Comparison of the Works of Antonine Maillet of the Acadian Tradition of New Brunswick, Canada, and Louise Erdrich of the Ojibwe of North America, with the Poems of Longfellow

Author: Lyons, Rosemary


“Rosemary Lyons’ study of comparative North American literatures is one of the first to compare Acadian Canadian and Native American writing. Largely unexplored, this branch of comparative literature offers much potential. . . . Perhaps the most exciting part of this critical work is that it erases the divisions that separate the United States from Canada, in particular the linguistic and disciplinary boundaries that isolate writing in English from writing in French. . . .the use of a postcolonial perspective allows her to usefully deconstruct the power relationships that silenced the voices of Acadians and native Americans and to explore the strategies used by Maillet and Erdrich to foil the old clichés. For instance, she shows how the romantic evocations of Evangeline and Hiawatha disappear into thin air before the monologue of Maillet’s poverty-stricken cleaning woman, la Sagouine, or Erdrich’s portrayal of reservation life. This study’s attention to once marginal voices of different North-American cultures breaks new ground while establishing links between the literatures of North America and those of other postcolonial cultures where voices long silenced by history are being heard.” – Eloise Brière, University of Albany

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. History
3. Voicelessness: Longfellow
4. Re/membered Past: Erdrich
5. Re/membered Past: Maillet
6. Orality and Narration
7. Humor and Irony
8. Myth and Magical realism
9. Conclusion