Concordia University

http://www.concordia.ca/content/concordia/en/offices/archives/honorary-degree-recipients/1991/06/michel-tremblay.html

Honorary degree citation - Michel Tremblay

By: Donald L. Boisvert, June 1991

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Michel Tremblay, eminent playwright and novelist, an individual who has profoundly transformed contemporary Québec literature and given voice to the identity and aspirations of a people.

Né dans le quartier du Plateau Mont-Royal, là où son oeuvre tient les sources de son inspiration, Michel Tremblay, après ses études secondaires, a appris le métier de linotypiste à l'Institut des arts graphiques du Québec. C'est en 1964 qu'il connaît son premier succès, lorsqu'il reçoit le prix du jury pour sa pièce Le train dans le cadre du concours jeunes auteurs de Radio-Canada.

The year 1968 was a momentous one for Québec theatre. Michel Tremblay's play Les belles soeurs was first staged in Montréal. This event literally revolutionized the arts in Québec, and its impact remains as significant today as it was some twenty years ago. With the introduction of joual as an appropriate dramatic and literary idiom, Michel Tremblay almost single-handedly re-defined Québec literature and its role within the larger society. Les belles soeurs has been hailed as "the single most important event in the history of Québec theatre". It continues to be performed in several countries.

En tout, Michel Tremblay a écrit près d'une vingtaine de pièces. Il suffit de mentionner des titres tels que A toi pour toujours ta Marie-Lou, Hosanna, Bonjour là bonjour, Damnée Manon, Sacrée Sandra, L'impromptu d'Outremont, Les anciennes odeurs, Albertine en cinq temps, Le vrai monde? et La maison suspendue pour reconnaître l'étendue et la qualité exceptionnelle de l'oeuvre dramatique de Michel Tremblay. A l'instar des grands écrivains, elle est empreinte du regard universel.

Michel Tremblay is also a highly regarded and important novelist. His five volume Chroniques du Plateau Mont-Royal, which was initiated in 1978 with the publication of the novel La grosse femme d'à côté est enceinte, is a landmark of Québec literature. In this monumental work, Michel Tremblay has sought, in his own words, "to create an epic of my people".

Le talent de Michel Tremblay est aussi vaste qu'il est renommé. En plus de ses romans et de ses oeuvres pour la scène, on se doit de souligner ses adaptations d'auteurs tels que Paul Zindel, Tennessee Williams et Anton Tchekov, ses scénarios pour films, en particulier Il était une fois dans l'est, ainsi que le livret de l'opéra Nelligan, présenté ici même il y a maintenant un an. Michel Tremblay est également le récipiendaire de plusieurs prix, dont l'Ordre des arts et des lettres de France et l'Ordre national du Québec.

Michel Tremblay was writer in residence and adjunct professor in the creative writing programme at Concordia University from 1981 to 1982.

As the most eminent writer of his generation, it is indeed fitting that the University should honour Michel Tremblay today. In so doing, we not only wish to pay tribute to the exceptional accomplishments of one of Québec's most distinguished literary figures. We also seek to acknowledge that a culture needs its creators if it is to attain the self-understanding and critical perspective proper to its full maturity. Michel Tremblay's work has given a voice to the voiceless, and a sense of pride to those who were taught shame. His plays and novels, in their portrayal of "le monde ordinaire" or of the marginalized in society, continue to speak in the authentic language of liberation.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Michel Tremblay, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causal.

Back to top

© Concordia University