Writing a New France, 1604-1632: Empire and Early Modern French Identity

1st Edition

Brian Brazeau

Published October 28, 2009
Reference - 142 Pages
ISBN 9780754661122 - CAT# Y236183
Series: Transculturalisms, 1400-1700


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The focus of this study is the exciting period of French overseas exploration directly following the stagnation caused by the Wars of Religion. The book examines the early period of French involvement in Northeastern America through readings of key texts, principally travel and missionary accounts. Among the works examined are travel writings by Marc Lescarbot (Histoire de la Nouvelle-France) and Samuel de Champlain (Voyages), and missionary works by Gabriel Sagard (Dictionnaire de la Langue Huronne, Histoire du Canada), Jean de Brébeuf, and Paul le Jeune (early Relations de Jésuites). Through a careful examination of these texts, the author discerns a French "rewriting of the self" in relation to the American other, represented by both land and people. America, Brazeau argues, allowed a consolidation of past markers of identity, and forced a radical rereading of others, due to the difficulties presented by the Canadian wilderness and its natives. Writing a New France, 1604-1632 sheds fresh light on a significant moment in French colonial history while providing an innovative contribution to the understanding of early modern French identity and cultural contact.

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