Deporting the Truth: Tracking the Impact of Longfellow and Deportation Literature in Quebec

Melanie Proulx, M.A. in English Literature at Concordia University


Evangeline: the face of the 1755 Acadian deportation. She is perhaps the most famous Acadian, but few people know that she is a fictional character. In actuality, she was created by Judge Félix Voorhies to boost tourism in Louisiana. She was then popularized as the protagonist of American poet Henry Longfellow’s famous 1847 poem about the Acadian deportation, Evangeline. Evangeline’s popular personification of the deportation created wide repercussions in literature about the Acadian deportation, which I refer to as "deportation discourse." In turn, deportation discourse has affected the way the deportation has been discussed in historical sources, particularly in Quebec, where the deportation is portrayed with erroneous judgement. My research will demonstrate how deportation discourse grew exaggerated over time through a wide range of techniques, including the oversimplification of history, inflammatory rhetoric, and ambiguous statistics. Through a historical and critical narrative analysis, I hope to illustrate how inaccurately the Acadian deportation is portrayed in Quebec and why.