Saul and Selected Poems: including excerpts from Jephthah's Daughter and Jezebel: A Poem in Three Cantos
Published: December 1976© 1976
442 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 1.00 in
Saul and Selected Poems is an original and useful introduction to the work and poetic personality of Charles Heavysege (1816-76), an important but currently neglected nineteenth-century Canadian writer. Heavysege was handicapped by a limited education and a lack of public support, yet nonetheless established himself in Great Britain and America as the 'leading intellect of [the] Dominion' in a period when native literature was scantily regarded. His struggle to express himself and to find an audience for his work mirrors the dilemma of the émigré writer of his time.
Heavysege's work is related in this volume to the early nineteenth-century English revival of poetic drama, and seen in the context of the Canadian cultural milieu of the 1860s. Saul is a powerful presentation of the tormented soul caught in a world of order and universal degree. Its main interest is to be found in the psychological frankness - Saul's recognition of his demon resonates with the deeper implication of the recognition of the döppelgänger - and in passages of sinewy verse written with a directness that anticipates E.J. Pratt.
The text of Saul and 'Jezebel,' selections from Jephthah's Daughter, an original commentary on the major poems, a bibliography, and a review of Heavysege criticism are all included in this volume. (Literature of Canada 19)