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Social Science Cultural


The Many Identities of a Literary Icon

by (author) Joseph Yvon Thériault

translated by Aycha Fleury

Nimbus Publishing
Initial publish date
Jul 2022
Cultural, 19th Century, Social Theory, Poetry
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2022
    List Price

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A thorough exploration of the role of Longfellow's literary icon Évangéline and her role in the North American cultural landscape, available for the first time in English.

The eponymous character of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem, Évangéline, is an Acadian girl searching for her long-lost love, Gabriel, during the Expulsion of the Acadians (1755–1764). Originally published in 1847, Longfellow's poem throws into sharp relief a dark chapter of Canada's history, while also showcasing a strong female character that has left an indelible mark on generations of Acadians, French Canadians, Cajuns, and Creoles.

Examining aspects both historical and literary that led to Évangéline's idolization across countries, cultures, and decades, sociologist Joseph Yvon Thériault presents three versions of the celebrated heroine:Évangéline the American, Évangéline the Acadian, and Évangéline the Cajun. The crux of his narrative seeks to understand if these three distinct identities might be merged, and whether they will survive the effects of globalization.

Passionate and engaging, Évangéline is a postmodern study on the many interpretations of this literary icon, and the melting pot of cultures she has traversed and influenced. Features a colour photo insert.

About the authors

Joseph Yvon Thériault has been studying the challenges of memory and collective identities in societies for more than thirty years, with a particular interest in the Francophonies of America. He is the author of Identity in the Test of Modernity (1995) and Critique of Americanity: Memory and Democracy in Quebec (2005). He is currently a professor of sociology at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Joseph Yvon Thériault's profile page

Aycha Fleury est rédactrice en chef, traductrice, rédactrice, raconteuse d'histoires et politicologue. Elle porte le français comme un gant et l'anglais comme une mitaine et elle aide les histoires à trouver une nouvelle langue pour les abriter et les faire vivre. Elle a pris part à de nombreux évènements de réconciliation avec des communautés autochtones et de sensibilisation sur les violences sexuelles. Elle a écrit et traduit des centaines d?histoires dans les dernières années et elle refuse toujours de devenir trop experte. Et Aycha essaye un peu, chaque jour et un mot à la fois, de participer à un monde plus juste, plus équitable, plus beau...à un monde qui « sonne » mieux. [in English] Aycha Fleury is an editor, translator, writer, storyteller, and political scientist. She wears French like a glove and English like a mitt and helps stories find a new language to shelter them and make them alive. She has participated in numerous reconciliation circles with Indigenous communities and awareness events on sexual violence. She has written and translated hundreds of stories in the last few years and refuses to become too expert. And Aycha tries, every day and one word at a time, to participate in a more just, more equitable, more beautiful world...a world that "sounds" better.

Aycha Fleury's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A great and thorough re-telling of Évangéline the literary icon and her role in the North American cultural landscape.... The author's work is engaging and passionate, concise and thorough and should complement university curriculums, Acadian and Cajun culture buffs and anyone interested in North American cultural studies." —Georgette LeBlanc, Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate

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