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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


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War of 1812
Art, Music and Literature

Fiction, Poetry and Drama

It is perhaps surprising that a small war, so long in our past, has continued to attract the attention of novelists, poets and dramatists through nearly two centuries. Adulatory verse and fiction were obvious in the years immediately after the war, when many regarded the war as a struggle by colonial militiamen for survival against a much more powerful neighbour. There were enough heroic defences and glorious victories on each side to be remembered by both Canadian and American writers. The British, intent on the events of larger Napoleonic Wars, did not pay much attention to this minor struggle.

One of Canada's earliest English-language novelists, John Richardson, fought with the British Army. Not only did he produce an early, though somewhat biased, history of the war (see the General Military Histories section), but also the earliest Canadian English-language poetry and novels of the war. Like many writers since, he was deeply moved by the struggle and death of Tecumseh, alongside whom he had personally fought.

What follows here is a very brief sampling of fiction, poetry and drama, both Canadian and American, relating to the war, including some of the earliest and continuing to the present day. Purely juvenile literature has not been included here.

Block, Kevin James. -- Without shedding of blood. -- Winnipeg : Windflower Communications, 1994. -- 185 p.

  • A Mennonite with the Upper Canada militia on the Niagara frontier.

Bloody battle near Niagara: the United States' army commanded by Major General Jacob Brown, victorious over the British forces, under the command of Major General Riall .... -- [Boston?] : Printed by N. Coverly, [1814?]. -- 2 p. -- Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 60334

  • American poem on Lundy's Lane, 1814.

The bold lads of Canada. -- [S.l. : s.n., 1814?]. -- 1 p. -- Contained within CIHM microfiche series, no. 40821

  • A poem on Provost's [sic; i.e.: Prevost's] naval defeat on Lake Champlain, 1814.

Chevalier, H. Émile. -- L'héroïne de Châteauguay : épisode de la guerre de 1813. -- Montréal : J. Lovell, 1858. -- 95 p. -- Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 33240

Eckert, Allan W. -- Tecumseh! A play. -- Boston : Little, Brown, 1974. -- 176 p.

An "outdoor drama" in two acts covering the whole of Tecumseh's life.

Longmore, George. -- Tecumthe : a poetical tale : in three cantos. -- Macdonald, Mary Lu, ed. -- London, Ont. : Canadian Poetry Press, 1993. -- xxxviii, 117 p.

  • First published in the Canadian review and literary and historical journal, December 1824, without the author's name. Republished in several anthologies.

McIlwraith, J.N. -- Kinsmen at war. -- Ottawa : Graphic Publishers, 1927. -- 289 p.

  • A romance with a Canadian hero and an American heroine.

Mair, Charles. -- Tecumseh : a drama. -- Toronto : Hunter, Rose; London : Chapman and Hall, 1886. -- 205 p. -- Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 09514

  • A verse play in five acts, with notes.

Montagu, M. -- Tributary verses upon the capture of the American frigateChesapeake by the British frigate Shannon, June 1, 1813 : addressed to Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, Baronet of Nacton, Suffolk : by Lieutenant M. Montagu of the Royal Navy : to which is prefixed a correct copy of Captain Broke's letter from the London gazette. -- London : printed by J.F. Dove, for E. Kerby, 1814. -- 37 p. -- Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 61363

Morley, William F.E. -- A bibliographical study of Major John Richardson. -- Toronto : Bibliographical Soc. of Canada, 1973. -- 144 p.

O'Brian, Patrick. -- The fortune of war. -- London : Collins, 1979. -- [280] p.

  • Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in a novel whose climax is the duel between HMS Shannon and USS Chesapeake.

Richardson, John. -- The Canadian brothers, or, the prophecy fulfilled : a tale of the late American war. -- Stephens, Donald, ed. -- Ottawa : Carleton Univ. Press, 1992. -- lxxxii, 541 p. -- (Centre for Editing Early Canadian Texts series, no. 9)

  • Original ed.: Montreal : A.H. Armour and H. Ramsay, 1840. -- 2 vols. Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, nos. 40102-40104

_____. -- Matilda Montgomerie : or, the prophecy fulfilled : a tale of the late American war : being the sequel to "Wacousta". -- New York : Dewitt & Davenport, 1851. -- 191 p. -- Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 42256

  • A version of The Canadian brothers for the American market.

_____. -- Tecumseh : a poem in four cantos. -- Daymond, Douglas; Monkman, Leslie, eds. -- London, Ont. : Canadian Poetry Press, 1992. -- xlviii, 186 p.

  • Originally published as: Tecumseh : or, the warrior of the west; a poem in four cantos, with notes, by an English Officer. -- London : K. Glynn, 1828.

Roberts, Kenneth. -- The Lively Lady : a chronicle of certain men of Arundel in Maine, of privateering during the War of Impressments and of the Circular Prison on Dartmoor. -- Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1931. -- 374 p.

Sperry, Armstrong. -- Storm canvas. -- Philadelphia : J.C. Winston Co., 1944. -- 301 p.

  • American naval warfare.

Thil-Lorrain, [Michel-Materne]. -- Nélida ou les guerres canadiennes, 1812-1814. -- Tournai, Belgique : Éditions Casterman, [1867?]. -- 227 p. -- Also reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 28492

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