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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Winnifred Eaton Reeve's his Royal Nibs : a critical edition Takeda, Joseph


This thesis is a critical edition of His Royal Nibs, the final published novel by early Chinese Canadian author Winnifred Eaton Reeve, better known by her Japanese pseudonym, “Onoto Watanna.” Born in Montreal to a Chinese mother and a British father, and the younger sister to celebrated Chinese Canadian author Edith Eaton (Sui Sin Far), Winnifred Eaton is best remembered as the prolific author of the hundreds of highly successful and immensely popular Japanese-themed romances she wrote as “Onoto Watanna” in the early twentieth century while living in the United States. Published in 1925 and signed “Winifred Reeve,” His Royal Nibs bears little resemblance to Japanese romances that captivated early American audiences and that, in their troubling appropriation and stereotyped depiction of Japanese identity, continue to challenge scholars today. Set on a cattle ranch near Calgary, Alberta, His Royal Nibs is the culmination of Eaton’s campaigns to become a “Canadian author” and insert herself into the bourgeoning networks of Canadian literature. Yet, while scholars acknowledge her life in Alberta, few have taken her Canadian works seriously and even fewer have paid attention to the significance of Eaton as a prairie writer. This edition seeks to correct this imbalance by situating Eaton’s final novel within her “Alberta Years.” The first edition of His Royal Nibs since its original publication in 1925, and the first standalone, annotated edition of Eaton’s novels, this thesis seeks to re-introduce critics to Eaton and demonstrate the significance of His Royal Nibs as both a text that offers a complicated meditation on identity and one that enters into contemporary debates surrounding the colonial histories of Alberta.

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