Among the 112 poems in William Wilfred Campbell: Selected Poetry and Essays are the familiar “Indian Summer” and “How One Winter Came in the Lake Region,” along with many less well-known love poems, patriotic songs, and occasional poems. Some twenty manuscript pieces are published here for the first time.
The notorious “Mermaid Inn” essay in which Campbell refers to the mythical nature of the cross is included, and so is the letter of self-justification that Campbell wrote—but never sent—to the editor of the Globe. Here, too, are speeches, essays published in The Week and the Ottawa Evening Journal, and significant sections from Campbells unfinished treatise on evolution, “The Tragedy of Man.”
By the time Campbell died on New Year’s Day 1918, shifting values had begun to turn critical opinion against his work. Now William Wilfred Campbell: Selected Poetry and Essays will enable Canadians to appreciate Campbells art and to recognize his place in the development of Canadian thought.
A Saturday column that ran in the Toronto Globe from 6 February 1892 until 1 July 1893, it covered a wide range of material – original poetry and prose, book and music reviews, articles on philosophy, politics, poetics, religion, and writings on a myriad of other matters. Critics have often referred to the column in general terms, but until now it has been unavailable in book form for detailed study. This careful transcription of the entire series offers a fresh perspective on three of the most important Canadian literary figures of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Here are three major Canadian poets as prose writers. Lampman writes essays about nature and poetry; Campbell provides controversial views on many subjects, especially religion and poetry; Scott writes book reviews and scholarly essays on music and a variety of Canadian matters. At the Mermaid Inn gives a fascinating glimpse into the literary and social concerns of the day. This volume beings to new light one of the most readable and vital documents in Canadian life and literature.