As Always: Memoir of a Life in Writing

As Always: Memoir of a Life in Writing

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One of Canada’s greatest literary figures reflects on life at the centre of Quebec literary arts. Re-examining the influences of her early life in a large, rural Catholic family, Madeleine Gagnon not only explores her rejection of unexamined values as part of her intellectual development but also her refusal to be categorized by her gender.

Karl Marx replaced Paul Claudel in Gagnon’s intellectual pantheon. Psychoanalysis gave rise to the desire to write, and her first works poured out in a torrent. She describes the friendships that played such a large part in her life and the feminist battles of the time with all their hopes and disappointments. At the same time she casts a sharp eye on contemporary Quebec society, tracing the emergence of a distinct Canadian literature.

This is an account of a life well lived, told with candour, wisdom, and an inextinguishable sense of wonder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780889228979
Publisher: Talonbooks, Limited
Publication date: 07/10/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Madeleine Gagnon has made a mark on Quebec literature as a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Born in Amqui, a small village in the Matapedia Valley, she decided at the age of twelve to be a writer, and after her early education with the Ursuline nuns, went on to study literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis at the Université de Montréal, the Sorbonne, and the Université d’Aix-en-Provence, where she received her doctorate. Since 1969, she has published more than thirty books while at the same time teaching literature at several Quebec universities.

Her work in all genres combines passion, lucidity, erudition, poetic vision, and political commitment, boldly transgressing the boundaries between poetry and prose. Among her many awards are the prestigious Athanase-David Prize (2002) for her lifetime body of work, the Governor General’s Award for Poetry (1990) for Chant pour un Québec lointain (translated by Howard Scott as Song for a Far Quebec), and the Journal de Montréal Prize (1986) for Les fleurs du catalpa. Her work has also won international recognition, with many publications in France and some fifteen translations into English, Spanish, and Italian.

Nancy Huston has described Madeleine Gagnon as someone in whom the boundary between inner and outer life is porous; her words are poetry and her ear for the words of others is poetry too. Everything she takes in from the world is filtered, processed, transformed by the insistent rhythms of the songs within her.

Madeleine Gagnon Awards and Distinctions
2007–2009 - Career Award of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec
2008 - Ronald-Gasparic International Poetry Prize, Romania
2002 - Athanase-David Prize for a lifetime of work
2001 - Marcel-Couture Prize at Salon du livre (Montréal) for Les femmes et la guerre
1991 - Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry for Chant pour un Québec lointain
1991 - Artquimedia Prize
1990 - Arthur-Buies Prize at Salon du livre (Rimouski) for a lifetime of work
1986 - Journal de Montréal literary prize for Les fleurs du Catalpa

Phyllis Aronoff lives in Montreal. She holds a master’s degree in English literature. The Wanderer, her translation of La Québécoite by Régine Robin, won the 1998 Jewish Book Award for fiction. She and Howard Scott were awarded the 2001 Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award for The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701. She is a past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada.

Howard Scott is a Montreal literary translator who specializes in the genres of fiction and non-fiction. He is a past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada. His literary translations include works by Madeleine Gagnon and Quebec science-fiction writer Élisabeth Vonarburg. In 1997, Scott received the prestigious Governor General’s Translation Award for his work on Louky Bersianik’s The Euguelion. In 1999, his translation of “The Eighth Register,” a science-fiction story by Alain Bergeron, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for best short-form.

Table of Contents

As Always: Memoir of a Life in Writing

by Madeleine Gagnon



Part One - Village
The Carrot Field
Twin Adele
Christmas Showcase
The Marriage
The Rose Lounge

Part Two - Over There
Quebec and the Ursulines
Life in L'Acadie
Freedom in Montreal
Back in Canada

Part Three - Away
The Atlantic Homeric

Part Four - Everywhere
Wedding at Notre Dame
New York

Part Five - Time Without Precedent
Quebec Again
The Death of Regis
Last Work

Part Six - Me and Bobby McGee

Part Seven - Me and I
Me Myself
All Together

Part Eight - If I'm Elsewhere
High Noon
London, Edinburgh, and Dublin
Madrid and Barcelona

Part Nine - Back to Basics
New Freedom
Grand Forks
Because She Was

Part Ten - Now
Women and War
Epilogue in the Form of Fable

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