In 1908 Canada Celebrated Its 300th Anniversary -- The Tercentenary
Of Champlain's founding of Quebec City. In two glorious weeks of
parades, ceremonies, bals, and festivities, Canadians commemorated,
their history in a spectacle that would not be surpassed until the
Centennial of 1367. 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
artists were also there to cap_are thee 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 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 multi-vocal character of mass-celebration.
This richly illustrated, thought provoking interpretation of
public celebrations offers a novel perspective on Quebec and the
upcoming celebration of the Millennium.
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