Essayist François Ricard has died

Essayist, publisher and professor of literature François Ricard died Thursday at the age of 74 following a long illness. His departure shook the entire Quebec literary community, which had just lost one of its greatest thinkers.

It was the publishing house Boréal – which published François Ricard’s books – which announced the sad news on Friday by way of a press release. When contacted by The duty, the general manager, Pascal Assathiany, was still in shock. “We spoke last week,” he says. He was in good spirits, he was neither depressed nor downcast. He was a beating Francois. He says his condition has deteriorated rapidly over the past few days, taking everyone by surprise.

Born on June 4, 1947 in Shawinigan, François Ricard studied at McGill University and then obtained a doctorate in literature at the University of Aix-en-Provence, France, in 1971. Returning to Quebec the same year , he began teaching French literature and Quebec literature at McGill University.

Some of his students took their keyboards to pay tribute to him on the web. Among them, the writer and professor of literature Mathieu Bélisle, who wrote his thesis and his thesis under his supervision between 2000 and 2008. “François Ricard was a master and I owe him a lot. He taught me to write, and a little to read, too. […] It was with him that I understood that I was not writing primarily for myself, nor to serve myself, but to serve others, to be read and understood. And what a school it was. My dissertation and thesis chapters always came back almost entirely rewritten, commented on, crossed out in red — it was daunting and rewarding,” he shared on Facebook.

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But it is above all as an author that François Ricard made himself known to the general public by publishing several outstanding works. Among other things, testing literature against itself (1985) and The lyrical generation (1992), still considered today as an essential study on the baby-boomer generation.

He was also a great specialist in the work of the Franco-Manitoban novelist Gabrielle Roy. At his request, he wrote his biography Gabrielle Roy, a lifein 1996. He was also at the head of the Gabrielle-Roy collection, where he played a very important role in the preservation and dissemination of the work of the novelist.

The writer Milan Kundera had also chosen him to produce the prefaces for the reissues of all of his works, including in the La Pléiade collection.

Rigorous editor

In addition to publishing at Boréal, François Ricard had been a member of the editorial committee there since 1983. He directed the “Papiers collés” collection there. He has thus accompanied great authors, including Fernand Dumont, Serge Bouchard, Gilles Archambault, and André Major.

François Ricard was also the publisher of younger writers, including Dominique Fortier, Nadine Bismuth and Isabelle Daunais, recalls Pascal Assathiany. The managing director has only good things to say about his work as an editor, noting his “remarkable intelligence, his great culture, and his talent as a communicator”. “He also had a caustic irony, you were never bored with him,” he adds.

During his career, François Ricard was also a critic and columnist in several Quebec media, including The day, The dutyor Freedom which he even directed for several years. He was also a host of literary programs at Radio-Canada in the 1970s.

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