British poet and critic Bernard Bergonzi, whose books "shed new light on the English writing of the First World War and the 1930s, and on developments in criticism since the '60s, which he largely disliked," died September 20, the Guardian reported. He was 87. Monographs on H.G. Wells, T.S. Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Arnold and Graham Greene "showed Bergonzi at his sensible and lucid best," the Guardian noted, adding that although he was "principally known as a critic, it was as a poet that Bergonzi began to find a place in the English literary scene in the early '50s."
In a tribute describing Bergonzi as "one of my oldest friends," author David Lodge wrote: "In his prime he was an imposing figure, confident, witty and urbane, a man of letters in a traditional mold, and this was a personal triumph over a disadvantaged childhood, including two years in hospital that seriously retarded his education. The long row of his books on my shelves display an impressively wide knowledge of modern literature and culture, communicated in effortlessly readable prose at a time when academic criticism became increasingly heavy with jargon. Bernard deplored the impact on his profession of structuralism and poststructuralism, in which I found some ideas of value, but unlike many hostile commentators he read the work of their proponents carefully and described it fairly. He was a gentleman of letters."
Pierre Renaud, founding president of Renaud-Bray bookstores, died yesterday, CBC News reported. He was 77. Renaud opened his first bookstore on Côte-des-Neiges Road in Montreal with Edmond Bray in 1965. In a statement, the company said: "Without the exceptional contribution and dedication of this man to his work for over half a century, Quebec's book industry would not be the same today."
The Montreal Gazette noted that Renaud "wanted to create a shop that offered books, music, magazines and stationery, with longer hours and open seven days a week." Renaud-Bray purchased the Archambault stores from Québecor in 2015. Renaud's son, Blaise Renaud, has been Renaud-Bray's president since 2011.