The Confederation Group of Canadian Poets, 1880-1897
As one of the formative periods in Canadian history, the late nineteenth century witnessed the birth of a nation, a people, and a literature. In this study of Canada's first 'school' of poets, D.M.R. Bentley combines archival work, including extensive research in periodicals and newspapers, with close readings of the work of Charles G.D. Roberts, Archibald Lampman, Bliss Carman, William Wilfred Campbell, Duncan Campbell Scott, and Frederick George Scott. Bentley chronicles the formation, reception, national and international successes, and eventual disintegration (after the 1895 'War Among the Poets') of the Confederation Group, whose poetry forever changed the perception and direction of Canadian literature.
With the aid of biographical, political, and sociological analyses, Bentley's literary history delineates the group's political, aesthetic, and thematic dispositions and characteristics, and contextualizes them not only within Canadian history and politics, but also within contemporary intellectual and literary currents, including Romantic nationalism, 'Canadianism', and poetic formalism. Bentley casts new light on the poets' commonalities - such as their debt to Young Ireland, their commitment to careful workmanship, and their participation in the American mind-cure movement - as well as on their most accomplished and anthologized poems from 1880 to 1897. In the process, he presents a compelling case for the literary and historical importance of these six men and their poems in light of Canada's cultural and political past, and defends their right to be known as Canada's first poetic fraternity at a time when Canada was striving to achieve literary and national distinction. The Confederation Group of Canadian Poets, 1880-1897 is an erudite and innovative work of literary history and critical interpretation that belongs on the bookshelf of every serious scholar of literary studies.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 432 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.5in x 9.3in
'A fascinating account of a crucial period in Canadian literary history ... [which] will [be] indispensable to future scholarship on the writers and texts it discusses. It makes available the results of massive research into private correspondence, obscure journals, newspapers, and archival materials, all contextualized by a formidable knowledge of the major and minor literary currents of the age ... [and] sheds new light on some of the best known and most frequently discussed 'Confederation' poems through demonstrating their close relationship to the cultural and historical context in which they were produced.'
Len Early, Department of English, York University
Author InformationD.M.R. Bentley is a professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. He is the editor of Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews and the author of numerous books and articles on Canadian and Victorian poetry.
Subjects and Courses