Marcotte, Gilles

Gilles Marcotte, journalist, critic, professor, novelist, essayist (b at Sherbrooke, Qué 1925). Marcotte has been one of the best-known and most-respected Québec intellectuals. First a journalist at La Tribune, then at Le Devoir and La Presse, Marcotte worked for Radio-Canada and the National Film Board before becoming literature professor at Université de Montréal in 1965. He has been active in publishing, notably Écrits du Canada français, since 1954 and has written a series of columns in L' ACTUALITÉ. Often consulted and interviewed, the winner of many major prizes, Marcotte has been at the centre of every kind of literary activity. He has written 2 novels, Le Poids de Dieu (1962) and Retour à Coolbrook (1965) and a spare and sombre narrative, Un Voyage (1973).

As a novelist, Marcotte, a master of narrative technique, sometimes lacks daring and spontaneity; he has some difficulty in seeing and being seen. Perhaps his best fiction is a collection of short stories (la vie vieille, 1989) on the themes of love and death, travel and solitude, creation and social life.

As a critic, Marcotte has no such problems. His collection of essays, Une LITTÉRATURE QUI SE FAIT (1962), is a benchmark in the evolution of Québec critical thinking, opening new horizons on Saint-Denys GARNEAU and on such themes as solitude, exile and vertigo. Le Roman à l'imparfait (1976) is an original analysis of the experiences of 5 novelists struggling with characters who are themselves writers, storytellers and readers: Bessette, Ducharme, Blais, Godbout and Ferron. He published an important study on the prose of Rimbaud in 1983. In La Littérature et le reste (1980), an exchange of letters with André Brochu, Marcotte develops and systematizes his theoretical ideas with grace and wit.

Marcotte's best journalism has been collected in Littérature et circonstances (1989) and l'Amateur de musique (1992). Friends and colleagues dedicated to the emeritus professor Miscellanées en l'honneur de Gilles Marcotte (1995).