Marie Leconte

Portrait of Marie Leconte

B.A. Linguistics, Université de Montréal

Post-graduate diploma (D.E.S.S.) Translation, Concordia University

M.A. Traductology, Concordia University

Ph.D. English, Université de Montréal

Affiliation - Postdoctoral Fellowship, French-Language Literatures, Translation, and Creative Writing, McGill University


Marie Leconte’s doctoral thesis focuses on Montreal’s English-language literature, its translation into French and its modern evolution in the sphere of Quebec literature. For her master’s thesis, she translated into French a dozen of A. M. Klein’s poems, a Montreal Jewish poet from the middle of the twentieth century. In both cases, her interdisciplinary research combines literary studies, translation studies and linguistics with Montreal’s sociocultural and historical movements.

Sociocultural and sociopolitical issues associated with the mixture of culture in language (as well as language in culture) are interwoven into the fabric of contemporary literature in Quebec. More commonly considered from the point of Québécois literature since the Quiet Revolution, this cultural and political convergence may recently boast a rather paradoxical affiliation, that with a minor English-language literature.

Marie Leconte’s research project at CIRM focuses mainly on the evolution of Anglo-Québécois literature in Montreal and the influences political and linguistic tensions have had on it. The research will be done using the complete archives of the Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF), an organization created in the mid 1990s, following the merger of two other organizations run by English-speaking literary stakeholders in Montreal. The archives of this organization are full of relevant information for a study that aims to better understand the circumstances of the appearance and development of this literature. The exchange initiated by the QWF with Quebec institutional, cultural and government structures had for intention the recognition of English-language writing and writers in the cultural sphere of Quebec. Leconte’s project will shed light on the different stages of a Montreal-based institutionalization that evolved in parallel to that of Québécois literature.

Mapping the history of this English-language literature based on a collective initiative that has become a pivotal organization in Montreal’s cultural, institutional and political space is a project that fits perfectly into CIRM’s “Language, belonging and plurilingualism” action-research axis. The cultural, political and economic issues of language are reflected not only in the works of this literature, but more concretely in the development of its institutionalization. Language is a vessel of choice for expressing identity. And using one over another has a significant impact on the way we interpret the belonging of the person (or the organization). The purpose of this project is to observe how this English-language literature has developed (and is still developing) in the Francophone cultural space of Montreal, taking into account the evolution of relations woven over time by the QWF with local and provincial literary, mediatic, governmental and institutional entities.

The second research axis in which this project fits is that of “Digital Culture, Art, Literature, and Performance.” The QWF archives are important and their form is fragile and inaccessible to the majority of people who might want to consult them. Leconte’s goal is to develop their accessibility together with experts, and to find not only a digital space where to host them, but also to develop a better way to showcase them. In the same spirit as the research described above, these archives should be presented alongside the socio-historical context of their appearance in order to see how they “contribute to solidifying or eroding the boundaries between the linguistic and ethno-racial communities.” To this end, we will develop a categorization of archived material based on an objective that will be determined using archival experts, as well as people more directly involved in the social issues surrounding their content.

As a breeding ground for Quebec’s language issues, Montreal is the perfect place to witness the fluctuations of tensions with the English language over time. Not only does the use of a language over another slant the content of what is being expressed but the premise of the choice itself has an impact as well. Recognizing this is key. When understood as a cross-cultural communicating practice, translation carries much more meaning than it initially intends. Without a comprehensive understanding of each side, the information is almost always apprehended with only one in mind, the one doing the receiving. For this reason, the results of the project will be published in both French and English. Each text’s objective will be to address the inherent bias contained within and across both languages about the emergence and development of an English-language literature from Quebec and its evolving institutionalization.


Ongoing projects

  • "Le rôle de la Quebec Writers' Federation dans l'institutionnalisation de la littérature anglo-québécoise" (principal investigator, 2020-2022)


Selection of publications

Chapter 4 An Ultraminor Literature: English Writing in Montreal (Fall 2021)

La littérature anglophone au Québec (May 2020)

Theorizing the Peregrinations of Anglo/Québécois Literature in translation (2019)

Accéder au champ de la littérature québécoise par la traduction: argumentation, suivie d’un exemple (Dec 2017)

Sherry Simon. Villes en traduction : Calcutta, Trieste, Barcelone et Montréal. Trad. Pierrot Lambert. Montréal, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2013, 269 p. (Jan 2015)

The Nature of Borders. Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea, Lissa K. Wadewitz, University of Washington Press and UBC Press, 2012. 271 p. (Apr 2014)

Traduire A. M. Klein : les poèmes de l’époque de la « Chaise berçante » (Mar 2012)


Recent publications

Chapter 4 An Ultraminor Literature: English Writing in Montreal (Fall 2021)

La littérature anglophone au Québec (May 2020)

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