Lament for a Nation (The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism) by George P. Grant
Rouillard Valence, Lyse
A few years back, I had decided that I would not write a traditional "mémoire" for my Master's degree; instead, I would translate a book, a special kind of book. Translating a work of the creative imagination (e.g. a novel) did not particularly interest me at that time, but I was dravn to writings of philosophical exposition. That is why the suggestion that I translate George Grant's Lament for a Nation vas very welcome. I must admit that neither the title nor the author were then known to me. On inquiring about them, I soon found out that only an "élite" seemed to have had the opportunity of reading George Grant's writing. These persons all agreed that Lament for a Nation was an excellent work which deserved a better fate than the status of minor Canadian classic, revered but largely unread. Lament for a Nation instantly appealed to me. I accordingly decided to explore why it did so. To my surprise, the book reminded me of those small classics we had had to read during our college years, weighty in thought, terse in expression. The dark, sometimes gnarled style repelled me at first, but as I read along, I eventually achieved a kind of complicity and deep interest in Grant's meditation. I have never been a politically involved person. But to live in Québec these last few years has meant being almost incessantly bombarded by propaganda of a nationalist or federalist tinge. This has forced Quebeckers to take sides, or at least to become aware and informed. Conveniently, Grant's work crossed my path at a time when I needed a kind of refresher course in Canadian history, more specifically its political component. I also wanted a rough sketch of Canada's continental and international situation. Both of these things are discussed in Lament for a Nation, and some readers must have been more interested in simply getting at the information than in being told what Grant specifically thought about Canada's plight.