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Performing Arts History & Criticism

Theatre in French Canada

Laying the Foundations 1606-1867

by (author) Leonard Doucette

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1984
History & Criticism, Social History, Canadian, Pre-Confederation (to 1867)
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1984
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It is only recently that historians of the theatre in French Canada have turned their attention to playwrights active before the twentieth century. Their practice had been to trace the roots of theatre to mid-1930s, to the appearance of Father Emile Legault and his troupe, the Compagnons de Saint-Laurent, dismissing what had gone before. In this innovative history, Leonard Doucette sets out deal for the first time with all plays that have survived to 1867 and to link them with the evolution of politics, institutions, and culture in French Canada.


The study of theatre has often been handicapped also by the outdated practice of defining the literary-cultural history of a nation by identifying the masterpieces produced in specific periods and then defining other works in terms of what they are not. The surprisingly rich and varied history of theatrical forms in French Canada has just begun to receive the attention it deserves from scholars. Some of the texts and authors referred to in this history are identified for the first time: the materials cited and conclusions drawn are based upon original research in major Canadian libraries as well as the works of published critics and historians. The result is an excellent introduction to the various forms theatre has taken and the problems it has encountered in French Canada. 

About the author

Leonard E. Doucette was a professor of French at the University of Toronto.

Leonard Doucette's profile page

Other titles by Leonard Doucette