The Canadian Don Quixote; the Life and Works of Major John Richardson, Canada's First Novelist by David Richard Beasley

The life a practically unknown Canadian literary genius.

The canadian don quixote; the life and works of major john richardson, canada's first novelist

John Richardson's life, like his novels, had its dark side. Victim of both economic circumstances and personal weaknesses, Richardson bounced from place to place and job to job, embroiled in litigation, addicted to gambling, engaged in dueling, but always writing. Critics still debate the worth of his work, but all agree as to its importance in laying the foundations of Canadian literature. The author of Wacousta and The Canadian Brothers may not have been heroic, but he had an adventurous, energetic life, as this biography so well reveals. Author David Beasley traces Richardson's story with both readable style and reliable research. This new, revised edition of a work first published and widely reviewed in 1977 may well prompt a fresh look at Richardson. Four lesser known Richardson novels are also available from the publisher.


Secondary Genre: HISTORY / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)

Language: English

Keywords: Canada, literature, curliest war, american indians

Word Count: ca 102,000

Sales info:

2nd ed,, sells widely

Sample text:

When John was almost two, the Richardson family was sent to Fort Erie. Madeleine wrote to her parents: “John walks everywhere and is as fat as ever. He is fond of sleigh-riding for he loves a horse.”5 In 1800 the family moved to the new capital, York, where Dr. Richardson helped to choose the location for the Governor’s residence.6 The Doctor’s transfer to Fort Joseph in the remote northlands the following year was not a pleasant prospect, especially as John Richardson was ready for school. Fortunately, John and Marie Askin offered to care for John in Detroit, where he could attend a school. His parents missed the little boy in the dreary winter months: “Madeleine and myself are extremely anxious to hear of little John. We trust him in good health and a good boy. We are perfectly convinced he is in good hands."

He was in loving hands. John Askin, whose children by his second marriage were in their teens, had the time to give much affection and attention to his grandchild. John was sent to school with his older cousins and taught to read by a Detroit clergyman at ten shillings a month. In the evenings, perhaps to keep him from missing his mother as well as out of affection for him, Marie Askin told him stories of the history of the early French settlement, including the siege of Fort Detroit. Years later he wrote that her stories, by stirring his imagination, had given him the incentive to become a writer. 

Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Translation in progress. Translated by andre diogo weber
Already translated. Translated by Maria calderón

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