Two Solitudes

Two Solitudes, by Hugh MacLennan (Toronto, New York and Des Moines, 1945), is a novel whose title has become emblematic of Canada's most troubling legacy: the relations between English and French Canadians.

Two Solitudes, by Hugh MacLennan (Toronto, New York and Des Moines, 1945), is a novel whose title has become emblematic of Canada's most troubling legacy: the relations between English and French Canadians. Using historical settings within a mythological framework, MacLennan explores the tensions in these relations from WWI to 1939. The French Canadian realities are set in the parish of Saint-Marc-des-Érables, which is dominated by its priest, Father Beaubien, and by Athanase Tallard, a powerful but tragic figure ostracized by his church for trying to industrialize the village. Montréal, on the other hand, is dominated by characters such as Huntley McQueen, a Presbyterian businessman from Ontario. Tallard's son Paul, at home in both languages but alienated from both cultures, embarks on an Odyssean quest for his own identity and for a vision of Canada as he struggles to write a novel which will define his own Canadian experience. It has been translated into French, as Deux solitudes (Paris, 1963), and Spanish, Swedish, Czech, Dutch and Estonian.

Selected Works of
Two Solitudes