Vadeboncoeur, Pierre

Pierre Vadeboncoeur, essayist (b at Strathmore, near Montréal, 1920). A man of thought and action who became a full-time writer fairly late in life, Vadeboncoeur has in the last 20 years contributed several major works to the literature of ideas. After studying law and economics, he worked in business, freelance journalism and translation. During the 1949 ASBESTOS STRIKE he allied himself with Jean MARCHAND, P.E. TRUDEAU and Gérard PELLETIER - and, especially, with the mine workers. He became an employee of the Catholic trade union association, which in 1960 became the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (seeCONFEDERATION OF NATIONAL TRADE UNIONS).

A contributor to the magazines CITÉ LIBRE, LIBERTÉ, Socialisme and PARTI PRIS, Vadeboncoeur's first important article was "La Ligne du risque," about Paul-Émile BORDUAS and the creative artist as a prophet of liberty. The essay gave both title and tone to a somewhat disparate collection published in 1963. The tone of the collection Lettres et colères (1969) echoed that of the great French Catholic pamphleteers. He also brought together polemical articles about Québec nationalism, Un Génocide en douce (1976) and Chaque jour, l'indépendance (1978). Indépendances (1972), however, is not a political thesis but a cultural essay about youth and youth movements after Marcuse and the events of May 1968 in Paris. Les Deux Royaumes (1978) explores the limits inherent in any system, attacks reason for its authoritarianism, and defends intuition, meditation and spirituality. Other books by Vadeboncoeur are L'Autorité du peuple (1965), Un Amour libre (1970), La DERNIÈRE HEURE ET LA PREMIÈRE (1973), Trois Essais sur l'insignifiance, in which he deals with American platitudes and USA cultural imperialism, L'Absence (1985), addressed to a grammatical second person, Essais inactuels (1987), on classics in art and literature, and Dix-sept tableaux d'enfant (1991), on the metamorphosis of a child into a painter.