Improved by Cultivation
English-Canadian Prose to 1914
  • Publication Date: September 28, 1994
  • ISBN: 9781551110493 / 1551110490
  • 344 pages; 6" x 9"

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Improved by Cultivation

English-Canadian Prose to 1914

  • Publication Date: September 28, 1994
  • ISBN: 9781551110493 / 1551110490
  • 344 pages; 6" x 9"

This anthology combines some of the finest writing by such well-known writers as Leacock, Moodie, Ernest Thompson Seton and Lucy Maud Montgomery with fascinating pieces by lesser-known names such as George Copway (the first Canadian native writer to have his work published in English) and Lady Agnes Macdonald (the wife of Canada’s first prime minister, and a popular writer of great verve and enthusiasm). In addition to three genres of fiction the anthology includes two important varieties of non-fiction in which early Canadians made a strong and distinctive contribution: Travel and Exploration Narratives and Memoirs and Descriptive Sketches.


“A wonderful collection…Moyles has selected a wide variety of writers whose popular and entertaining writing will still resonate with readers today.” — David Marshall, University of Calgary

Improved by Cultivation brings attractively together a whole range of late 18th- and early 19th-century episodes, stories and sketches that take Canada and Canadians as their subject…a collection that gives a forceful sense of what people did, said and read in the period that ended with World War I.” — Professor John Lennox, English Department York University


Part One: Travel and Exploration Narratives
Richard Whitbourne – A Discourse & Discovery of Newfoundland
Alexander Henry – The Massacre at Fort Michilimackinac
Samuel Hearne – Transactions at the Coppermine River
Alexander MacKenzie – On the Shore of the Pacific Ocean
Anna Brownell Jameson – Niagara Falls in Winter
Paul Kane – Christmas at Fort Edmonton
J. Ewing Ritchie – Amongst the Cow-Boys
Dillon Wallace – Hubbard’s Last Camp in Labrador
Agnes Deans Cameron – Down the Athabasca River

Part Two: Memoirs and Descriptive Sketches
George Copway – The Ojibway Nation: Plays and Exercises
Catharine Parr Traill – Clearing the Land
Susanna Moodie – Canadian Customs: The Charivari
Francis Beaven – A Native New Brunswicker’s House
Annie Howells Fréchette – Life at Rideau Hall
Lady Agnes MacDonald – By Car and Cowcatcher
John Donkin – The Hanging of Louis Riel
Harriet Jephson – The French Canadian Habitant
Georgina Binnie-Clark – Threshing

Part Three: Satirical and Humorous Sketches
Frances Brooke – The History of Emily Montague
Thomas McCulloch – The Letters of Mephibosheth Stepsure
Thomas Chandler Haliburton – The Clockmaker
E.W. Thomson – The Privilege of the Limits
Stephen Leacock – Borrowing a Match
Robert Barr – How Finley McGillis Held the Pier

Part Four: Animal Stories
Charles G.D. Roberts – Do Seek their Meat from God and The Master of the Golden Pool
Ernest Thompson Seton – The Biography of a Grizzly

Part Five: Short Stories
Gilbert Parker – The Patrol of the Cypress Hills
Lily Dougall – Witchcraft
Duncan Campbell Scott – Paul Farlotte
Norman Duncan – The Fruits of Toil
Sara Jeannette Duncan – The Heir Apparent
L.M. Montgomery – The Quarantine at Alexander Abraham’s
Marjorie Pickthall – Luck

R. G. Moyles, a professor in the English Department at the University of Alberta, is the author or editor of several other books including (with Doug Owram) Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British Views of Canada 1880-1914 (Univ. of Toronto Press, 1988).