Gérard Bessette, novelist, critic (born at Ste-Anne-de-Sabrevois, Qué 25 Feb 1920, died Kingston, Ont, 21 Feb 2005). Bessette graduated from the École normale Jacques-Cartier in 1944 and obtained a doctorate in French literature from Université de Montréal in 1950. He was already a poet: his poem "Le Coureur" had taken 2nd prize at the Concours littéraires du Québec (1947) and he had been Canada's representative at the 1948 Olympic Games (poetry section). He went on to publish novels about Québec and Montréal society of the 1950s - La Bagarre (1958), Le Libraire (1960) and Les Pédagogues (1961) - in which he denounced the stifling influence of tradition on social and aesthetic standards.

Bessette became a pioneer in psychoanalytic literary criticism in Canada with Une Littérature en ébullition (1968), Trois Romanciers québécois (1973) and Mes Romans et moi (1979). The development of this body of work was substantially influenced by a teaching career that took its author from University of Saskatchewan (1946-49) to Duquesne University (1951-58), to RMC, Kingston (1958-60), and then to Queen's, from which he retired in 1979. He was visiting writer at Université du Québec à Montréal in 1984. Two works are directly linked to Bessette's teaching career: an anthology, De Québec à Saint-Boniface: récits et nouvelles du Canada français (1968) and Histoire de la littérature canadienne-française (1968), which he co-authored.

Since his novel, L'Incubation (1965, Prix du Québec and Governor General's Award), critics have more fully recognized the richness and originality of his writing, which experiments in an ironic way with intimist and contemporary forms of expression. These forms are found in Bessette's more recent fiction: Le Cycle (1971; Governor General's Award 1971; trans 1987), Les Anthropoïdes (1977), Le Semestre (1979) and Les Dires d'Omar Marin (1985). A fellow of the RSC since 1966, Bessette received Québec's most prestigious literary award, the Prix David, in 1980 for the entire corpus of his work.