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Évangéline: The Many Identities of a Literary Icon

Évangéline: The Many Identities of a Literary Icon

A thorough exploration of the role of Longfellow’s literary icon Évangéline and her role in the North American cultural landscape, available for the first time in English.

The eponymous character of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem, Évangéline, is an Acadian girl searching for her long-lost love, Gabriel, during the Expulsion of the Acadians (1755–1764). Originally published in 1847, Longfellow’s poem throws into sharp relief a dark chapter of Canada’s history, while also showcasing a strong female character that has left an indelible mark on generations of Acadians, French Canadians, Cajuns, and Creoles.

Examining aspects both historical and literary that led to Évangéline’s idolization across countries, cultures, and decades, sociologist Joseph Yvon Thériault presents three versions of the celebrated heroine:Évangéline the American, Évangéline the Acadian, and Évangéline the Cajun. The crux of his narrative seeks to understand if these three distinct identities might be merged, and whether they will survive the effects of globalization.

Passionate and engaging, Évangéline is a postmodern study on the many interpretations of this literary icon, and the melting pot of cultures she has traversed and influenced. Features a colour photo insert.