François-Marc Gagnon, Nancy Senior and Réal Ouellet

Recipients of the 2012 Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research: The Sir John A. Macdonald Prize 

July 18, 2013

Canada's History speaks to Nancy Senior about the The Codex Canadensis.

Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) and Quebec City (Quebec)

The 2012 Sir John A. Macdonald Prize for the best non-fiction work of history was awarded to François-Marc Gagnon, Nancy Senior and Réal Ouellet for the book, The Codex Canadensis and the Writings of Louis Nicolas: The natural history of the New World, Histoire Naturelles des Indes Occidentales, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

The judges called the Codex “stunningly beautiful,” adding that the work “can scarcely be praised too highly.”The book brings to a modern audience the writings and drawings of a French Jesuit priest, Louis Nicolas, who explored Canada between 1664 and 1675. Nicolas documented the plants, animals, and native peoples he encountered, leaving us a fantastic historical legacy. “As a physical object, it is one of beauty…. As an act of sustained editorial ingenuity… it is impeccable…. As a work of interdisciplinary research, it is simply outstanding,” said the jury.

François-Marc Gagnon is founding director and distinguished research fellow of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art and a member of the Order of Canada.

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