Charles G.D. Roberts

Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts, KCMG , FRSC , BA (January 10 1860November 26 1943) was a Canadian poet and prose writer. Besides his own body of work, Roberts is known as the "Father of Canadian Poetry" because he served as an inspiration for other writers of his time. Roberts, his cousin Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman and Duncan Campbell Scott were known as the "Confederation poets".

His brother Theodore Goodridge Roberts also became an author, as did his sister, Jane Elizabeth Gostwycke Roberts.

Roberts was born in Douglas, New Brunswick in 1860, the eldest child of Emma Wetmore Bliss and George Goodridge Roberts, and between the ages of 8 months and 14 years, was raised near the Tantramar Marshes at Sackville.

In 1879, he earned a BA from the University of New Brunswick and, in the following year, published his first book of poems, Orion and Other Poems, and married Mary Fenety on December 29.

From 1879 to 1895, Roberts worked as a teacher in Chatham and Frederiction, New Brunswick, as editor of the literary magazine, the Week, and as a professor at the University of King's College, located in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It was during this period that Roberts wrote his two best collections of verse, In Divers Tones (1887) and Songs of the Common Day and Ave! An Ode for the Shelley Centenary (1893). Much of his best poetry in this period was inspired by nature. In this latter work, Roberts recreated Maritime life with vivid sensitivity.

In 1893, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

In 1897, he separated from his wife and family and moved to New York City, where he turned to fiction, especially stories about animals. He also wrote descriptive text for guide books, such as Picturesque Canada. In 1907, he moved to Paris, later moving to London. Roberts served with the British Army during World War I, then later joined the Canadian War Records Office in London.

Charles G. D Roberts was elected to the United States National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1898. In 1925, Roberts returned to Canada, moving to Toronto and began writing poetry again. For his contributions to literature, he was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's first Lorne Pierce Medal in 1926 and was knighted (KCMG) in 1935. He got remarried, to Joan Montgomery, on October 28, 1943 at the age of 83 but became ill and died shortly after in Toronto.

Selected works

  • Orion, and Other Poems (1880) - poetry
  • In Divers Tones (1886) - poetry
  • Songs of the Common Day (1893) - poetry
  • The Raid from Beauséjour and How the Carter Boys Lifted the Mortgage (1894) - novelette
  • Reube Dare’s Shad Boat (1895) - novelette
  • The Forge in the Forest (1896) - historical novel
  • Earth's Enigmas (1896)- short stories
  • History of Canada (1897) - history
  • The Heart of the Ancient Wood (1900) - historical novel
  • The Kindred of the Wild (1902) - short stories
  • Barbara Ladd (1902) - novel set in New York and Connecticut
  • The Book of the Rose (1903) - poems
  • Red Fox (1905) - short stories
  • The Heart That Knows (1906) - novel set in the Tantramar area
  • Kings in Exile (1909) - novel
  • Neighbours Unknown (1911) - short stories
  • Hoof And Claw (1913) - short stories
  • Canada in Flanders (1918) - non-fiction
  • The Vagrant of Time (1927) - poetry
  • The Secret Trails (1930) - short stories
  • The Iceberg, and Other Poems (1934) - poetry
  • Further Animal Stories (1936) - short stories
  • Canada Speaks of Britain and Other Poems of the War (1941) - poetry

Further reading

  • Pomeroy, Elsie, Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, A Biography, Musson, 1943
  • Adams, John Coldwell, Sir Charles God Dam: The Life of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts, University of Toronto Press, 1986.
  • Scobie, Charles H.H., Roberts Country: Sir Charles G. D Roberts and the Tantramar, Tantramar Heritage Trust, 2008.

External links

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