Marielle Corbeil-Saint-Pierre, Nelligan’s niece, second from right, on the beach of the Anse Fontaine Claire in October 2004, for the launch of the book “Nelligan à Cacouna’’.
Cacouna offered Nelligan a world of sounds, colours, scents, sensations unique to its maritime setting. Although a dark destiny awaited the poet – he entered an asylum in August 1899, a year after his last visit to Cacouna, and remained there until his death in 1941 – reports from those who visited him, including his niece Marielle, reveal that memories of his freedom-filled summers in Cacouna stayed with him throughout his life.
“For about a dozen years,” says Marielle Corbeil-Saint-Pierre, Nelligan’s niece, “my father, Émile Corbeil, took us to visit my uncle at the Saint-Jean-de-Dieu sanitorium. (...) In the course of conversation, my uncle Émile sometimes talked about Cacouna: its hotels and gardens, a villa among the trees, and especially the ever-changing St. Lawrence, with its almost musical play of colours. He was pensive when he evoked the past. I noticed that his eyes were fixed on me. I felt he was reliving his youth with a secret fondness, confusing me with his younger sister Gertrude, my mother.” (Nelligan à Cacouna, p.118-119)
Photo source :
Source : Yvan Roy. From left to right: Paul Wyczynski, Yvan Roy, Marielle Corbeil-Saint-Pierre and her daughter Anne Saint-Pierre.