Non-Fictional Prose

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley and Laurel Boone


 

Introduction


With the publication of Charles G.D. Roberts's Collected Poems in 1985 and his Collected Letters in 1989, students and scholars of his poetry and fiction had easy access to nearly all the relevant authorial materials, the glaring exception being the non-fictional prose by Roberts that remained scattered in periodicals, newspapers, and the various books to which he contributed essays.  True, nine of Roberts's most important critical essays had been made readily available in W.J. Keith's Selected Poetry and Critical Prose (1974), but this scarcely did justice to the breadth and depth of the "dozens of . . . essays, reviews, literary portrait, and prefaces" (Early 173) that he published between 1880 and his death in 1943.  Working outwards from an excellent selection of materials by the editor of his Collected Letters, Laurel Boone, the present electronic edition of Roberts's non-fictional prose is very much a work in progress: although it includes all the pieces selected by Boone and all the pieces that came to light during research for The Confederation Group of Canadian Poets, 1880-1897, it does not yet include a number of hard-to-find items listed in John Coldwell Adams's "Preliminary Bibliography" (1983) and other compilations, or, needless to say, whatever items remain to be discovered by researchers.  Any information about absent or newly discovered items would be gratefully accepted and fully acknowledged.

Although many of Roberts's critics discuss and draw upon his non-fictional prose, none has discussed his critical ideas more thoroughly than L.R. Early in "Roberts as Critic" in The Charles G.D. Roberts Symposium, edited by Glen Clever (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1983), pp. 173-89.  Readers interested in the relationship between Roberts's critical ideas and those of his early mentor, Joseph Edmund Collins, and other members of the Confederation group, especially Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, and William Wilfred Campbell, should find some food for thought in The Confederation Group of Canadian Poets, 1880-1897, particularly the chapter entitled "Aesthetics: Workmanship and Variety."

Works Cited

Adams, John Coldwell.  "A Preliminary Bibliography."  In the Charles G.D. Roberts Symposium.  Ed. Glenn Clever.  Reappraisals: Canadian Writers 10.  Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1983.  221-49.

Early, L.R.  "Roberts as Critic."  In the Charles G.D. Roberts Symposium.  Ed. Glenn Clever.  Reappraisals: Canadian Writers 10.  Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 1983.  173-89.

- D.M.R.B.