Maria Chapdelaine

Overview

Maria Chapdelaine, the quintessential novel of the rugged life of early French-Canadian colonists, is based on the author’s experiences as a hired hand in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. A young woman living with her family on the Quebec frontier, Maria endures the hardships of isolation and climate. Maria must eventually choose between three suitors who represent very different ways of life: a trapper, a farmer, and a Parisian immigrant.

Powerful in its simplicity, this novel captures the essence of faith and tenacity, the key ingredients of survivance. Translated into many languages, Maria Chapdelaine is enshrined as a classic of Canadian letters. A new introduction by Michael Gnarowski examines its relevance and provides insights into Louis Hemon’s life.

About the Authors

Louis Hemon

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Louis Hemon

Louis Hemon was born in 1880 and raised in Paris, where he qualified for the French Colonial Service. Unwilling to accept a posting to Africa, Hemon embarked on a career as a sports writer and moved to London. He sailed for Quebec in 1911 settling initially in Montreal. He wrote Maria Chapdelaine during his time working at a farm in the Lac Saint-Jean region and died when he was struck by a train at Chapleau, Ontario in 1913.

Michael Gnarowski

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014

Michael Gnarowski

Michael Gnarowski co-edited The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada, compiled The Concise Bibliography of English Canadian Literature, and edited the Critical Views on Canadian Writers series for McGraw-Hill Ryerson. Gnarowski is professor emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa.