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Volume 05, Number 1 (1980)

La Scouine: Influences and Significance

  • John W. Lennox
May 22, 2008


Albert Laberge's La Scouine is heavily influenced by Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant. The extreme naturalism echoes the style and the themes of these writers. Laberge links himself with these writers through the deliberate perversion, distortion, and debasement of commonly idealized human values. La Scouine may be the first French Canadian example of fictional realism, disdaining the romance elements common to such works as Les Anciens Canadiens and Maria Chapdelaine. Laberge makes liberal use of the oppressive and the grotesque in his episodic narrative. Unlike the communal, idyllic nature of most French Canadian writing from this period, La Scouine is largely about a community radically estranged from humanizing conventions and values. This theme is later enlarged upon by Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais, Roch Carrier, and others.