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John Ferguson Flinn fonds
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John Ferguson Flinn fonds

  • UTA 1275
  • Fonds
  • 1936-1999 [predominant, 1950-1999]

Personal records of John Ferguson Flinn, Professor of French in University College at the University of Toronto, consisting of correspondence, minutes of meetings, notes, course and lecture material, manuscripts and publications, addresses and photographs documenting his career as a Professor of French at the University of Toronto and a specialist in the study of the bourgeoise literature in the Middle Ages, particularly in France, and the iconography of the Roman de Renart. This fonds consists of two accessions received in 1986 and 2009 described in six series.

Flinn, John Ferguson

Public lectures and scholarly addresses

Drafts, with some accompanying correspondence and notes, of all but one of the addresses mentioned in Professor Flinn’s 1982 curriculum vitae are documented in this series, along with two other addresses and notice of another.

Manuscripts and publications

This series contains only a partial documentation of Professor Flinn’s literary output. The five book reviews listed in his curriculum vitae [September, 1982, B2009-0038/001(01)] are present, but only a small selection of his translations are, including some legal documents, interpretations of phrases, and pamphlets for the Addiction Research Foundation, and none of his work for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. The files on his book Le Roman de Renart dans la littérature française et dans les literatures étrangères au Moyen Age, contain correspondence, notes for a few chapters, reviews, and a copy of his book to facilitate understanding the files in Series 4. The other principal writings documented are his articles on Reynard the Fox and Gauthier d’Arras for the Dictionary of the Middle Ages and his 1983 article, ‘Of cabbages and wine: popular belief or scientific tradition in the Roman de Renart’, recorded in his 1989 update of his publications, B2009-0038/001(01).

Research

Professor Flinn’s academic research centred on bourgeoise literature in the Middle Ages, particularly in France, and the iconography of the Roman de Renart, Renard the fox, and related works in medieval Europe. It led to one book, Le Roman de Renart dans la littérature française et dans les literatures étrangères au Moyen Age and a number of articles and addresses. His research continued into retirement and over the years he corresponded with a number of fellow enthusiasts, especially Tobias Hagtingius in the Netherlands and Kenneth Varty at the University of Glasgow.

The files contain notes, original material sent by colleagues, correspondence relating to Professor Flinn’s research interests and partial drafts of some writing projects. Some relate to his book, others to the iconography of the Roman de Renart, and still others to a ‘Reynard the Fox in Europe’ project proposed by Erwin Verzandvoort of the Netherlands in the late 1980s, which apparently came to naught. It is not possible, for the most part, to relate these files directly to a single publication, except for a few files relating to Professor Flinn’s book; these can be found in the next series.

The arrangement of the files follows Professor Flinn’s quite closely, with the description of each file (except for the “Renart’ prefix to each, done by the arranger) being, very largely, what he provided.

Included are photoprints, film strips, photonegatives, slides and postcards from sources in Europe and Britain; these are often referred to in the correspondence or in Professor Flinn’s notes. The images in B2009-0038/002P have been left in the envelopes provided by Professor Flinn, with his notations thereon; the descriptions of the other photos are taken from his notations. For an accompanying file of notes, see B2009-0038/005(18). The arrangement has been left in the order he created.

Professional associations and activities

The files in this series document Professor Flinn’s appraisal of manuscripts submitted to the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and to the University of Toronto Press and other publishers, correspondence with the Public Lending Rights Commission over his authorship of articles and his translations, and his involvement in the Société Internationale Renardienne/International Reynard Society, which ran the International Beast, Epic, Fable and Fabliau Colloquium.

The files contain correspondence, notes, and programmes.

Employment, University of Toronto

This series contains no documentation of Professor Flinn’s years of employment in France, only records documenting some of his activities, both administrative and academic, at the University of Toronto. The files are arranged with the administrative records appearing first, followed by teaching files and files of correspondence with graduate students. The most significant administrative records are the minutes, memoranda, correspondence, and reports (1963-1985) documenting the activities of the Graduate Department of French, especially for the years 1969 to 1975 when Professor Flinn was secretary. There is a file [B2009-0038/001(10)] honouring Marguerite Macdonald on her 85th birthday; she had lectured in the Department of French at University College from 1934 to 1965.

At the undergraduate level, Professor Flinn taught the following courses:
FRE 1a : Representative works of French literature (general course) (1959-1964)
FRE 1b : Option for religious knowledge in honour courses: reading of modern
French texts (general course) (1959-1960)
FRE 1k/116 : Option for religious knowledge in honour courses: reading of modern
French texts (general course) (1960-1964)
FRE 1f : Reading of modern French texts (honours course) (1960-1964)
FRE 130 : Reading of representative French texts. Composition (honours course)
(1964-1965)
FRE 160 : Representative works of French literature (honours course) (1965-1966)
FRE 171 : Language practice I (1977-1986)
FRE 2b/201 : French thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries (general course) (1960-1966)
FRE 226Y : Realism in French literature (1976-1979)
FRE 271 : Language practice II (1982-1986)
FRE 316 : Medieval French language and literature (1972-1986)
FRE 3f/330 : Old French (honours course) (1959-1970)
FRE 475: Practical translation (1983-1986)

At the graduate level, he taught:
FRE 1014/1300Y : The Old French epic (1961-1979)
FRE 1016/1301Y : Old French bourgeoise literature (1962-1979)
FRE 1159H : Structure de l’ancien français (1979-1980, 1981-1986)
FRE 1301Y, L : La literature bourgeoise du Moyen Age (1980-1986)

The files contain exam and some text questions for many of Professor Flinn’s undergraduate courses, and some course material for FRE 1f, 130, 226 (also some lecture notes), 3f, 316, and 475Y. At the graduate level, there are notes for courses FRE 1014, 1016, and 1159, along with a small sampling of term papers for the last course, and files of doctoral qualifying and comprehensive examinations.

Following the course material files are other files of correspondence with Professor Flinn’s four doctoral students and a number of masters and undergraduate students, arranged alphabetically in each category. These files contain a combination of general correspondence, material relating to theses research and defence, and letters of reference.

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