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Gérin-Lajoie, Antoine

Playwright/essayist/historian born in Yamachiche, Quebec in 1824; died in Ottawa, Ontario in 1882.

The second child of sixteen, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie is probably best known for composing the ode to the exiled leaders of the Patriote Rebellion, Un Canadien errant (which is still recited and sung to this day), but he also wrote the first Canadian tragedy, Le Jeune Latour in 1843. It was premiered in 1844 at the Collège de Nicolet and was immediately hailed by the critics; one went so far as to declare Gérin-Lajoie a new Racine.

The play was published and republished in papers, literary journals and as a pamphlet, and performed again and again.

It recounts the story of a father and son while it celebrates their love for their native soil. At the play's end, the work becomes a dissertation on obligation and honour.

Gérin-Lajoie subsequently founded two important literary reviews, and wrote three historical works and three novels, but no other plays.

Last updated 2020-12-30