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Literary Collections Canadian

Selected Poetry and Critical Prose Charles G.D. Roberts

introduction by William Keith

series edited by Douglas Lochhead

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1974
Canadian, Canadian, Poetry
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1974
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Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943) was one of Canada's most productive writers. In a literary career that extend over six and a half decades he published some three hundred and fifty poems, over two hundred short stories, nine full-length novels, six other books (including travel guides, histories, and a translation), and a considerable number of articles, essays, and prefaces. The purpose of this selection of critical prose and 118 chronologically arranged poems is to make available to students of Canadian literature the main materials upon which a considered appreciation of Roberts' writing can be based.


Desmond Pacey has aptly described Roberts' literary career as 'a rapid development, a sudden decline, a long silence, and a late revival.' This patter is equally true of his life. In the first period of his life (until 1897 when he left for New York) he established himself as a significant Canadian poet and man of letters. The second, from 1897 to 1925, was a period of wandering abroad. At this time prose took precedence over poetry and Roberts emerged as a 'cosmopolitan' figure. The third, from 1925 until his death in 1943, dates from his return to Canada. He worked actively for the recognition of Canadian literary achievement, was honoured for his services to the country, and enjoyed a late flowering of his poetic talents.


Because he was such a prolific writer, Roberts' most enduring work is always in danger of being buried under the dross. This statement is particularly true of his prose, which hitherto has been uncollected and difficult to locate. However, Roberts' very real and substantial contribution to the critical assessment of Canadian literature as well as to the literature itself should not be overlooked and it is hoped that this selection of both critical prose and poetry will redress the balance of attention given to his work.

About the authors

William Keith is Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the author of the award-winning Democracy as Discussion: Civic Education and the American Forum Movement and coauthor of two highly regarded textbooks, The Essential Guide to Rhetoric and Public Speaking: Choices and Responsibility.

William Keith's profile page

In the spring of 2001, Douglas Lochhead received the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in English-language Literary Arts from the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Member of the Order of Canada, the recipient of honorary doctorates from several universities, Professor Emeritus at Mount Allison University, Senior Fellow and Founding Librarian at Massey College, University of Toronto, and a life member of the League of Canadian Poets. After beginning his career as an advertising copywriter, he became a librarian, a professor of English, a specialist in typography and fine hand printing, and a bibliographer, scholar, and editor — indeed, he has characterized himself as “an unrepentant generalist.” At Mount Allison University, he was a founder and the director of the Centre for Canadian Studies, and he held the Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Chair in Canadian Studies.

Douglas Lochhead's profile page

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