January 18, 2013
Literary Spotlight: Anne Hébert
By Dr. Bénédicte Mauguière
A poet, playwright, and novelist, Anne Hébert grew up in Quebec. The daughter of a poet and literary critic, she started writing at an early age and soon began submitting her poems for publication. Early in her career, Hébert spent time writing for radio, television, and theater as she developed her literary character and skill. After publishing her first collection of poetry, Les Songes en équilibre (Dreams in Equilibrium), in 1942, she starting writing prose, composing a collection of tales called Le Torrent (The Torrent) in 1950.
After writing another anguishing collection of poetry, several Quebec publishers questioned whether they should continue to publish Hébert’s work. Anne Hébert soon decided to move to Paris where her work would be more welcomed and proceeded to publish eight novels. Embracing such themes as personal freedom, rebellion, and violence, she examined the human psyche in such books as Kamouraska, Les Enfant du sabbat (Children of the Black Sabbath), and Les Fous de Bassan (In the Shadow of the Wind). In 1999, Anne Hébert published her final novel, Un Habit de lumière (A Suit of Light), just one year before her death.
About the author: A scholar of Anne Hébert’s work, Dr. Bénédicte Mauguière currently teaches and researches at Colby College in Maine. Dr. Bénédicte Mauguière has published several papers on Hébert’s role in “la littérature québécoise.”