UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canadian confederation poetry, 1855-1880 Dalton, Kathleen Ellen (Sister Mary Katherine)


Even a hasty perusal of Dr. W.E. Matters' Check List reveals the vast quantity of poetry published in Canada during the last half of the nineteenth century. This thesis is an attempt to explore and evaluate a crosscut of this poetry over a period of fifteen years, 1855-1880, and to establish the qualitative values in such a quantitative output. It is axiomatic that where there is movement there is life, and it is therefore reasonable to suppose that since the Confederation era was a particularly fluid period in Canadian growth, it called for a lively response. That there was such a response is evidenced in the various magazines and periodicals published during that time, with circulation wide enough to make it both convenient and profitable for any aspiring poets. And if there should be no especially aesthetic value to their poetry, at least they have recorded the aspirations and convictions of the average Canadian in the decade preceding and following Confederation. This aspect alone makes them worthy of consideration. Because of the quantity of material some selectivity was necessary. It seemed advisable to discuss only such poems as had some reference to Canada. The poems are, therefore, divided into three classes. After the Introductory Chapter which is devoted chiefly to an explanation and recreation of the Canadian scene at the time of Confederation, Chapter II deals with those poems Praising Canada's Beauty; Chapter III - those Praising Country as Country; Chapter Iv - those Miscellaneous-Mentioning Confederation. Chapter V is a brief evaluation only, since the poems are individually evaluated throughout. The study, confined as it is to a period between I855-I880, is obviously restricted, as it excludes many of the better, or better-known, poems particularly those of Charles; G.D. Roberts and Bliss Carman. N or was it deemed advisable to include the French Canadian poems of which there is a considerable number. The poems included have been analysed, more or less, and whatever may be their merit individually, they are, en masse, a significant contribution to Canadian Literature. Appendix I gives the musical setting for an adaptation of "My Own Canadian Home". Appendix II records in full "Our New Dominion". The Bibliography is chiefly a Check List, and includes a few works not recorded in Dr. W.E. Watters’ Check List.

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