Francis Reginald Scott, CC, QC, FRSC, FBA, commonly known as Frank
F. R. Scott
F. R. Scott (August 1, 1899 – January 30, 1985), was a
Canadian poet, intellectual and constitutional expert. He helped found
the first Canadian social democratic party, the Co-operative
Commonwealth Federation, and its successor, the New Democratic Party.
He won Canada's top literary prize, the Governor General's Award,
twice, once for poetry and once for non-fiction. He was married to
artist Marian Dale Scott.
1 Life and work
5 External links
Life and work
Scott was born in
Quebec City, the sixth of seven children. His father
was Frederick George Scott, "an Anglican priest, minor poet and
staunch advocate of the civilizing tradition of imperial Britain, who
instilled in his son a commitment to serve mankind, a love for the
regenerative balance of the Laurentian landscape and a firm respect
for the social order." He witnessed the riots in the City during
the Conscription Crisis of 1917.
Completing his undergraduate studies at Bishop's University, in
Lennoxville, Quebec, Scott went to
Oxford University as a Rhodes
Scholar and was influenced by the Christian
Socialist ideas of R.H.
Tawney and the Student Christian Movement.
Scott returned to Canada, settled in
Montreal and studied law at
McGill University, eventually joining the law faculty as a professor.
While at McGill, Scott became a member of the
Montreal Group of
modernist poets, a circle that also included Leon Edel, John Glassco,
and A.J.M. Smith. Scott and Smith became lifelong friends. Scott
contributed to the McGill Daily Literary Supplement, which Smith
edited; when that folded in 1925, he and Smith founded and edited the
McGill Fortnightly Review. After the Review folded, Scott helped found
and briefly co-edited The Canadian Mercury.
Scott (assisted by Smith and Leo Kennedy) also anonymously edited the
modernist poetry anthology New Provinces (in which he published ten
poems), which was published in 1936.
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.) Party delegation
attending the September 1944 Conference of Commonwealth Labour Parties
in London, England. Pictured from Left to right: Clarie Gillis, MP for
Cape Breton South;David Lewis, National Secretary; M.J. Coldwell,
National Leader, MP for Rosetown—Biggar; Percy E. Wright, MP for
Melfort; and Frank Scott, National Chairman.
Great Depression greatly disturbed Scott; he and historian Frank
Underhill founded the
League for Social Reconstruction (LSR) to
advocate socialist solutions in a Canadian context. Through the LSR,
Scott became an influential figure in the Canadian socialist movement.
He was a founding member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
(CCF) and a contributor to that Party's Regina Manifesto. He also
edited a book advocating Social Planning for Canada (1935)." In
1943, he co-authored Make This Your Canada, spelling out the CCF
national programme, with David Lewis.
Scott was elected national chairman of the CCF in 1942, and would
serve until 1950.
In March 1942 Scott co-founded a literary magazine, Preview, with
Montreal poet Patrick Anderson. Like the earlier
publications, "Preview's orientation was cosmopolitan; its members
looked largely towards the English poets of the 1930s for
In 1950-51 Scott cofounded Recherches sociales, a study group
concerned with the French/English relationship. He began translating
In 1952 he was
United Nations technical assistance resident
representative in Burma, helping to build a socialist state in that
During the 1950s, Scott was an active opponent of the Duplessis regime
Quebec and went to court to fight the Padlock Law. He also
represented Frank Roncarrelli, a Jehovah's Witness, in Roncarelli v.
Duplessis all the way to the
Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada a battle that
Maurice Duplessis lost.
Scott began translating French-Canadian poetry, publishing Anne
Saint-Denys Garneau in 1962. He edited Poems of French
Canada (1977), which won the
Canada Council prize for translation.
Scott served as dean of law at
McGill University from 1961 to 1964 and
served on the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. In
1970 he was offered a seat in the
Canadian Senate by Pierre Trudeau
but declined the appointment. He did, however, support Trudeau's
imposition of the
War Measures Act
War Measures Act during the
October Crisis that same
Scott opposed Quebec's Bill 22 and Bill 101 which established the
province within its jurisdiction as an officially unilingual province
within an officially bilingual country.
On his death in 1985, Scott was interred in Mount Royal Cemetery,
Scott won the 1977 Governor General's Award for non-fiction for his
Essays on the Constitution and the 1981 Governor General's Award for
poetry for his Collected Poems.
Royal Society of Canada
Royal Society of Canada elected him a Fellow in 1947, and awarded
Lorne Pierce Medal in 1962.
He won the Molson Prize in 1965.
In 1966, Scott received an honorary doctorate from Sir George Williams
University, which later became Concordia University.
Leonard Cohen added music to Scott's villanelle, "A
Villanelle for Our
Time", and recorded it on his album Dear Heather.
Scott is the subject of a number of critical works, as well as a major
biography, The Politics of the Imagination: A Life of
F. R. Scott
F. R. Scott by
Overture. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1945.
Events and Signals. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1954.
The Eye of the Needle: Satire, Sorties, Sundries. Montreal: Contact
Signature. Vancouver: Klanak Press, 1964.
Selected Poems. Toronto:
Oxford University Press, 1966.
Trouvailles: Poems from Prose. Montreal: Delta Canada, 1967.
The Dance is One. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1973.
The Collected Poems of F. R. Scott. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,
St-Denys Garneau & Anne Hebert: Translations/Traductions.
Translated by F. R. Scott. Vancouver: Klanak Press, 1962.
Poems of French Canada. Translated by F. R. Scott. Burnaby, B.C.:
Blackfish Press, 1977.
Except where indicated, bibliographical information on poetry courtesy
of Canadian Poetry Online.
Social Reconstruction and the B.N.A. Act – 1934
Labour Conditions in the Men's Clothing Industry – 1935 (with H. M.
Social Planning for Canada – 1935.
Canada Today: A Study of Her National Interests and National Policy
Canada's Role in World Affairs – 1942
Make This Your Canada: A Review of C.C.F. History and Policy – 1943
(with David Lewis)
Cooperation for What? United States and British Commonwealth – 1944
The World War Against Poverty – 1953 (with R. A. MacKay and A. E.
What Does Labour Need in a Bill of Rights – 1959
The Canadian Constitution and Human Rights – 1959
Civil Liberties and Canadian Federalism – 1959
Dialogue sur la traduction – 1970 (with Anne Hebert)
Essays on the Constitution: Aspects of Canadian Law and Politics –
Scott, Frank R. (1986). A New Endeavour: Selected Political Essays,
Letters, and Addresses. Edited and introduced by Michiel Horn.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-5672-5.
New Provinces: Poems of Several Authors (with A.J.M. Smith and Leo
Kennedy). Toronto: Macmillan, 1936.
The Blasted Pine: An Anthology of Satire, Invective and Disrespectful
Verse – 1957 (with A. J. M. Smith)
Montreal Poets. New York: Folkways Records, 1957. Includes A.J.M.
Smith, Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, F.R. Scott, Louis Dudek, and A.M.
Klein. (cassette, 60 mins)
Canadian Poets on Tape. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in
Education, 1969, 1971. (cassette, 30 mins)
A Poetry Reading. Toronto: League of Canadian Poets, 1982. (cassette,
Celebration: Famous Canadian Poets CD London, Ontario: Canadian Poetry
Association — 1999 ISBN 1-55253-022-1 (CD#4) (with James Reaney
Except where noted, discographical information courtesy Canadian
^ a b c d e f g Keith Richardson, "Scott, Francis Reginald (Frank),"
Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988), 1961.
^ Dean Irvine, "
Montreal Group," Oxford Companion to Canadian History.
Answers.com, Web, March 25, 2011.
^ Dean Irvine, "
Montreal Group," Encyclopedia of Canadian History,
JRank.org. Web, March 15, 2011.
^ Michael Gnarowski, "New Provinces: Poems of Several Authors,"
Canadian Encyclopedia (Hurtig: Edmonton, 1988), 1479.
^ George Woodcock, "Northern Review," Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton:
Hurtig, 1988), 1515.
^ a b c "F.R. Scott: Biography," Canadian Poetry Online, University of
Toronto. Web, March 21, 2011.
^ "Honorary Degree Citation - Francis Reginald Scott* Concordia
University Archives". archives.concordia.ca. Retrieved
^ a b "F.R. Scott: Publications," Canadian Poetry Online, UToronto.ca,
Web, May 7, 2011.
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