Date of Award

2004

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Language

French

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

French

Advisor

Kathryn Slott

Second Committee Member

Raymond Pelletier

Third Committee Member

Susan Pinette

Abstract

Hermenegilde Chiasson is a multi-disciplinary artist from New Brunswick, Canada, whose career of over 30 years has won him numerous provincial, national, and international awards. As an Acadian, his works have always encouraged progressive expression as a means of liberation from a defeatist Acadian identity, all too often defined by the events of 1755. In August of 2003, Chiasson was nominated by Jean Chretien as the 29th Lieutenant- Governor of New-Brunswick, the highest representative of the British Crown in the province. He accepted the position, and has remained firm in his belief that Acadians should not demand retributions from the Crown for the Deportation of 1755. Although consistent with the themes of openness and progress so common in his poetry, drama, visual art and films, this stance has angered many Acadians. Some of the articles written in the French-language Canadian press by Chiasson's more vocal critics will be examined in the introduction to the present thesis. The following three chapters will examine, respectively, Chiasson's poetry, theater, and various collaborative works, including visual art, while concentrating on the themes that encourage Acadian society to come out of the bitter or fatalist historic Acadian identity in order to progress. The writer often cites the necessity of creating as a way of advancing toward a modern identity rather than sitting in silent, hibernating contentment. The conclusion will reiterate how the openness Chiasson has exemplified in his political stances is consistent with that encouraged in his writings.

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