized public performances of traditional singers, instrumentalists, and dancers for commercial purposes. The first of these was in spring 1919 (Barbeau and Massicotte 1920). These performances drew on regionalist tropes, such as the Habitant, or French-Canadian peasant, archetype (Nadeau 2014). While regionalist literature has been productively analyzed in tandem with the visual arts (Boivin, Karel, and Nadeau 2014), the present project adds sound and performance to the analytical mix. Using archival source materials from the Quebec Section of the American Folklore Society, the École littéraire de Montréal, the Société du parler français au Canada, the Société historique de Montréal, and the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal, this paper address two key questions: 1) To what extent did associative circles of writers and artists intersect or overlap with those of folklorists in Quebec in the early twentieth century? 2) How did the writings and activities of the early folklorists influence the writings and activities of French-Canadian authors and artists in the early twentieth century, and vice versa?

Université de Montréal
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