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Literary Criticism Poetry

The Lone Shieling

Origin and Authorship of the Blackwood 'Canadian Boat-Song'

by (author) G.H. Needler

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2019
Poetry, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2019
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This book is a bit of literary detective work. A poem, which has endeared itself as perhaps no other to Scots away from their home country, appeared anonymously in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine for September, 1829, under the title “Canadian Boat-Song.” Since then a great number of attempts to ferret out the author have been made in books, review articles, and newspaper correspondence. Among those to whom it has been ascribed are the Earl of Eglinton, Sir Walter Scott, Christopher North, James Hogg, Lockhart, John Galt, and others. Recently, the guessing has included also Galt’s friend David Macbeth Moir. Professor Needler presents here the evidence that the poem, more appropriately called “The Lone Shieling,” forms a beautiful tie of sentiment between Upper Canada and the Scottish Highlands, as it was Galt’s work for the Canada Company that gave Moir the direct inspiration for the writing of it.

About the author

G.H. NEEDLER, the author of this book, is a native of Ontario, of mingled English and Scotch-Irish ancestry. After graduation at the University of Toronto and extended study in Germany, he became a member of the staff of University College, and was for several years Head of the Department of German. He has published a metrical translation of the The Nibelungenlied and shared in the making of several school text-books. Since becoming Professor emeritus he has edited a volume of letters of Mrs. Jameson to Goethe’s daughter-in-law, which he found in the Weimar Archives. The present book is a by-product of further study in the early Canadian field, particularly John Galt’s writings and his work with the Canada Company, which forms the background for “The Lone Shieling.”

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