news | Wednesday January 2, 2013

The Magnificent Voyage of Jovette Marchessault

We have received the very sad news that Québec playwright, sculptor and novelist Jovette Marchessault passed away on Dec. 31. She was 74 (1938-2012). Celebrated for her outstanding, original and beautiful body of dramatic works, she was, in fact, the first Québec woman to create a major dramatic feminist oeuvre:

Vaches de Nuit (Night Cows)
La Saga des poules mouillées (Saga of the Wet Hens)
La Terre est trop courte (The Edge of Earth is Too Near)
Violette Leduc (Violette Leduc)
Anaïs dans la queue de la comète
Le Voyage magnifique d’Emily Carr (The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr)
Le Lion de Bangor
Madame Blavatsky
Le Pérégrin chérubinique

Often interpreted by Pol Pelletier, she was – visionary poet, feminist, lesbian – the leading pioneer playwright in the emergence in Québec of an impressive cohort of feminist playwrights in the 1980s and continuing until today. Marchessault’s fiction titles include Like a Child of the Earth, Mother of the Grass, and White Pebbles in the Dark Forest, the three volumes in her autobiographical trilogy, winner of the Prix France-Québec in 1976.

Her pride in her First Nations heritage, her profound resonance with the natural world and her close touch with those who had been marginalized for one reason or other by society gave her an artist’s voice of major significance and resonance. Her integrity in remaining true to her own path has been amazing through the decades. She was an intensely practical person closely attached to the material world and, at the same time, a visionary beacon whose death leaves an aching void.

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