Goddard v. Mowat: F***ing the Facts Fifteen Years Later


It has been fifteen years since John Goddard’s infamous exposé of Farley Mowat’s compromised truth-telling ignited a flurry of media activity and prompted a large scale re-evaluation of this national icon and his texts. Taking stock of the responses to this scandal, this paper will demonstrate that Mowat swiftly recovered from this blow to his authority and authenticity and could continue to publish autobiographies untroubled by questions of truth-telling because of the nature of the celebrity crafted by Mowat and the Canadian media. However, there still remains some resistance to teaching Mowat or taking him up in our research: this paper seeks to undo some of that critical hesitation by unpacking the scandal--its roots, its effects and the issues it raises--in order to suggest that rather than rendering Mowat a persona non grata, Goddard’s article opens up possible avenues for taking Mowat, his celebrity, and his texts seriously.

This article “Goddard v. Mowat: F***ing the Facts Fifteen Years Later” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 206 (Autumn 2010): 30-44.

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