Find members of CSECS in the Directory of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
2017: April London
April London earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Toronto, followed by a DPhil at the University of Oxford. At a time when a growing wave of recovery of, and access to, women's writing began, she was poised to contribute to one of the most significant critical developments of the late 20th century. In addition to a career-long series of articles on such topics as garden motifs in early fiction, the Jacobin novel, and utopian fictions, she published in 1999 with Cambridge University Press the book Women and Property in the Eighteenth-Century Novel. There have followed important and ongoing publications contributing to our understandings of literary history as a practice developed in the late eighteenth century and of the anecdote as a form that flowered in tandem with literary history—with a return to the novel in The Cambridge Introduction to the Eighteenth-Century Novel in 2012, and The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660–1820 (forthcoming). April London's very high standards as a scholar are matched by her collegiality. She served faithfully for many years as a member of the CSECS executive, tasked with attending the annual Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences policy meetings in Ottawa, and has also devoted time over multiple years to the roles of Chair of the Ontario Graduate Scholarships committee and Reviews Editor for Eighteenth-Century Fiction. At our annual conferences she can be seen deep in conversation with senior scholars and graduate students alike, furthering the exchange of ideas following a panel, recommending readings, reminding us of the shared purpose behind our gathering together.
2015: John D. Baird
With degrees from St. Andrews and McMaster topped off by a PhD from Princeton, John Baird joined the English Department at Victoria College (now University) in our centennial year of 1967. He has been a stalwart member of CSECS since its inception in 1971 and may well hold the record for attending the most consecutive meetings: twenty-five. His major scholarly achievement to date is the Clarendon Edition of The Poems of William Cowper which he co-edited with Charles A. Ryskamp (vol. I, 1980; vols II and III, 1995). Together with Chantel Lavoie and Andreas Motsch, Dr. Baird edited Lumen, vol. XXI (2002), the proceedings of the 2000 conference held in Toronto. In addition to his many scholarly publications, he is also known for his superb recitations as evidenced by his readings from Tristram Shandy at the 2010 CSECS conference in St. John's and his word-perfect rendition of a Beyond the Fringe sketch at the 2015 CSECS banquet in Vancouver which had the audience in stitches. A longtime contributor to Notes & Queries, more recently he has rescued people like Richard Watson (appointed professor of chemistry at Cambridge in 1764 and then divinity in 1771) from obscurity. After more than forty years of award-winning teaching and high-level administrative service, Dr. Baird was appointed professor emeritus at Victoria University in 2010.
2012: Robert Merrett
Having joined the English Department at The University of Alberta in 1969 where he was promoted to full professor in 1981, Robert James Merrett became an emeritus in 2012. A founding member of CSECS, he served its executive in several capacities: Secretary-Treasurer 1982-82; Vice-President 1979-80 and 1982-83; President 1991- 94. As Managing Editor of Man and Nature /L'homme et la nature / Lumen from 1986 to 1995, he created an investment fund to strengthen the society's futurity. As fundraiser, he was for six years an Associate Dean of Arts (1990-93 and 1997-99), becoming Vice-President (Development) for the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Ottawa from 2001 to 2006. He has published widely on eighteenth-century English and French Literature. His third book, Daniel Defoe: Contrarian, appeared from the University of Toronto Press in March, 2013.
2010: David Smith
David Smith is one of the founding members of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. He is an eminent specialist in Helvetius and Mme de Graffigny and has contributed many learned studies to them. He collaborated in the critical edition of their letters, published by the Voltaire Foundation, prepared bibliographies of the two authors and was the co-organiser of the international conference: "Françoise de Graffigny, femme des lumières," which took place in 2014 at the Château de Lunéville. David Smith has also published widely on Voltaire. His professional activity led to his election (from 1987 to 1995) as Vice President of the International Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. In addition to his functions as teacher and researcher at Memorial University, and afterwards at the University of Toronto, where he directed several doctoral theses, David Smith was Head of the French Department at the University of Toronto for many years. To underline the breadth and the quality of his work, a study bursary, offered annually by the Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, carries the title: "Bourse de recherche D.W. Smith sur le XVIIIe siècle." David Smith has been a member of the Royal Society of Canada since 1997.
2006: Isobel Grundy
Isobel Grundy came to Canada in 1990 to take up the post of Henry Marshall Tory Professor at the University of Alberta, in the same year in which she published, with Virginia Blain and Patricia Clements, The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Already an established scholar of Samuel Johnson, Professor Grundy began her longstanding association with our society by presenting to the 1992 conference (St. John's) a plenary lecture on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's campaign for smallpox inoculation in the face of a resistant medical establishment. In addition to her magisterial biography Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Comet of the Enlightenment, she has published editions and many articles on women writers as well as on issues in biography and editing. Professor Grundy's primary labour of love, however, has been her co-editorship of Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present, a database of more than 6 million words launched in 2006 by Cambridge University Press. Professor Grundy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and winner of numerous research and digital humanities awards, and has been a generous mentor of scholars in our society and, indeed, around the world.
2005: Marie-Laure Girou Swiderski
Marie-Laure Girou-Swiderski is a professor in the department of French at the University of Ottawa, where she made her career from 1966 to 2003. Recipient of the Lettres modernes teaching certification at La Sorbonne, Paris, and of a doctoral degree from the Université de Grenoble, she is one of the foremost experts on Robert Challe and women's writing in the 18th century.
As President of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies from 1997 to 2000, she played a key role in the life of the Society, organizing one of their conferences in Ottawa in 1986. Her work has contributed to a renewal of our knowledge of the 18th century and, more specifically, of the "femmes de lettres," with a multitude of articles dedicated to Mme Belot, Mme Roland, Mme de Villeneuve or Mme d'Arconville. Notably, she has also participated in the Dictionnaire des femmes des Lumières (Champion). The quality of her work is exemplary, achieving balance amid rigorous critique and felicity of expression.
2004: Roger Emerson
Roger Emerson taught history at the University of Western Ontario from 1964 to 1999 whereupon he was appointed professor emeritus. He was one of the co-editors (along with Gilles Girard and Roseann Runte) of the very first CSECS conference proceedings, then called Man and Nature, which was published by the University of Western Ontario in 1982. His books include Professors, Patronage and Politics: the Aberdeen Universities in the Eighteenth Century (1992), Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment: Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities (2008), and Essays on David Hume, Medical Men and the Scottish Enlightenment: 'Industry, Knowledge and Humanity' (2009). He also served as an associate editor of the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (2002). Dr. Emerson’s biography, An Enlightened Duke: The Life of Archibald Campbell (1682-1761), Earl of Ilay and 3rd Duke of Argyll, published in 2013, won that year's Saltire Society award for best book on Scottish history. His name is synonymous with studies in the Scottish Enlightenment.
2022: Réal Ouellet
Réal Ouellet was the first President of our society (1971-1972), and the organizer of the 1975 conference (Québec). He has had a fruitful career in the Département des littératures at Laval University and has also been a visiting professor in Ferrare, Martinique, and British Columbia. Specializing in the classical novel, theatre, travel relations, missionary texts, the literary representation of New France and the Caribbean while touching upon the Amerindian and flibustiers, Professor Ouellet's critical work is particularly sensitive to forms of cultural and geographic alterity. He is also illustrious in the fields of critical editing (Lahontan, Sagard and Champlain, among others) and creative writing (short stories and novels). Founder of the journal Études littéraires and active member of the Centre interuniversitaire d'études sur les lettres, les arts et les traditions (CELAT), Ouellet was awarded the prestigious Killiam Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts (1988-1989).
2021: Larry Bongie
Larry Bongie is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, where he made his career from 1953 to 1992. Holding a doctoral degree from the Université de Paris, he is also an Officer of the Order of Academic Palms and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
He has been involved with the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies since its inception in 1971. He was an active participant at many of its conferences, collaborated in the organization of the 1979 and 1987 conferences in Vancouver, and was Western Vice-President of the Society.
He is equally proficient in French as in English literature: keeping to the confines of the 18th century, he has written about Diderot, Condillac, Hume, Charles-Edward Stuart, Sade, and Charles de Julie. Characterized by first-rate documentary work, notably within the archives, respect for the facts, and rejection of the commonplace, the quality of Bongie's research never falters.
2009: Raymond Joly
Raymond Joly joined the Faculté des lettres at Laval University in 1967, and taught there until 1998. He was also a visiting professor at McGill University and the Internationales Jugendfestspieltreffen of Bayreuth. A pioneering member of this society, Professor Joly was president from 1972 to 1975 and was co-organizer of the 1975 conference in Québec. His teaching career focussed on 17th- and 18th-century literature, the reading of plays, and literary psychoanalysis. He has long been associated with l'École freudienne de Québec. Specializing in Marivaux, Prévost, Diderot, Rousseau and Rétif de la Bretonne, Professor Joly continues to gain recognition in the musical field with his many works on Wagner. Since 2004, he has assiduously contributed to the field of 18th-century studies as the project translator and editor for the Montreal-based baroque ensemble Les idées heureuses, directed by musician Geneviève Soly.
2007: David Blewett
David Blewett was one of the founding members of our society, participating in the earliest discussions that led to its formation as part of the emergence of Eighteenth-Century Studies from between "the colossal structures of the Renaissance and Romanticism." A professor in the English Department of McMaster University from 1969 to 2003, Professor Blewett is a Defoe scholar who has published several critical works and editions of the novels and prose, as well as editions of Henry Fielding's Amelia and Tobias Smollett's Roderick Random. In 1988, Professor Blewett established the bilingual and internationally recognised journal Eighteenth-Century Fiction, one of the pillars of Canada's reputation for scholarship on the eighteenth-century; he served as its editor from the journal's inception until 2003.