Friday, July 13, 2012

New book by Norman Beaupré - Cajetan the Stargazer

Press release: July 16, 2012

Published local author, Norman Beaupré, has just launched his 17th book, a novel dealing with the building of medieval cathedrals. It’s essentially the story of a man called Cajetan who grows up to be a builder of cathedrals having followed the steps from apprentice to journeyman to master architect. He is called Cajetan the Stargazer after his grandfather who was a master sculptor since both he and Cajetan are dreamers with a creative spirit. Cajetan begins his journey as an apprentice in Reims, France then goes on to England to pursue his trade until he is sent to Flanders where he earns the full rank of master architect. Unfortunately, the cathedral he is working on collapses and he must find his own path in cathedral building. He finds it in Évreux, France where he builds his very own cathedral as a master architect. He wants to call it Sainte Marie de la Belle Étoile/Holy Mary of the Beautiful Star.

Prior to his going to Évreux, Cajetan undertakes a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in western Spain where pilgrims went to seek spiritual strength and guidance under the protection of the apostle Saint James who is believed to be buried there.  This pilgrimage is well known and made by many even to this day. The novel also touches upon Cajetan’s sister, Marie Dieudonnée, who becomes the abbess of the famous Fontevraud Abbey in the Loire Valley where Eleanor of Aquitaine spent her last years and is buried in its crypt.  Their brother, Abélard François, pursues the path of actor on the medieval stage, and the novel thus explores medieval theater as well as poetry written and sung by troubadours. The novel gives the reader an open window on the creative arts and literature of the Middle Ages while concentrating on the building of Gothic cathedrals.

Norman Beaupré relied on his copious notes on the Gothic while he was attending a summer seminar on Gothic architecture in the Île-de-France led by Professor Stephen Murray of Columbia University in 1989. Beaupré’s research paper for the National Endowment for the Humanities that sponsored the summer seminar was based on the Green Man in Gothic architecture. He uses some of the findings on the Green Man in his novel. That and much research went into the construction of a highly-readable novel called Cajetan the Stargazer based on history and architecture of the late 13th and early 14th Centuries in Europe.

For more information on Norman Beaupré, visit his website at

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Franco-American Connection Group on Facebook

This blog is slowly being replaced by my Franco-American Connection group on Facebook. If you are a member of Facebook, link to it and ask to be a member.

Monday, August 09, 2010

New book by Norman Beaupré - The Man with the Easel of Horn - The Life and Works of Émile Friant

Press Release: August 2010

The author discovered one of Émile Friant’s paintings entitled, La Douleur, in the Philippe Claudel film, “I’ve Loved You So Long.” It’s a painting filled with realism and touching pain of a woman leaning over the open grave of a beloved one. Beaupré was so impressed by the painting that he decided to do research on the artist. This led him to the realization that very little had been written about Émile Friant. Much research had to be done on his life and paintings.

Émile Friant was born in the province of Alsace-Lorraine and later moved to Paris where he established his studio. His paintings are well known for their sense of realism, hence the title of “The Man With the Easel of Horn.” This reference was taken from Homer’s Odyssey.
This novel can be seen as a companion work to Beaupré’s recent publication on Van Gogh, The Boy With the Blue Cap. Both novels are based on the historical and aesthetic facts surrounding the lives of the two artists. Van Gogh is considered a post-impressionist, while Friant is a realist painter. Both experimented with new styles and subject matter. Although Friant is not as well known as Van Gogh, he is considered an important artist with a considerable artistic output. Beaupré has used his experience in the fine arts and his travels to world museums to fashion a novel that is both entertaining and informative, while maintaining the creative essence of the novel. The following elements are incorporated in this work: Friant’s many paintings well analyzed, the Parisian ateliers of his day, photography as a tool for painting, the Grand Salon of the 19th and the early 20th Centuries, the literary life of Friant’s times, the 1889 World’s Fair that introduced the Eiffel Tower, and the close relationship with the best French actor of his day, Bernard Coquelin, as well as the Franco-Prussian War and WWI. There are enough elements to make the novel lively and fascinating.

Moreover, we encounter a seduction scene on the part of a young woman, Mademoiselle de Vaucanson, a difficult friendship with an Italian connoisseur, Angelo Scarfieti, who tries to teach the artist the notion of sensuousness, the struggle with the concept of infinity on the part of the creative self in Émile Friant, and a professional relationship with the renowned artist, John Singer Sargent. This is a work of facts interwoven with imaginary happenings in the world of fine arts with Paris as its cultural epicenter. The local color of Alsace-Lorraine is well represented by its geography, food and recipes and a lifestyle only known in that region of France.

Norman Beaupré
has written and published twelve works, and this novel is his 13th work while he has already finished translating his very fist novel, Le Petit Mangeur de Fleurs, so that whoever does not read French will be able to read his most popular work, an autobiographical novel that was published in 1999 by Les Éditions JCL in Chicoutimi, Québec. Beaupré is Professor Emeritus at the University of New England and he was decorated by the French Government in 2008 with the medal of Officier des Arts et Lettres for his outstanding contribution to the French culture. He plans to visit Alsace-Lorraine in the near future.

For more information on Norman Beaupré, visit his website at

Friday, September 11, 2009

New book by Norman Beaupré - English translation of La Souillonne

The long dramatic monologue, La Souillonne, by Norman Beaupré, became so popular that many people who could not understand French asked the author if there was to be an English translation. At first, he found that translating his work would be a most difficult task since translating the Franco-American dialect is a real challenge. However, once he got into it, he realized that he could do it, and do it well. He managed to translate his play with similar language that ordinary folks use in their everyday activities that characterizes the language of la Souillonne. The play was performed in France in October 2008 : Paris, Dijon and Angers. It was also performed in Lamèque, N.B., Lewiston and Biddeford, Maine.

La Souillonne is a very ordinary person with an extraordinary sense of humor coupled with a keen ability for observation. She is a former mill worker and has lived in the same neighborhood, the same parish, for some fifty-nine years. She knows the people of her surroundings, their quirks, their ways of thinking and speaking out, and especially their way of life. Her anecdotes range from mill stories, old beliefs, washings and cleaning, things in nature, the old button can, to her own story and the love of her life, Willy. La Souillonne’s way of telling things is direct and without embellishment. She likes to open up her heart to people, the result of which is this long monologue, as she sits in her kitchen telling her stories and talking about herself and others while giving her thoughts on her own experiences in life.

To learn more about the author, visit his website at

Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Book by Norman Beaupré - The Boy With the Blue Cap -- Van Gogh in Arles

Of all the novels published by Norman Beaupré, The Boy With the Blue Cap -- Van Gogh in Arles is one that holds a special place in this writer’s heart and creative imagination because it’s a work melding together historical fiction and the fine arts.

Professor Emeritus Beaupré enjoyed teaching world literature and French Impressionism as well as Post-Impressionism during his college career. Over the years, he developed a special liking for Van Gogh, the man, his drawings and his paintings. This novel deals with 73 of Van Gogh’s paintings in Arles as well as in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The story is told by a young precocious boy, Camille Roulin, son of the postal worker, Joseph Roulin. Van Gogh painted the portraits of the entire Roulin family while in Arles. The reader is brought into Van Gogh’s world of vibrant color and accomplished artistry by means of a close relationship with a boy who is privileged to follow the artist around in his many excursions throughout the countryside of Arles as well as other places frequented by the artist. The artist at work relates to the boy his techniques and theories on painting and drawing. The novel not only deals with the aesthetic side of Van Gogh but also introduces us to his spiritual side so often neglected by some authors and art critics. Also, as part of the novel’s plot based on plausible happenings in and around Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, an element of intrigue is added with the introduction of two gypsy women in Van Gogh’s life. Gypsies find sacred ground at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer where their favored black saint, Sara-la-kâli, is kept in the crypt of the local church. They dress her up and put scarves and ribbons on her statue. Every year gypsies hold their annual pilgrimage and they come from across Europe to this sacred shrine. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the Mediterranean shore inspired Van Gogh to paint some of his scenes filled with vibrant colors. The novel has a way of weaving the artistic life of Van Gogh, including the bold presence of Gauguin, while telling the story of a boy, Camille Roulin, and his family drawn to a stranger whose exploits and talent to paint in an extraordinary way are seen from his viewpoint as an observant boy fascinated by words and colors. The novel also captures the life and flavor of Provençal life during the period of eighteen months Van Gogh lived and painted in Arles and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

The author traveled to Arles, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer in 2005 to do research for his novel. The following year he went to Amsterdam to continue his research and to view the actual painting of the “boy with the blue cap” simply named, Camille Roulin,” at the Van Gogh Museum.

This is Beaupré’s tenth work. He writes both in French and in English. His one-woman play, a dramatic monologue, was produced in Paris in October of this year. This is the first time a Franco-American work was performed in Paris. Marie Cormier from Oakland, Maine, the actress who plays the part of La Souillonne, was featured in the play. Following the Paris performance both Cormier and Beaupré traveled to Dijon then on to Angers for two more performances. A Biddeford performance is planned early next year.

Beaupré was decorated with the medal of the Order of Arts and Literature, grade d’officier, in June 2008 by the French Consul in Boston. The Ministry of Culture and Communications in Paris informed Beaupré that he was being honored for his body of works and his outstanding contribution to French culture.

He has already started on his 11th work, a collection of tales and stories in French with several contributors who are now in the process of writing their tales. The new work is entitled, Voix Francophones de chez nous, contes et histoires. The collection will be out by late spring 2009.

To learn more about the author, visit his website at