Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

French

Advisor

Maxime Blanchard

Committee Members

Bettina Lerner

Sam Di Iorio

Subject Categories

French and Francophone Literature | Modern Literature | Other French and Francophone Language and Literature

Keywords

road novel, Québec, Québécois literature, travel literature, automobile, national identity

Abstract

Made famous with American of French-Canadian origin Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), the road novel genre typically expresses evolving values and beliefs through the lens of the lone adventurer, embarking on journeys that are not only spatial but also social and cultural. The Québécois road novel adapts and reinterprets the American model, moving its protagonists within and without the province to address the deep-seated questions of Québec’s identity and nationalism through confrontations with the past, loss, grief, family, and cultural others. Car travel and cultural border crossings allow the protagonists to achieve a complicated individual and collective autonomy in the face of a centuries-long struggle for sovereignty in the shadow of French and American hegemony. The changing and often hybridized aspects of Québécois identity, that challenge static concepts of the Québécois state and people, are examined here in road novels by Québécois authors Claude Jasmin, Jacques Poulin, Guillaume Vigneault, and Catherine Mavrikakis.

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