The Hero and the Historians: Historiography and the Uses of Jacques Cartier

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UBC Press, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 235 pages
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Historians have long engaged in passionate debate about collective memory and the building of national identities. This book focuses on one national hero - Jacques Cartier - to explore how notions about the past have been created and passed on through the generations and used to present particular ideas about the world in English- and French-speaking Canada.

The cult of celebrity surrounding Cartier by the mid-nineteenth century, Gordon reveals, reflected a particular understanding of history, one which accompanied the arrival of modernity in North America. This new sensibility, in turn, shaped the political and cultural currents of nation building in Canada. Cartier may have been a point of contact between English and French Canadian nationalism, but the nature of that contact, as Gordon shows, had profound limitations. The Hero and the Historians is necessary reading for anyone interested in the underlying culture of national identity - and national unity - in Canada.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The SixteenthCentury World and Jacques Cartier
10
2 Forgetting and Remembering
29
3 The Invention of a Hero
50
4 Cartiermania
72
5 Common Sense
99
6 The Many Meanings of Jacques Cartier
128
7 Decline and Dispersal
157
8 Failure and Forgetting
180
Notes
190
Bibliography
216
Index
232
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About the author (2010)

Alan Gordon is an associate professor in the Department of History, University of Guelph.

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