Romanticism in Hubert Aquin's Prochain Episode : an intertextual reading
Francoli Gonzalo, Oriana
This thesis focuses on the intertextuality related to Romanticism that has shaped Prochain Épisode . To portray his narrator's identity crisis Hubert Aquin chooses Romantic literary and revolutionary figures as models such as Honoré de Balzac associated to Ferragus, le chef des Dévorants in L'Histoire des Treize ; Lord George Byron, who died in Missolonghi fighting for Greek independence, as well as the English poet's literary doubles, Manfred, Le Chevalier Harold and François de Bonnivard, Le Prisonnier de Chillon ; Benjamin Constant, a writer and politician during the French Revolution; the Russian revolutionaries Nikolai Tchernychevski and Mikhail Bakounine, and the Italian Giuseppe Mazzini who incarnate liberalism. Prochain Épisode's Narrator portrays himself as a modern day knight invested with a double mission: the reconquest of his country and the search for a "Graal esthétique" ( P.E. 92). 1 This chivalric figure, revived in Romantic 19th century circles, is both the hero and poet of the tale which chronicles his heroic exploits. However, the Quebec fighter is doubly disillusioned. His political crusade finishes in failure and his search for an original literary style leaves him discouraged. He concludes mournfully, "Jérusalem seconde, cette unicité surmultipliée, n'est rien d'autre qu'une obsession de croisés" ( P.E. 92). This intertextual reference to Torquato Tasso's work on the invasion and subjugation of Jerusalem by crusaders is intertwined in his mind with the FLQ Patriots' mission to reconquer Quebec. The author and narrator are convinced that eventually someone else will take their place, avenge Quebec and fight for the country's next episode. There is no final revolution; revolutions are infinite. 1 Although the critical edition was consulted, all citings were taken from the first edition of Prochain Épisode , Le Cercle du Livre de France, 1965.