"Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid in Colonial Quebec"

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • This is the accepted version of the following article: True, Micah. “Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid in Colonial Quebec. French Forum, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 391–405., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1353/frf.2018.0031. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112. In April 1652, the fledgling French settlement of Quebec saw a performance Pierre Corneille's famous tragicomedy Le Cid. Interpreting the play in light of the social and political context of this performance, this article argues that audience members must have found something very familiar about Corneille's drama of domestic politics in medieval Castile, set against the backdrop of a threat of surprise attack by an army of Moors lurking downriver from the city of Seville. At the very moment the play was staged in Quebec, the St. Lawrence River also seemed, to chroniclers of colonial life, to be teeming with aggressive cultural Others awaiting opportunities to launch surprise attacks on the vulnerable French: the Iroquois. This article examines three aspects of Castile's conflict with the Moors in Le Cid—the vulnerability associated with proximity to a river, the enemy's stealth, and the way Castilians meet the challenge—and argues that the play would have reflected to audience members both their own dangerous situation and their unique relationship to royal authority. Comparison of this analysis to existing scholarly interpretations of the play shows how accounting for colonial experiences of French literature may bring fresh perspective both to individual texts and to the relationship between France and its colonies more broadly.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Draft / Submitted)
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • “Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid in Colonial Quebec.” French Forum, vol. 43, no. 3, 2018, pp. 391–405.
  • Link to related item