Fonds 3 - Paul Antoine Bouissac fonds

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00399 3


Paul Antoine Bouissac fonds


  • 1955 - 2012 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

3.17 m of textual records and other material

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Paul Antoine R. Bouissac is a writer and an academic. He was born in Perigueux, France, the son of Antoine Louis Bouissac and Marguerite Marie Frêne. He lives in Toronto.Bouissac received license-ès-lettres in Etudes latines (1955), Etudes grêcques (1955), Psychologie générale (1956), and Grammaire et philologie classique (1962) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he also received a Diplome d’Etudes Supérieures in 1956. In 1970 he received a Doctorat du Troisième Cycle en Linguistique (sémiotique) at the University of Paris.Bouissac was appointed Lecturer at Victoria University, Toronto in 1962. After this he was appointed Assistant Professor at Victoria University (1965); Associate Professor at Victoria University (1969); Professor at the Graduate Department of French at the University of Toronto (1971); Professor at the Graduate Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto (1972); Professor at Victoria University (1974); and Professor Emeritus at Victoria University (1999). He became a Member of the Associate Faculty at the Centre for Comparative Literature in 1981, and of the First (1980) and Third (1982) International Summer Institutes for Semiotic and Structural Studies. He served as visiting professor at New York University in Buffalo (1975), the University of South Florida (1975), New York University (1980), and again at New York University in Buffalo from 1981 onwards. He also served as Associate Director of the Summer Institute for Semiotic and Structural Studies at Indiana University in 1982.During his career Bouissac received awards from the University of Toronto in 1963, 1971 and 1972, from the Canada Council in 1967, 1968 and 1977, from the Wenner Gren Foundation in 1970, and fellowships from the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (1972–73); the Guggenheim Foundation (1973–74); Connaught (1988–89); and Killam (1989–91).Bouissac’s publications include one work of fiction, Les Demoiselles (1970), and works of non-fiction: La Mesure des Gestes; prolegomenes à la sémiotique gestuelle (1973), Circus and Culture; a Semiotic Approach (1976), Iconcity: Essays on the Nature of Culture: Festschrift for Thomas A. Sebeok on his 65th birthday (1986), and Encyclopedia of Semiotics (1998).In 1964 Bouissac became president and main stockholder of the Debord Circus, a circus that attempted to present high quality animal acts in a single ring.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The materials were acquired between 1971 and 2013.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds contains records of Paul Bouissac and consists of three series: records relating to writing and academic work, 1957–2005; records relating to the Debord Circus and other circuses, 1955–1985; and correspondence, 1964-2012.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals are expected.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access to letters of reference in the file marked RR is restricted until 2032. Authorization to access restricted material to be obtained from the Chief Librarian.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish

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Allied materials area

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Related units of description

Victoria University Library owns 19 posters made at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris during a student occupation of the school in May 1968. These were donated by Paul Bouissac. See:

See also Bouissac's Open Semiotics Resource Centre:

Notes area


Materials include: 8 audio cassettes and 4 audio reels, 1 compact disc, 26 drawings, 1 video cassette, ca. 178 photographs, 1 album, 1 poster.

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