The Unmasking of Dr. Norman Bethune

Type of resource
The Unmasking of Dr. Norman Bethune
The author examines the two permanent commemorations in Canada of Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-1939), a physician, medical inventor, army officer, artist, and political activist, who lived in Montreal from 1928 to 1936 where he was employed as a surgeon, first at the Royal Victoria Hospital and then at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur in Cartierville. He also became involved in left-wing politics during this period, joining the Communist Party of Canada in 1935 and organizing the Montreal Group for the Security of the People's Health. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Bethune left Canada for Madrid to support the anti-fascist Republican forces. In 1938, Bethune went to China to support Mao Zedong's 8th Route Army against the Japanese. On November 1, 1939, Bethune cut his hand while operating and contracted septicaemia. He died in China on November 12, 1939. The author examines the two commemoration sites in Canada of Bethune's legacy -- the house where he was born in Gravenhurst, Ontario, and Place Norman Bethune in Montreal at the corner of Guy and de Maisonneuve, near Concordia University. The author investigates the presentation and interpretation of Bethune's symbolic identity evident in the two commemorative sites, and the definition of his memory by various agencies, especially the Bethune Foundation, which was active in Montreal in the 1970s.
Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d'histoire de l'art Canadien
Vol. 31
Lerner, Loren. “The Unmasking of Dr. Norman Bethune.” Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d’histoire de l’art Canadien Vol. 31 (2010): 100–121.
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