Neil Besner

An Inventory of His Papers at the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Petra Turcotte
Archives and Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe LibraryUniversity of ManitobaWinnipeg, ManitobaR3T 2N2
(August 2014)

Finding aid encoded by Petra Turcotte (August 2014)
Finding aid written in English.

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe LibraryWinnipeg, ManitobaR3T 2N2

Neil Kalman Besner

Neil Besner fonds


0.13 m of textual records, 20 photographs, 1 compact disc

MSS 211, PC 88 (A14-71)


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Biography of Neil Besner

Neil Kalman Besner was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1949. He spent much of his childhood in Brazil after his family left Canada in the mid-1950's. He attended high school and began university in the United States but returned to Canada in 1970. He completed his B.A. (Honours English) at McGill University, Montreal, in 1972, his M.A. in American literature at the University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan in 1974, and his Ph.D. in Canadian Literature at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in 1983. His dissertation was entitled: Mavis Gallant's Short Fiction: History and Memory in the Light of Imagination. After four years as an instructor in English at Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta, he joined the faculty of the University of Winnipeg in 1987 as an assistant professor. He became an associate professor in 1990, Chair of the English Department in 1993, and full professor in 1995. After sreving on the Board of Regents and on a number of administrative and academic committees, he became Dean of Humanities, University of Winnipeg on 1 May 2002, a position that he continues to hold in 2005.

He has written The Light of Imagination: Mavis Gallant's Fiction (University of British Columbia Press, 1988), Introducing Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women (ECW Press, 1990), completed an English translation of Carmen's Oliveira's Rare and Commonplace Flowers: The Story of Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares (Rutgers University Press, 2003), edited The Short Story in English (Oxford University Press, 1991) with David Staines and Uncommon Wealth: An Anthology of Poetry in English (Oxford University Press, 1997) with Deborah Schnitzer and Alden Turner. In 1995, he edited a special issue of Prairie Fire Magazine that focused on Carol Shields. He later edited Carol Shields: the Arts of a Writing Life (Prairie Fire Press, 2003) which included works by many of the contributors to the special issue of Prairie Fire. In his role as president of the Linguistic Circle of Manitoba and North Dakota (LCMND), Dr. Besner provided an overview of Carol Shields' life and work in a speech entitled "The Great Canadian Shields" to the LCMND on 28 October 1994. the text of this speech can be found in MSS SC 166, Linguistic Circle o Manitoba and North Dakota Fonds. Dr. Besner has also authored numerous scholarly articles and reviews and provided commentary to CBC Radio and the Winnipeg Free Press. Dr. Besner speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese in addition to English. His primary area of intererst continues to be Canadian literature

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Scope and Contents of the Records

This fonds is divided into nine series consisting of clippings, correspondence, speeches, professional writing, published works and photographs.

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Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged into 10 series:

1. Advertising and Notes, 1982-2009

2. Clippings about Neil Besner, 1987-2012

3. Correspondence and Legal Contracts

4. (20) Photographs: Neil Besner and Other Authors, 2001-2003

5. Professional Writings, Speeches and Addresses, [circa 1990], 2002, 2010-2014, n.d.

6. President's Donor Recognition Dinner (University of Winnipeg) and Speech, 2014

7. Poetry, 1973-2011, n.d.

8. Published Works, 1974-2013

9. Radio, CBC scripts, 1977

10. Electronic records

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Restrictions on Access

There are no restriction on this material

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Restrictions on Use

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Related Materials

MSS 211, PC 188 (A05-45, A07-03, A10-21)

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Custodial History

The fonds was donated by Neil Kalman Besner to University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections in July of 2014 (A14-71).

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Detailed Description of the Collection

ADVERTISING [ 1982-2009 ]
11 Advertising and Notes 1982-2009

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CLIPPINGS 1987-2012
12 Clippings about Neil Besner 1987-2012

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CORRESPONDENCE 1981-2008, n.d.
13 Correspondence and Legal Contracts 1981-2008, n.d.

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14 Photographs of Neil Besner and Authors 2001-2008

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PROFESSIONAL WRITING [circa. 1990] - 2014
15 Professional Writing, Speeches and Addresses [circa. 1990]; 2002, n.d.
6 Professional Writing, Speeches and Addresses 2010-2014; n.d.

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17 President's Donor Recognition Dinner (University of Winnipeg) 2014

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POETRY 1973-2011
18 Poetry 1973-2011, n.d.

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19 Published Works 1974-2013

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RADIO 1977
110 Radio, CBC Scripts 1977

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Electronic Records 2014
111 Neil Besner at University of Winnipeg Faculty Club (audio on compact disc) [ 21 November 2014 ]

Recording of musical performance for scholarship fundraiser.

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