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Eva C. Karpinski
York University
Vol. 3 (2013), Articles
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Suzanne Desrochers' novel Bride of New France (2011) constructs interesting historical transnationalities linking the French biopolitics of population implemented by Louis XIV, with the story of filles du roi and encounters with indegeneity in colonial New France. Although her narrative explores the possibility of illicit transversal alliances between the oppressed, in this case involving a poor white French woman and an indigenous man, I argue that its potential to reconfigure gendered and racialized spaces of the Empire is thwarted by its generic indebtedness to the genre of the colonial gothic, preoccupied with the "hauntings" of colonialism and imperialism. Moreover, Desrochers' hybrid text, a product of "miscegenation" between history and literature, relies on Eurocentric stereotypes of the Noble Savage and the bad Indian, which suggests that perhaps even her ostensibly feminist attempt to re-read the imperial moment through the stock repertoire of gothic images, no matter how well intentioned, cannot be free from the risk of re-enacting the discursive violence that was constitutive of colonial representation of the Natives and assertions of cultural hegemony. Ultimately, despite its focus on the subjugation of the reproductive female body as a reluctant site of the production of the nation-state, the effect of Bride may well be considered as reterritorializing the nation albeit from a minoritized French perspective.

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