Novelists on the art of the novel

Since becoming a major literary genre in the 20th century, the novel has been examined from every angle by literary theoreticians. But, while they may have studied the books, they paid much less attention to that which the novelists themselves had to say about their art, an omission that the Groupe de recherche sur le roman moderne (Research Group on the Modern Novel) is attempting to rectify. 

And there is certainly no lack of material! Essays, prefaces, correspondence, diaries, interviews… French and English novelists of the past couple of centuries were extremely prolific! The work of this research group has shown that the authors' views on their art differed greatly from that of the literary critics. To the novelist, the novel is not only a site of fiction, but a tool for understanding the world, original and distinct from other literary genres. The research group, a new centre dedicated to research into the French, English and Quebec novel, directed by Isabelle Daunais from Université McGill, is endeavouring to reveal this other history of the novel. 

One of the achievements of the research group is the creation of an interactive bibliography which, when complete, will offer a database of more than 300 references and citations, with query tools and review papers. The research group has also published two books: Le roman vu par les romanciers (Quebec, Nota bene, 2008) and Gabrielle Roy et l'art du roman (Montreal, Boréal, 2010), written in collaboration with the Groupe de recherche sur Gabrielle Roy (G2R2). In November 2010, the Group published a bilingual issue of the University of Toronto Quarterly, entitled La poétique des romanciers / Novelists on the Novel.


Groupe de recherche sur le roman moderne


Isabelle Daunais, Université McGill

Regular members

  • Michel Biron, Université McGill 
  • Marcie Frank, Université Concordia 
  • Allan Hepburn, Université McGill 
  • François Ricard, Université McGill 
  • Peter Sabor, Université McGill