F. P. Grove - In new letters and documents
Of Frederick Philip Grove many things still need to be said or need saying again. In the years since his active role in the shaping of the Canadian literary institution much has changed. Canadian literature has developed enormously; it has recovered equally from traumas of colonial and post-colonial heritage to develop a firm identity of its own. Now the time has come to reassess some of what has been both said and left unsaid about Grove, but also about Canadian literature. Often pushed aside in more recent compilations of Canadian literary history, Frederick Philip Grove, as the first Canadian writer of intercultural significance, needs now to be introduced to a new audience as an intriguing avant-garde author in his own right, but also as a figure central to the inception of modern Canadian literature after the Great War.
In support of this claim, the book presents many previously unpublished or untranslated letters and notes by Grove and his most important Canadian and European correspondents. In addition, a wealth of other papers, contemporaneous documentation, and many photos and other illustrations cast new light on his career and life and provide as fully rounded a picture of the author and man as possible. This is supplemented by passages from work by Grove and some of his contemporaries, writers and critics alike, framed and intersected by the editor’s commentaries, summaries and analyses.
The book tells three interlocking stories: First, the story of Grove’s personal struggles and accomplished literary past in Europe. Second, the odyssey of the teacher through the small towns and the lonely villages of pioneer Manitoba and his human struggles as a Canadian writer and family man. Third, the story of Canada’s literary and cultural development in the 1920s to 1940s told, for the first time, in the form of lively epistolary exchanges between the principals involved. An epilogue includes a short evaluation of Grove’s place in Canadian letters and a review of recent criticism.