Far from presenting itself under a definitive form, the work of Québec writer Jacques Ferron resembles, from the point of view of the language that he used, what he himself called his “pays incertain” (uncertain country) when referring to Québec. Of all of 20th century Québec literature, Ferron’s novels more than any other lend themselves to linguistic analysis. Already in his very first publications, his use of language drew the attention of critics. The author of L’amélanchier (The Juneberry Tree) journeyed across all the literary genres. He took pleasure in exploring the French language in all its historical and geographical breadth. He bent to his own ends the constraints imposed by standard French to serve up a writing style that was first and foremost “Québécois” and, by that same token, intended primarily for a Québec audience. This is why his novels can at times present an extremely high coefficient of “linguistic resistance” for the uninitiated reader. The aim of this book is to examine the language used by Ferron in three of his novels: Le Ciel de Québec (The Penniless Redeemer), Le Salut de l’Irlande (untranslated) and Les Roses sauvages (Wild Roses). These three works in particular lend themselves to such an approach for two reasons. First, they were written and published between the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period marked by a very important linguistic debate in Québec. Second, the language used in these novels affords the possibility of being scrutinized as a “theme” in itself. Thereafter, the effects of “plurilingualism” and “plurivocalism” that characterize in different ways each of the novels in question are explored. The large number of other literary texts inserted in a textual context vainly seeking to be a novel graft other languages onto the author’s main language. Added to this generic “plurilingualism” is a “plurilingualism” generated by the presence of several languages and language variants continuously alternating within the text. Le Ciel de Québec (The Penniless Redeemer) is, in this regard, exemplary: Linguistic unity is violated through the intertwining and superposition of letters, poems, extracts from novels, essays and songs. Through the discursive analysis of the narrator and the strategies he employs to impose his ideological slant on languages, it is demonstrated that the narration in Ferron’s novels is highly “hybrid” and, consequently, “plurivocal”. Several “voices” at times emerge from a single passage: First, that of narrator, which is often “bivocal”, then that of the “auctor” and, finally, that of characters, which can be qualified as multiple. Plurality of languages and language variants, plurality of voices and accents: The language used by Ferron in his novels is “Québécois”, “hybrid” and “plurivocal”.

Des voix superposées: plurilinguisme, polyphonie et hybridation langagière dans l'oeuvre romanesque de Jacques Ferron / Acerenza, Gerardo. - STAMPA. - 129:(2010). [10.15168/11572_85218]

Des voix superposées: plurilinguisme, polyphonie et hybridation langagière dans l'oeuvre romanesque de Jacques Ferron

Acerenza, Gerardo
2010

Abstract

Far from presenting itself under a definitive form, the work of Québec writer Jacques Ferron resembles, from the point of view of the language that he used, what he himself called his “pays incertain” (uncertain country) when referring to Québec. Of all of 20th century Québec literature, Ferron’s novels more than any other lend themselves to linguistic analysis. Already in his very first publications, his use of language drew the attention of critics. The author of L’amélanchier (The Juneberry Tree) journeyed across all the literary genres. He took pleasure in exploring the French language in all its historical and geographical breadth. He bent to his own ends the constraints imposed by standard French to serve up a writing style that was first and foremost “Québécois” and, by that same token, intended primarily for a Québec audience. This is why his novels can at times present an extremely high coefficient of “linguistic resistance” for the uninitiated reader. The aim of this book is to examine the language used by Ferron in three of his novels: Le Ciel de Québec (The Penniless Redeemer), Le Salut de l’Irlande (untranslated) and Les Roses sauvages (Wild Roses). These three works in particular lend themselves to such an approach for two reasons. First, they were written and published between the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period marked by a very important linguistic debate in Québec. Second, the language used in these novels affords the possibility of being scrutinized as a “theme” in itself. Thereafter, the effects of “plurilingualism” and “plurivocalism” that characterize in different ways each of the novels in question are explored. The large number of other literary texts inserted in a textual context vainly seeking to be a novel graft other languages onto the author’s main language. Added to this generic “plurilingualism” is a “plurilingualism” generated by the presence of several languages and language variants continuously alternating within the text. Le Ciel de Québec (The Penniless Redeemer) is, in this regard, exemplary: Linguistic unity is violated through the intertwining and superposition of letters, poems, extracts from novels, essays and songs. Through the discursive analysis of the narrator and the strategies he employs to impose his ideological slant on languages, it is demonstrated that the narration in Ferron’s novels is highly “hybrid” and, consequently, “plurivocal”. Several “voices” at times emerge from a single passage: First, that of narrator, which is often “bivocal”, then that of the “auctor” and, finally, that of characters, which can be qualified as multiple. Plurality of languages and language variants, plurality of voices and accents: The language used by Ferron in his novels is “Québécois”, “hybrid” and “plurivocal”.
Trento
Università degli Studi di Trento. Dipartimento di Studi Letterari, Linguistici e Filologici
9788884433466
Acerenza, Gerardo
Des voix superposées: plurilinguisme, polyphonie et hybridation langagière dans l'oeuvre romanesque de Jacques Ferron / Acerenza, Gerardo. - STAMPA. - 129:(2010). [10.15168/11572_85218]
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