The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 10, 2014

January 10, 1860

Perhaps the week of the Polar Vortex invasion of the United States (January 2014)  is not the best time to work up enthusiasm for the father of Canadian literature. Still,  cap of curiosity firmly attached we press into the wind of ignorance.

Said Dad is Charles George Douglas Roberts (January 10, 1860 to November 26, 1943). The title is honorary, the reputation is supported by authorship of many books, and an active campaigning for his homeland's culture.

Some of his many books are

Orion, and Other Poems

In Divers Tones (1886)
Poems of Wild Life (1888)
Barbara Ladd (1902)
Earth's Enigmas  (1903)
The Book of the Rose (1903)
Kings in Exile (1910)
In the Morning of Time (1919)
Hoof and Claw (1920)

The support for Canadian culture can be seen in his co-editing of 
The Canadian Who's who  Volume 1 (1910) and books like The World's Best Poetry (10 volumes). His services to Canadian literature were rewarded with a knighthood by George VI in 1937.  

According to Martina Seifert in The Canadian Short Story: Interpretations (edited by Reingard M. Nischik and published in 2007) Roberts appreciated the work of Ernest Thompson Seton, and gave Seton pride of precedence in popularizing the animal story. But Roberts called himself "the father of the animal story." Some have tried to resolve a distinction here by calling Roberts' approach an artistic one  and Seton's scientific. I don't know what Seifert is referencing here but if Roberts actually considered himself on a par with Seton, we have to question Roberts's literary judgment. Genius like Seton's is too rare to even be compared with such an academic figure as was Roberts.

I came across Charles G. D. Roberts because a short story of his was included in Beth Brown's anthology, All Cats Go to Heaven: An Anthology of Stories about Cats (1960). Roberts wrote"How a Cat Played Robinson Crusoe."

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