Louis-Honoré Fréchette

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Louis-Honoré Fréchette

Louis-Honoré Fréchette , CMG (born November 16, 1839 in Lévis , † May 31, 1908 in Montreal ) was a Canadian poet , politician , playwright and short story writer . He is considered the most important French-speaking writer in Canada in the 19th century.


The son of an illiterate building contractor received his secondary education from 1854 to 1860 at three institutes of the brothers of the Christian schools . He then studied law at the Université Laval in Québec . During his student days, Fréchette began to publish poetry. In 1864 he opened a law firm in Lévis. Lacking clients, he worked as a journalist. He founded two liberal newspapers, Le drapeau de Lévis and La Tribune de Lévis , with which he also had no success.

Due to financial problems, Fréchette moved to Chicago in 1866 , where he stayed until 1871. There he worked, among other things, as a secretary for the Illinois Central Railroad and published his first volume of poetry, La voix d'un exilé , in which he condemned the founding of the Canadian Confederation and sharply attacked the Conservative Party . Several plays he wrote during this time were lost in the Great Chicago Fire .

Upon his return, Fréchette ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Québec . In the general election in 1874 , he was elected in the Lévis constituency and belonged to the Liberal Party faction in the lower house . The election of the lower house in 1878 , however, ended with his being voted out. In 1876 he married Emma Beaudry, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and banker from Montreal . The financial independence allowed him to devote himself more to literature.

Fréchette has now published his works in France . In 1880 he was the first French Canadian to receive the prestigious Prix ​​Montyon of the Académie française for his volume of poetry Les fleurs boréales, les oiseaux de neige . Then he turned to prose. In 1897 he was knighted and in 1900/01 he presided over the Royal Society of Canada .



  • La voix d'un exile (1866)
  • La découverte du Mississippi (1873)
  • Pêle-mêle (1877)
  • Poésies choisies (1879)
  • Les fleurs boréales, les oiseaux de neige (1879)
  • La Légende d'un peuple (1887)

Stories and short stories

  • L'Iroquoise du lac Saint-Pierre (1861)
  • Originaux et détraqués. Douze Types Québecquois (1892)
  • Les contes de Jos Violon
  • La Noël au Canada (1899)
  • Le baiser de Madeleine


  • Le retour de l'exilé (1880)
  • Papineau (1880)
  • Félix Poutré (1892)


  • Mémoires intimes (posthumous, 1961)


  • Yves Laberge: Louis Fréchette, Originaux et détraqués. Douze Types Québecquois. Review. Journal of Canada Studies , 68, 2018, pp. 131f.

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