Louisiana's Firstborn Author with Evandre
by Charles Edwards O'Neill
Viel, written by the widely published Jesuit historian Charles Edwards O'Neill, contains an examination of the literature produced by French settlers of the Mississippi Valley during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a short biography of Etienne-Bernard-Alexandre Viel, Louisiana's first native-born author, and an analysis of the literary and educational influences that shaped Viel's writing style.
O'Neill's scholarly essays are followed by a transcription of Evandre, Viel's three-act play, presented for the first time in France in 1769. A pastoral drama, Evandre is modelled on the style of ancient Greek theater. Viel's play recounts Evandre's banishment from his father's kingdom by a jealous brother, his adoption by a neighboring king, and Evandre's ultimate reconciliation with his father, a happy ending brought about in part by the erstwhile prince's virtuous life. A didactic work, Evandre was designed to teach morality and forbearance to Veil's students.
Because of its broad-ranging contents, this work is if interest to anyone interested in the early history of the Mississippi Valley. It is also of interest to anyone concerned with early American literature and eighteenth-century French literature.
Hardcover, 96 pages, ©1991