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Claude Gauvreau: Wikis


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Claude Gauvreau (August 19, 1925 - July 7, 1971), was a Quebec playwright, poet and polemicist born in Montreal.

Gauvreau did classical studies at the Collège Sainte-Marie, and graduated with a B.A in Philosophy from Université de Montréal.

He discovered modern art through his brother Pierre, who attended l'√Čcole des beaux-arts, and met painter Paul-√Čmile Borduas, leader of Les Automatistes. In 1947, he wrote his first play, Bien-√™tre, with actress Muriel Guilbault, la muse incomparable, with whom he was deeply in love. He then became an unconditional advocate of the automatist movement, and, in 1948 signed Borduas' manifesto Refus Global, which would become a key document of Quebec cultural history.

Following Muriel Guilbault's suicide, Gauvreau's fragile emotional stability caused him to be institutionalized ten times over eight years in Montreal psychiatric hospital Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. He continued to write, though. While working for the radio, between 1952 and 1969, he wrote several of his most notorious works, beginning with Beaut√© baroque (1952), a novel depicting the life of Muriel. In 1956, at a time where he believed he would die, he wrote what many consider to be his masterpiece, La charge de l'orignal √©pormyable. The play would not be performed until 1974, when it was presented at Th√©√Ętre du Nouveau Monde. He also wrote, between 1956 and 1968, several collections of poems, including: Sur fil m√©tamorphose (1956), Brochuges (1956), and √Čtal Mixte (1968).

In 1958, Janou Saint-Denis realized two of his short plays at √Čcole des beaux-arts: La jeune fille et la lune and Les grappes lucides. He then wrote his masterpiece, Les oranges sont vertes, which would be presented at Th√©√Ętre du Nouveau Monde in 1972.

On March 27, 1970, he participated to La Nuit de la poésie, the greatest festival of the word that has ever taken place in Quebec. On July 7, 1971, Gauvreau fell to his death from the roof of his building. While some considered his death to be a suicide, the coroner ruled the death accidental.

The art of Claude Gauvreau was revolutionary for its time. He deconstructed and reconstructed vocabulary, creating the explorean language, tearing to pieces the leading clerical, choking, ideology of Quebec of the Fifties.


  • Les entrailles
  • Beaut√© baroque
  • La charge de l'orignal √©pormyable
  • Le rose enfer des animaux
  • Les oranges sont vertes
  • L'asile de la puret√©

See also


  • W. H. New, ed. Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002: 417-18.


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