Gérard Dagenais

Gérard Dagenais, pseudonym of Albert Pascal; journalist and grammarian (b at Montréal 1913 - d there 1981). Dagenais, a colourful personality and scrupulous observer closely involved with the literary circle of his time, studied law but quickly abandoned it for journalism.

Dagenais, Gérard

Gérard Dagenais, pseudonym of Albert Pascal; journalist and grammarian (b at Montréal 1913 - d there 1981). Dagenais, a colourful personality and scrupulous observer closely involved with the literary circle of his time, studied law but quickly abandoned it for journalism. He collaborated on diverse publications (Le Soleil, and L'Ordre, 1934; Le Canada, 1937; Illustrations nouvelles, 1939; Revue Moderne, 1940-1944), before founding his own newspaper, La victoire des Deux-Montagnes (1948-1950). At the same time, he pursued activities as a translator for the Federal Parliament (1936-1937) and the Canadian Press (1957-1959).

In 1944, he founded les Éditions Pascal, which published among others Gabrielle Roy's Bonheur d'occasion/The Tin Flute (1945), but the business was quickly swallowed up and he found himself back in journalism and advertising for the Quebec government's ministère du Bien-être social et de la Jeunesse (1947-1950). The recipient of a Canada Council grant in 1960, he went to study linguistics in France, a subject he returned to teach the following year at the University of Montréal.

Gérard Dagenais was regularly called upon to express himself on television and in the newspaper Le Devoir. He was a demanding grammarian and became the terror of journalists and authors - including Gabrielle Roy - ruthlessly hunting down, although not without humour, the least error, clumsiness or Anglicism. He wrote Réflexions sur nos façons d'écrire et de parler, 1959-1960; Des mots et des phrases pour mieux parler, 1966; Nos écrivains et le français, 1967. Although somewhat forgotten today, his Dictionnaire des difficultés de la langue française au Canada (1967), awarded a prize by the Académie française, made him one of the most worthy representatives and ardent defenders of the French language in Québec.