La Nouvelle Atala. ISBN : 0-8723258-0-8 $13.50
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La Nouvelle Atala, Adrien Rouquette.
Critical edition by Elizabeth B. Landry.
La Nouvelle Atala focuses on the mystic tradition, in
which the first monks insisted that oneness with the Divinity could
only be found in nature, a place of refuge, prayer and communion
with God. La Nouvelle Atala’s structure is thus based
on dualism: on one side is nature, inherently good because it is
God’s creation; on the opposing side, society, a human creation,
has degenerated into an inhuman morass through mankind’s acute
materialism, selfishness and desire for wealth. Atala is really
the daughter of the spirit; as Adrien Rouquette is the son of the
spirit, giving up a quiet ministry in a city and choosing to live
in nature with the Chactas tribe.
Following the French Romantic tradition, in particular Mme de Staël,
Rouquette inserts several themes proper to the popular novel and
explores the relation between mystic Christianity and poetry. He
creates a uniquely Louisianian work, different from French literature,
not because of the language, but because of its spirit, theme and