The Art of Nation-Building
Pageantry and Spectacle at Quebec's Tercentenary
AUTHOR: Nelles, H. V.
PUBLISHER: University of Toronto Press
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In 1908 Canada celebrated its 300th anniversary – the tercentenary of Champlain's founding of Quebec City. In two glorious weeks of parades, ceremonies, balls, and festivities, Canadians commemorated their history in a spectacle that would not be surpassed until the centennial of 1967. The climax of the 1908 celebration was an historical pageant in which 4000 sumptuously costumed citizens re-enacted classic events in Canada's history. Canada's leading painters were also there to capture these memorable scenes for posterity. The past was being celebrated, but with the present and the future in mind.
In The Art of Nation-Building, H.V. Nelles uses contemporary literary techniques to convey the scope, colour, and intensity of the tercentenary from various perspectives. Drawing on the intimate diaries and letters of leading social and political figures, he leads us behind the scenes, disclosing the politics of memory, the theatrics of history, and the making of a modern monarchy. Nelles reveals what we actually do when we commemorate, how we use the past, and the multivocal character of mass celebration
This richly illustrated, thought-provoking interpretation of public celebrations offers a novel perspective on Quebec and on the upcoming celebration of the millennium.
Winner of two prestigious prizes: the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize (CHA) and the Prix Lionel-Groulx (IHAF).
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/1/2000