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A Touch of Fire Marie-André Duplessis, the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, and the Writing of New France

Marie-André Duplessis (1687-1760) guided the Augustinian sisters at the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec - the oldest hospital north of Mexico - where she was elected mother superior six times. Although often overshadowed by colonial nuns who became foundresses or saints, she was a powerhouse during the last decades of the French regime and an accomplished woman of letters. She has been credited with Canada's first literary narrative, Canada's first music manual, and the first book by a Canadian woman printed during her own lifetime. In A Touch of Fire, the first biography of Duplessis, Thomas Carr analyzes how she navigated, in peace and war, the unstable, male-dominated colonial world of New France. Through a study of Duplessis's correspondence, her writings, and the rich Hôtel-Dieu archives, Carr details how she channelled the fire of her commitment to the hospital in order to advance its interests, preserve its history, and inspire her sister nuns. Duplessis chronicled New France as she wrote for and about her institution. Her administrative correspondence reveals her managerial successes and failures, and her private letters reshaped her friendship with a childhood Jansenist friend, Marie-Catherine Hecquet. Carr also delves into her relationship with her sister Geneviève Duplessis, who joined her in the cloister and became her managerial and spiritual partner. The addition of Duplessis's last letters provides a dramatic insider's view into the female experience of the siege and capture of Quebec in 1759. A Touch of Fire examines the life and work of an enterprising leader and major woman author of early Canada.



Title: A Touch of Fire Marie-André Duplessis, the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, and the Writing of New France 
Author: Thomas M. Carr 
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press 
Theme: Quebec and Canadian art 
Format: Softcover 
Pages: 400 
Dimensions: 15 x 23 cm 
Language: English 
Release date: July 2020 
ISBN: 9780228000952 

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