Dimanche prochain, je m’envole pour le congrès annuel de la Société historique du Canada. J’aurai le plaisir d’y animer une séance organisée par le Laboratoire d’histoire et de patrimoine de Montréal (« From Conversations to Cocreation: Historians and Heritage Professionals Explore the History of Montréal | De la conversation à la coproduction : quand les chercheurs universitaires et les acteurs du patrimoine se penchent sur l’histoire de Montréal »), ainsi qu’une table-ronde sur la récente traduction de l’ouvrage de Michèle Dagenais City of Water: An Environmental History. Ce sera également pour moi l’occasion de présenter mes recherches sur le journaliste du Devoir Louis Dupire (je ne dirais malheureusement rien sur ses talents d’archer).
Voici le résumé de ma communication:
In many ways, large cities are akin to Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities”: no individual citizen can embrace and explore the variety of districts and neighborhoods composing a metropolis. Yet, as in the case of nations, these large cities can elicit a strong sense of belonging. In this paper, I propose to examine more closely one of the primary vehicles through which an individual city dweller can “read” and understand his or her home city in the first half of the twentieth century: the newspaper. During this period, major metropolitan newspapers are a central source of information – and sometimes disinformation – for those inside or outside of the city who want to better understand the complexity of urban life. To demonstrate this, I will concentrate my attention on the case of Louis Dupire. Born in France in 1887 and educated in the United States, Dupire embraces journalism at a relatively young age and joins Le Devoir in 1912. After covering political affairs in Ottawa and Quebec, he becomes a columnist in 1922 and, until his sudden death in 1942, covers municipal affairs in Montreal, writing hundreds of texts on urban social and political problems. As I hope to demonstrate by examining those texts, Dupire’s case is particularly telling. A close friend of conservative Premier Maurice Duplessis writing in the pages of Le Devoir at a time when this newspaper is aligned on the most nationalist elements in French-Canada, Dupire represents an important but forgotten voice in a conversation that will lead to a better understanding of major urban problems in Montreal during the interwar period. That’s certainly why, in its eulogy, rival newspaper La Patrie will describe Dupire as the most metropolitan of metropolitans.