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Athabasca University

Ringuet (Philippe Panneton)

Photo of an old homestead

Philippe Panneton was born in 1895 in Trois-Rivières, Québec. He studied medicine at Université Laval and in Montreal, where he got his degree in 1920. He traveled to Paris for his postgraduate work, where he was free from literary limits of the "Catholic Index," a long list of books banned in Quebec by the Catholic Church. He returned to Quebec where he practiced medicine in Montreal, becoming a professor in 1935 at the Université de Montréal. He also sat as the president of L’Académie canadienne-française from 1947 to 1953. In 1956, he was named ambassador to Portugal, and died in Lisbon in 1960.

Ringuet, which was his mother’s maiden name, published his first book in 1924, titled Littératures... è la manière de.... He wrote this book in collaboration with Louis Francoeur, and it contains parodies of popular French-Canadian authors of the time, including Lionel Groulx, Camille Roy, and Henri Bourassa. He was severely criticized for what was seen as disrespecting Abbé Groulx in particular, but nevertheless won the Prix David.

In 1938, Ringuet published Trente Arpents (Thirty Acres), his first novel. A story of one rural family’s rise and fall. Although taking place in the traditional rural setting of Quebec "Roman de la terre," Ringuet’s perspective goes beyond the limits of the genre. He relied on realism to try to portray more accurately the life of the rural Quebec farmer. He won another Prix David, and the English translation won a Governor-General’s Award.

Ringuet’s later fiction often explores the discontent that confronts his character in their urban settings. He was never to again garner the same level of success as he did with his first novel, but Ringuet was nonetheless honored with the Prix de L’Académie française in 1953, the Prix Duvernay in 1955, and the Lorne Pierce Medal in 1959. (by Lee Skallerup)

Updated February 12 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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