Les Anciens canadiens (1863), a Canadian classic combining the appeal of historical romance and local realism, was written by Philippe Aubert de Gaspé Sr, in his seventies in response to the call by the journal Les Soirées canadiennes for the preservation of the past. Set in rural Québec at the time of the conquest, the action juxtaposes the lives of 2 friends doomed to fight each other: Jules d'Haberville, future seigneur at St-Jean-Port-Joli, and Archibald Cameron of Locheill, an exiled Highlander in love with Jules's sister Blanche.

Walter Scott's novels merge with French Canadian folklore in Gaspé's fictionalized memoir; his anecdotal style blends historical materials with legends, such as the story of La Corriveau, in a nostalgic, ultimately heroic portrait of New France. The definitive tenth French edition was published by Fides in 1975; Georgina Pennée's translation (1864) is surpassed by Charles G.D. Roberts's The Canadians of Old (1890).