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