Incomplete Canvases

Talk by Dr Kirsty Bell, Associate Professor of French, Mount Allison University, Canada.
Incomplete canvases. Stories of painters in Quebec fiction.

My talk will have two main parts: literary historical and thematic/theoretical. I will consider the late emergence of the painter character in Quebec’s literary history (especially when compared to the important painter novels of the French 19th century) and endeavour to consider some of the cultural phenomena that may explain the emergence of this character in post-1960s Quebec literature. Within these novels, I will also examine the recurring motif of the unfinished work of art by presenting vignettes based on 3 novels. The story of painters in Quebec fiction is, to some extent, a search for completeness and also an attempt to understand the meanings and values of that which cannot be finished. Thus, the theme of the incomplete canvas also allows for a more theoretical consideration of “finishedness” in artistic creation. In sort, the goal is to show how these novels contend with the theme and theory of incompleteness in art and to demonstrate how these novels fit into the story of painters in Quebec’s literary history.

The talk will be free and open to all. It will take place in Seminar Room 3, Jessop West, University of Sheffield, at 5pm on Thurs 16th May. Wine will be provided.

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