Two Solitudes

The title of the 1945 novel by Hugh MacLennan that became synonymous with English-French relations in Canada.

The title itself was borrowed by MacLennan from the works of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke:

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.

MacLennan’s novel tells the multi-generational story of French and English-Canadian protagonists interacting disastrously during the early years of the 20th Century and more hopefully decades later.

“Two Solitudes” quickly entered the political and cultural lexicon as a pithy description of the lack of connection and understanding between English and French Canada. It was frequently invoked in the media during each of the country’s successive (and perennially impending) national unity crises.

Image source: Wikimedia

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