Roberts, Charles G. D. (1860 - 1943)

Biography: 

Charles G. D. Roberts was born on January 10, 1860, in Douglas, New Brunswick, and grew up near the Tantramar marshes by Sackville. Educated at Fredericton Collegiate School from 1874 to 1876, and at the University of New Brunswick from 1876 to 1879, Roberts quickly published his first book of poetry, Orion, and Other Poems (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1880; PS 8485 .O22 O7). He married Mary Fenety that same year, and they had five children up to 1892. After acting as schoolmaster in Chatham and Fredericton, he taught English and French at King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia, from 1885 to 1895. Three volumes of poetry came out during this period

In Divers Tones (Boston: D. Lothrop, 1886; PS 8485 .O22 I48)
Poems of Wild Life (London: W. Scott, 1888; PN 6110 N2R63)
Songs of the Common Day and Ave (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1893; B-10 0376)

and Roberts was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada this year. After resigning from King's College in 1895, and determining to work free-lance, Roberts separated from his wife, daughter, and sons in 1897, leaving Canada for New York City, where he stayed from until 1907, and then for Europe, first in Paris, by 1910 in Munich, and after 1912 in London, England, until 1925. During this period he earned his living from writing fiction, especially animal stories and romances, and non-fiction prose. He served during War World I in the 16th Battalion of the King's Regiment, then as captain at the London Canadian War Records Office, and last as a Major and a press correspondent in France. While living outside Canada, Roberts produced four volumes of verse:

New York Nocturnes and Other Poems (Boston: Lamson, 1898; B-10 6603)
Poems (New York: Silver Burdett, 1901; rev. 1907; PS 8485 .O22 A17)
The Book of the Rose (Toronto: Copp, Clark, 1903; Ps 8485 .O22 B6)
New Poems (London: Constable, 1919; PS 8485 O22N4)

In 1925 Roberts went to live in Toronto and his wandering, expatriotic life ended. He gave poetry recital tours in 1925-26. His wife Mary died in 1930. Late in his life, when Roberts was recognized as the father of Canadian literature, he brought out four more substantial volumes of poetry:

The Vagrant of Time (Toronto: Ryerson, 1927; PS 8485 .O22 V3)
The Iceberg, and Other Poems (Toronto: Ryerson, 1934; PS 8485 O22 I3)
Selected Poems (Toronto: Ryerson, 1936; PS 8485 .O22 A17)
Canada Speaks of Britain and Other Poems of the War (Toronto: Ryerson, 1941; cap Fisher Rare Book Library)

Roberts received many honours: he was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's first Lorne Pierce Medal and was elected President of the Canadian Authors' Association in 1926, and he was knighted on June 3, 1935. Before his death on November 26, 1943, he was married again to Joan Montgomery. Roberts is buried in Fredericton. See also

  • Adams, John Coldwell. Sir Charles god damn: the Life of Sir Charles G. D. Roberts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986. PS 8485 .O22 Z44 Robarts Library
  • The Collected Poems of Sir Charles G. D. Roberts: A Critical Edition. Ed. Desmond Pacey, assisted by Graham Adams. Wolfville, Nova Scotia: Wombat Press, 1985. PS 8485 O22A17 Robarts Library.
  • Collected Letters. Ed. Laurel Boone. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 1989. PS 8485 .O22 Z48 Robarts Library.
  • Pomeroy, Elsie May. Sir Charles G. D. Roberts: A Biography. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1943. PS 8485 .O22 Z83 Robarts Library.
Given Name: 
Charles G. D.
Family Name: 
Roberts
Birth Date: 
January 10, 1860
Death Date: 
November 26, 1943
Nationality: 
Literary Period: 
Literary Movement: