Reginald Hamel

Reginald Hamel, professor and essayist (b at Frampton, Québec, 1931). Early on, he demonstrated an encyclopaedic mind and an insatiable curiosity that enabled him to switch from business studies to the Humanities, then join the army as an artillery officer.

Hamel, Reginald

Reginald Hamel, professor and essayist (b at Frampton, Québec, 1931). Early on, he demonstrated an encyclopaedic mind and an insatiable curiosity that enabled him to switch from business studies to the Humanities, then join the army as an artillery officer. He was alternately an explorer (Arctic, Northwest Territories, Greenland, Alaska), anthropologist, archaeologist, and globetrotter, and he became a technical advisor at the Musée national of Man du Canada (now the Museum of Civilization) in Ottawa, and a conservator at the Musée historique of the National Archives (id. 1958). At the same time, he enrolled at the University of Ottawa where he completed a master's degree (1961) on the poet Charles Gill (1871-1918) and a doctorate (1971) on Gaëtane de Montreuil (1867-1951), the first female journalist in Québec.

Named a professor at the Université de Montréal, he founded the Centre de documentation des lettres canadiennes-françaises (1964 - that disappeared for political reasons in 1969), and taught in several foreign countries: the United States, Canada, England, France, Israel, and China. He is among the major current researchers in Québécois and francophone literature as attested to by his countless articles in French, English, Hebrew and Chinese, and his indefatigable activity as a bibliographer (Le Préromantisme au Canada français, 1744-1864, 1965; Cahiers bibliographiques des lettres québécoises, 1966-1969; Bibliographie sommaire sur l'histoire de l'écriture féminine au Canada, 1769-1961, 1974; La Louisiane créole 1762-1900, littéraire, politique et sociale, 1984), literary historian (Dictionnaire des auteurs de langue française en Amérique du Nord, 1989; Panorama de la littérature québécoise contemporaine, 1997; Dictionnaire des poètes d'ici de 1600 à nos jours, 2000) and essayist (La littérature et l'érotisme, 1969).

Passionate about the 19th century, he is also the most knowledgeable about the work of Charles Gill (La correspondance de Charles Gill, 1885-1918, 1969; Charles Gill, oeuvres poétiques complètes, édition critique, 1996; Charles Gill: Contes, chroniques, critiques, prose annotée, 2000; Charles Gill, peintre, 1871-1918, 2000) and an international specialist on Alexandre Dumas (Dumas... insolite, 1988; Dictionnaire Dumas, 1990). In 2002, during his research at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Réginald Hamel, by a masterstroke, found an unpublished work by Alexandre Dumas, Les voleurs d'or, a play in five acts inspired from an account written by one of his mistresses Céleste de Chabrillan in 1857. Among one of the thirty great world specialists on Alexandre Dumas, Réginald Hamel in 2002, published le Dictionnaire Dumas, (in collaboration with his wife Pierrette Méthé), an analytical index of characters (4,194 in all) who appeared in Dumas' works. On November 30, 2002, Réginald Hamel was personally invited by President Chirac to assist in the transfer of Dumas' ashes to the Panthéon. Furthermore, the ministre de l'éducation nationale de France announced his nomination as Officier de l'Ordre des Palmes académiques. Réginald Hamel was decorated in 2000 with the Order of les francophones d'Amérique.