This Week in History
“The Father of Canadian Literature”
|For the week of Monday January 10, 2011
On January 10, 1860, Charles G. D. Roberts was born in Douglas, New Brunswick. Today, he is remembered as a Canadian literary giant whose passionate poetry, imaginative fiction and engaging non-fiction inspired a generation of writers.
By this time, Roberts was already a promising writer after a collection of his poetry, Orion and Other Poems, was published in 1880. This work inspired three other young poets: Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman and Duncan Campbell Scott. Roberts and his three colleagues, who were all born around the time of Canada’s birth, soon became known as the “Confederation Poets.” As such, Roberts was praised for being among the first English-Canadian writers after Confederation to write poems about distinctly Canadian settings and themes.
From 1907 to 1925, Roberts lived in Europe and when he returned to Canada in 1926, he was celebrated as one of the country’s most respected authors. Multiple awards soon followed as Roberts was the first recipient of the Lorne Pierce medal for literature in 1926 and was knighted in 1935. Roberts did not rest on his laurels, but continued to write until his death in 1943.
For his pioneering contributions to Canadian literature, Charles G. D. Roberts was designated a National Historic Person in 1945. Sir George Parkin (1938) and fellow writers Ernest Thompson Seton (1995) Bliss Carman (1945), Francis Joseph Sherman (1945), Duncan Campbell Scott (1948), and Archibald Lampman (1920) are also national historic persons.
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