A Contemporary Sage

A Contemporary Sage

Posted on January 10 by admin
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Today is the birthday of Charles G.D. Roberts. This distinguished poet and novelist, born in 1860 in Douglas, New Brunswick, was considered to be the father of Canadian poetry. Sadly, aside from students of early Canadian poetry and fiction, he seems to have been forgotten. A great pity because his work still has much relevance in contemporary society.

Charles G.D. Roberts was a pioneer of the animal story, which promoted early awareness of ecological and animal welfare issues. His The Kindred of the Wild, which is being published by Dundurn as part of its Voyageur Classics series this spring (June 2013), explores ecological and environmental themes are in line with our present concerns about sustainable living.

In this collection of stories, written over a 100 years ago, Roberts does not shy away from the shocking aspects of life in the wild – I have a graphic mental picture of the death of the weasel after his fall on the spears of the porcupine’s back. Though not a professional naturalist, Roberts’s writing provides unusual insights into the natural world, the animals in his stories imbued with almost human qualities.

He says in the opening chapter of The Kindred of the Wild, “The animal story at its highest point of development is a psychological romance constructed on a framework of natural science.” Roberts’ writing reflected the importance of living in harmony with the natural world – an idea that resonates more deeply today.