Friday, August 31, 2012

New France: There's a Blog for That!

I have long thought that there ought to be a clearinghouse on the web for the history of New France as it rears its head, every so often, in today’s news.  I've long toyed with the idea the idea of launching such a site myself – a blog, why not?  On this gray Friday afternoon I can only blame an overdose of blog-perusing for stirring me into action. 

This blog owes its name to the Jesuit professor, historian and traveller Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix (1682-1761).   Having visited the colony on two occasions, and conducted extensive research, he published his Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France in 1744.  This authoritative work had a profound impact on how his contemporaries and later historians viewed New France. 

This venture draws inspiration from Charlevoix’s inquisitiveness about the history of New France, from his commitment to the historical discipline, as well as from his desire to reach out.  Voltaire, who had known Charlevoix in school, described him in later years as having been “rather chatty”.  He would have made a fabulous blogger. 

As hinted-at by my allusion to blog-perusing, this venture also draws inspiration from other fabulous bloggers which I have enjoyed visiting over the years, three of the most prominent that come to mind being: the History Blog,  Christopher Moore’s History News, and Active History.  I should warn readers that my own project is much more modest, however.  Lacking the time and energy to craft eloquent, thought-provoking essays, my intent is to keep to short, briefly commented news items.

Though this post is in English, I should add that this blog aspires to bilingualism – French and English bilingualism, that is.  The subject matter, and the potential audience, requires it.  But how, exactly, that will be put into practice remains to be determined.  A full translation of every entry?  Alternating English and French entries?  I will leave that question for later.