Corriveau, Monique 1927-1976

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CORRIVEAU, Monique 1927-1976

(Monique Chouinard Corriveau)

PERSONAL: Born September 6, 1927, in Quebec, Quebec, Canada; died of cancer, June 29, 1976, in Quebec, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Francois Xavier (a lawyer) and Bernadette (Rouillard) Chouinard; married Bernard Corriveau (a law notary), September 29, 1951; children: Matthieu, Francois, Bernadette, Marie-Noel, Thomas, Pascal, Vincent, Sophie, Isabelle, Jeanne. Education: Attended University of Toronto, 1946–48; Laval University, B.A., 1950, B.Ph., 1950. Religion: Roman Catholic.

CAREER: Writer.

MEMBER: Societe des Ecrivains Canadiens.

AWARDS, HONORS: Prix de l'Association Canadien des Educateurs de Langue Francaise, 1958, for Le Secret de Vanille, and 1959, for Les Jardiniers du hibou; Prix du Concours Litteraire de la Province de Quebec, 1964, and Medaille de l'Association des Bibliothecaires du Canada, 1966, both for Le Wapiti; Prix du Concours Litteraire de la Province de Quebec, 1966, for Le Maitre de Messire; Prix de la Commission du Centenaire de Canada, 1967, for Cecile; Prix Michelle Le Normand from Societe des Ecrivains Canadiens, 1971, for cumulated work; Alvine Belisle Award, Association pour l'Avancement des Sciences et des Techniques de la Documentation, 1976, for Les Saisons de la Mer.



Le Secret de Vanille, Editions du Pelican (Quebec, Quebec, Canada), 1958, revised edition, Editions Jeunesse (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1972.

Les Jardiniers du hibou, Editions Jeunesse (Quebec, Quebec, Canada), 1963.

Le Wapiti, Editions Jeunesse (Quebec, Quebec, Canada), 1964, revised edition, Cercle du Livre de France (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1993, translation by J. M. L'Heureux published as The Wapiti, Macmillan (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1968.

La Maitre de Messire, Editions Jeunesse (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1965, revised edition, 1971.

Max, Editions Jeunesse (Quebec, Quebec, Canada), 1965, revised edition, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1985.

La Petite Fille du printemps, Editions Jeunesse (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1966.

Max au rallye, Editions Jeunesse (Quebec, Quebec, Canada), 1968, revised edition, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1985.

Cecile; Rigobert et Poncho; La Raquette, illustrated by daughter, Marie-Noel Corriveau, Editions Jeunesse (Quebec, Quebec, Canada), 1968.

Le Temoin (adult novel), Cercle de Livre de France (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1969.

Le Garcon au cerf-volant, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1974, translation by David Homel published as A Perfect Day for Kites, Groundwood (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1981.

Les Saisons de la mer, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1975, abridged and translated by David Homel as Seasons of the Sea, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

Patrick et Sophie en fusee, Editions Heritage (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1975.

Compagnon du soleil, Volume I: L'oiseau de feu, Volume II: La lune noir, Volume III: Le temps des chats, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1976.

Ses les Montcorbier, Volume 1: La mort des autres, 1916–1918, Volume 2: Le guerrier, 1914–1915, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1980.

Max contre Macbeth, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1985.

Max en planeur, Fides (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1985.


Also author of four puppet plays.

A collection of Corriveau's manuscripts and correspondence is held in the Laval University Archives Division in Sainte-Foy, Quebec.

SIDELIGHTS: Monique Corriveau was a French-speaking Canadian author who wrote primarily for young readers, perhaps because she was the mother of ten children. She was born into a literary family—both her grandfathers and a cousin were writers—and set her own authorial goals early, deciding that she would publish a children's book by the time she was twenty-one. She had to wait ten years longer than that, publishing Le Secret de Vanille in her thirty-first year. Both Le Secret de Vanille and her second novel, Les Jardiniers du hibou, won top awards from the Canadian national association of French-speaking teachers. Another children's novel, Le Wapiti, was also an award-winner and has become required reading in many Canadian schools.

Corriveau began a series in 1965 with Max, a spy thriller featuring a young physicist. Wrongly accused of murder, Max must clear his name and recover the vital scientific papers taken from his slain colleague. Corriveau conceived the series as a way to interest young readers in science. The physicist's adventures were continued in Max au rallye, Max contre Macbeth, and Max en planeur, with the last two books published posthumously. The "Max" series is evocative of a certain time and place, as Jean-Louis Trudel explained in the Dictionary of Literary Biography: "In the 1960s French-Canadian society was then discovering itself as part of the technological world, loosening the grip of the Catholic Church, and aspiring to the material joys of modernity. In the heady days before Expo '67, the extremely successful World's Fair held in Montreal in 1967, science and technology were seen, on the whole, as powers for good, even if evil men might misuse them for nefarious ends."

Corriveau wrote her first science fiction saga in the 1970s. Her "Montcorbier" tales, set in an alternate version of India, had first been invented in childhood with her sister. Although Corriveau wrote a great deal of material about Montcorbier, none of it was published until after her death. Her first published science fiction was Patrick et Sophie en fusee, which follows the adventures of three young time travelers who journey to the year 1380.

Corriveau's "magnum opus," according to Trudel, is her trilogy Compagnon du soleil ("Companion of the Sun"). Set in the future, in a country called Ixanor, it portrays a world that has resorted to extreme regimentation to deal with its overpopulation. One tactic is to assign half the population to night-time living only; after a year, the population swaps shifts. Only a select few are exempt from this rule, including the main character, Oakim. Citizens of Ixanor are carefully tracked and monitored, and imagination and change are not allowed. Over the course of the saga, Oakim comes to believe that Ixanor's socioeconomic system must be destroyed. While writing this ambitious work, Corriveau was diagnosed with cancer, and hastened to finish her story before her death. According to Trudel, the trilogy seems somewhat unfinished in that "the style is still relatively rough, marred by abrupt viewpoint shifts and contradictions, and the last two volumes are somewhat sketchier in execution than the first." Yet Trudel also had high praise for this work, commenting, "It is easy to interpret Compagnon du soleil as a rebuke of the American dream that pursues happiness so relentlessly as to risk misery in real life." He concluded: "Though most critics ignored Corriveau's trilogy, the most perceptive among them acknowledged her attempt to grapple with the future of technological societies, and Compagnon de soleil still ranks among the most ambitious works of science fiction in French-speaking Canada."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 251: Canadian Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.


In Review, spring, 1969, Agathe Dicaire, "Monique Corriveau," pp. 36-37.