No long poem from nineteenth-century Canada has been so much discussed as Isabella Valancy Crawford’s Malcolm’s Katie: A Love Story (1884), and none has been surrounded by so much critical controversy. To James Reaney in his seminal article on Crawford in the third series of Our Living Tradition (1959), Malcolm’s Katie is the product of an extraordinary “mythopoeic imagination”, “a myth about the whole business of being a Canadian” which is therefore exempt from the need to be “vulgarly believable in its low mimetic areas.”1 Although these views have been echoed and expanded by other critics of the mythopoeic persuasion, most notably Northrop Frye (who contends that Crawford possessed “the most remarkable mythopoeic imagination in Canadian poetry”2), they have not been shared by those readers of Malcolm’s Katie who place a high value on credibility, however vulgar, in the “low mimetic areas.” To Roy Daniells in the Literary History of Canada (1965), Malcolm’s Katie is “a preposterously romantic love story on a Tennysonian model in which a wildly creaking plot finally delivers true love safe and triumphant”3 and to Louis Dudek, in one of the summary statements at The Crawford Symposium (1977), Crawford is “a failed poet” of “hollow convention . . . counterfeit . . . feeling . . . and fake idealism.”4 Between the mythopoeic apologetics of Reaney and Frye and the realist vituperations of Daniells and Dudek, stand a number of relatively non-judgmental approaches to Crawford and her poem, approaches which are nonetheless (and inevitably) coloured by the assumptions and pre-occupations of their authors: thus Malcolm’s Katie has been given a nationalistic reading by Robin Mathews,5 a feminist reading by Clara Thomas,6 a biographical reading by Dorothy Farmiloe7 and a Marxian reading by Kenneth Hughes,8 as well as various literary-historical readings by Dorothy Livesay, Elizabeth Waterston, John Ower, Robert Alan Burns and others.9 As even this partial catalogue of Crawford criticism indicates, Malcolm’s Katie has not dwelt among the untrodden ways of Canadian literature but, on the contrary, has achieved through the praise, blame and scrutiny of critics and scholars a central place in the canon of nineteenth-century Canadian poetry.

     A common denominator beneath most discussions of Malcolm’s Katie is that they are based on a text of the poem that is both corrupt and unauthorized: the text that appears in J.W. Garvin’s posthumous edition of The Collected Poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford (1905), the volume that was chosen for facsimile reproduction in the Literature of Canada: Poetry and Prose in Reprint series of the University of Toronto Press.10 While Garvin did sound work in correcting some of the errors present in the first printing of Malcolm’s Katie in “Old Spookses’ Pass,” “Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems (1884)—a book which, in Crawford’s own words, “is decorated with press errors as a Zulu chief is laden with beads”11—he also took the liberties characteristic of nineteenth-century editors and produced an “improved” version of the poem that differs from the original in numerous major and minor ways, from the addition of punctuation marks to the omission of an entire line. Subsequent reprintings of Malcolm’s Katie, with the honourable exception of David Sinclair’s edition in Nineteenth-Century Narrative Poems (1972, and now out of print),12 have reproduced without substantial change either the error-ridden 1884 text or the ’improved’ 1905 edition of the poem.13  Not only does the textual history of Malcolm’s Katie bear out S.R. MacGillivray’s observation that “Crawford’s work has received rather cavalier treatment at the hands of her professed admirers,”14 but it underscores the need for what the present volume aims to provide: an edition of Malcolm’s Katie: A Love Story that bases itself on the original, authorized version of the poem in Old Spookses Pass, Malcolm’s Katie, and Other Poems and, at the same time, seeks to correct the “press errors” which, to Crawford’s understandable dismay, “decorated” her “only published . . . volume.”15

I: The Genesis and First Publication of Malcolm’s Katie

Since little is known about the life of Isabella Valancy Crawford (c. 1850-1887), and less about the genesis of Malcolm’s Katie (except that it was probably written for the most part after Crawford’s move to Toronto in c.1876)16, a precise, chronological placement of the poem in the context of its author’s creative career is impossible. It is possible, however, and necessary if Malcolm’s Katie is to be understood in relation to Crawford’s life and times, to place on view the main features of a biography that casts considerable light, not merely on the mentality of Crawford, but also on the predicament of a woman writer in late nineteenth-century Canada and, hence, on various aspects of the poem itself, including its depiction of Katie, its handling of mythology and—to quote Daniells once again (but without some of his pejorative adjectives)—its “romantic love story on a Tennysonian model [that] . . . finally delivers true love safe and triumphant.”

     Born in Dublin, Ireland (on Christmas day, her hagiographers would have it)17 in c. 1850, Crawford came to Canada in the late eighteen-fifties, spending the remainder of her pre-adolescent years in Paisley, Upper Canada, where her father, a spendthrift physician of dubious qualifications and competence, had come to establish a practice and a home in or about 1856. In Paisley, the young Crawford may well have acquired ideas and attitudes that would later be put to use in Malcolm’s Katie—a sense of the pioneering experience, for example, and possibly an appreciation of the local Indian (Ojibway) culture. Educated at home by her parents, she was grounded at this time in Latin, English and French18 (which it is alleged she later spoke fluently), and became an avid reader with a particular interest, according to Katherine Hale, in “the kind of books that no young girl in an Ontario village in the early sixties had studied—translations of Horace and of Dante, for instance.”19 As a consequence, possibly, of Dr. Crawford’s embezzlement of funds from nearby Elderslie Township, “the Crawfords left Paisley . . . in the summer or early fall of l86l,”20 to surface again late in 1862 in Lakefield, where Isabella probably knew the ageing Catharine Parr Trail and, more than likely, continued to accumulate impressions of various sorts that could have been put to use in the composition of Malcolms Katie. The “immediate vicinity of Lakefield was . . . dotted with prosperous farms”,21 notes Farmiloe, who adds that the village was the site of various saw and planing mills, and that its proximity to the Kawartha Lakes afforded Crawford the opportunity to experience at first hand the pleasures of canoeing. On the assumption that there was an experiential basis for the “sexual images”22 in several of Crawford’s poems, including Malcolm’s Katie, Farmiloe also speculates on the possibilities of “an illicit love affair” during the poet’s adolescence in Lakefield, and certainly it is probable that “by the time she was sixteen or seventeen”23 Crawford was becoming at least imaginatively aware of what John Ower, in his Freudian reading of her “phallic and yonic symbolism”, calls “the corporeal side of passion.”24

     From Lakefield, the Crawfords moved in late 1869 to Peterborough, where they lived until the doctor’s death in 1875 forced on the female members of the family a series of removals, first to cheaper and cheaper accommodation in Peterborough and then, probably in 1876, to a series of boarding houses in the poorer but respectable areas of Toronto. That Crawford’s one remaining sister, to whom she was evidently very close,25died within a year of her father, may well account for the presence in Malcolm’s Katie of numerous echoes of Tennyson’s In Memoriam, a poem whose Dantean elements would probably have, in any event, struck an answering chord in the budding Canadian writer. And Crawford was, by the mid-seventies, in the initial stages of becoming a Canadian writer of some reputation, a fact that probably accounts in part for her move with her mother to Toronto where, since late in 1873, she had been publishing poems in The Mail.26  For Crawford, as later for Charles GD. Roberts, E.J. Pratt and other Canadian writers, Toronto was the intellectual, literary and publishing centre of English Canada and, as such, the logical place for an aspiring and impecunious author to locate herself. What is known of Crawford’s early years in Toronto indicates that she was quick to begin exploiting the advantages of residing in a cultural centre. Her “first recorded act [on June 20, 1876] . . . was to join the Mechanics’ Institute”27 (the ancestor of the Metropolitan Toronto Public Library), where she would have had access to books and periodicals to stimulate her literary activities. Her second important act, to judge by her publishing history, was to establish contact with the Toronto Evening Telegram, where her poems began to appear regularly in 1879. The late ’seventies and early ’eighties must have been thin economic times for Crawford, however: the fewer than forty poems that she sold for “one to three dollars apiece”28 to the Telegram in her three best years (1879, 1880, 1881) would have covered only a small fraction of the cost of food and lodging during this same period.

     Very likely it was in the hope of improving both her literary reputation and her financial condition that Crawford undertook the publication at her own—or, probably, her own and her mother’s—expense of “Old Spookses’ Pass,” “Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems. Printed by James Bain and Son of Toronto in 1884, the volume must have been gratifying to Crawford on the first count: as well as being well noticed in the Toronto papers (The Globe, The Telegram and The Week), it was more-or-less favourably received by periodicals in England (The Spectator, The Literary World, The Illustrated London News and elsewhere).29  On the second count, however, the volume was an unmitigated disaster: “According to . . . Donald Bain, the ‘son’ of the firm of James Bain & Son, 1,000 copies of [“Old Spookses’ Pass, “Malcolm’s Katieand Other Poems] were printed for the author, but the book practically fell dead from the press, not more, perhaps, than fifty copies being actually sold.”30  If it cannot precisely be calculated, the fraction of her original investment that Crawford saw returned on sales of the volume can be readily imagined by multiplying the “not . . . more . . . than fifty copies . . . actually sold” by the “50 cents a copy” (less commission) that “book-dealers” in Toronto were charging for it.31  Since Crawford cannot have recovered more than $25.00 of her costs, it is hardly surprising that in 1886 she attempted to cut her losses by re-issuing “the undisposed of copies” of   “Old Spookses’ Pass,” “Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems with a new cover and title page, and, in place of   “the publishers’ advertisement on the under side [i.e., back] of the cover of the first issue . . .”, some laudatory “press notices of the volume from various Canadian and English newspapers and other publications. . . .” 32  Evidently this scheme was not entirely successful, for, some eleven years after Crawford’s premature death from heart disease on February 12, 1887, “a considerable store of unsold copies of what may be called ’the author’s edition’ [of Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems] . . . was found . . . rebound . . . [and] put on the market by William Briggs”, the Toronto publisher.33  Whatever financial success this last reissue of her book enjoyed came too late, of course, for Crawford. “In her death”, wrote Susie Frances Harrison (“Seranus”) in an obituary appreciation of Crawford in the February 24, 1887 number of The Week, “Canada has lost one of her most original, powerful, and inspired singers, albeit unknown to the general public of the Dominion, and I very much fear to the literary few among us who sometimes give a passing thought to Canadian literature.”34

II: Katie’s Education: The Proper Lady as Property

Only by reading, as it were, between the lines of this brief biographical sketch, can it be realized that, like most women writers of the nineteenth-century, Crawford was caught between two opposing systems of values and expectations. On the one hand, as the daughter of a doctor who, despite his dishonesty, imprudence and incompetence, evidently professed a degree of gentility,35 she was required to conform to existing, middle-class models of female propriety—to be modest, reticent, and self-effacing. On the other hand, as a single woman who was seemingly forced after her father’s death to help support herself and her mother by writing, she was required to assert her individuality and to “battle for recognition” 36  to be outspoken, both as a person and by profession. These opposing demands are reflected in what Farmiloe describes as “conflicting accounts” of Crawford by her contemporaries: to Katherine Wallis, who saw her in church in Peterborough when her father was still alive, she was a “slight, colourless unnoticeable figure . . . ”,37 but to Susie Frances Harrison, who met her in Toronto when she tried to sell her work to The Week, she was a “‘tall dark young woman . . . one whom most people would feel was difficult, almost repellant in her manner.’”38    An inkling of the ramifications for her writing of what Kenneth Hughes calls these “two Crawfords”39 can be gained from the closing sentences of Harrison’s obituary in The Week:

Miss Crawford . . . was of a retiring disposition, and lived very quietly with her mother. Of her prose I have not spoken, though even in that uncommon talent is revealed, in spite of some offenses against good taste.40

From a perspective that is Freudian as well as Marxian, Hughes discerns three literary consequences of the tension between, in Harrison’s terms, Crawford’s “retiring disposition” and her “uncommon talent”: “an erotic quality that bursts through [her] verse to suggest the repressive side of Victorian bourgeois respectability . . . “; a political consciousness [that] sees class conflict everywhere in so many of [the] serious . . . works” written after the “drop in social status” occasioned by the death of her father; and finally, a financial pressure “to write silly prose fiction to pander to the degraded tastes of a philistine bourgeois audience.”41  Despite its percussive stridency, Hughes’ analysis is astute and obviously pertinent across a wide spectrum of Crawford’s work, including Malcolm’s Katie, a poem which not only contains, as will be seen, some quite remarkable “erotic” and “political” components but which may also have been cast by Crawford in the form of a Tennysonian love story with a happy ending precisely because this was a mode that was likely to be popular with her “bourgeois audience.”

     But the matters of thematic emphasis and generic choice in Crawford’s work are more complex than either Harrison’s comments or Hughes’ analysis might suggest. In a recent study whose very title, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer, echoes the emphasis of the present discussion, Mary Poovey lays bare in the fiction of three female novelists of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries (Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen) the imaginative counterparts of the paradoxical behavior that women then, as in Crawford’s day, were “encouraged to cultivate in everyday life.”42 To Poovey, the tension between social propriety and female identity that inheres in the ideal of the proper lady is exacerbated in the case of the woman writer, with two consequences that are of particular relevance to Malcolm’s Katie: (1) a “tendency [among] women authors to use (or succumb to) expectations generated by such genres as sentimental novels, lyric poetry, or       romances . . .”; and (2) a tendency among these same women writers to create “opportunities for self-expression” within, say, a romance structure, by employing “strategies of indirection, obliqueness, and doubling. . . . ” 43 That both of these tendencies are evident in Malcolm’s Katie,a “romantic love story on a Tennysonian model” in which Crawford also creates “opportunities for self expression” by—in the words of Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar—”’talk[ing] back’ to [Tennyson] in her own vocabulary, her own timbre, insisting on her own viewpoint”44— is a testament to the tenacity and transportability of the tensions that Poovey discusses in a study which, it may be remarked, has broad implications for the work of Canadian woman writers from the Colonial period to well into the present century.

     Crawford’s portrayal of Katie, the only daughter and heir of the wealthy widower and “Man of Standing”45 Malcolm Graem, provides a good illustration of the way in which conventional expectations are both honoured and obliquely or indirectly contested in Malcolm’s Katie. On a cursory reading of the poem, Crawford would appear to be honouring romantic conventions without breach, not least in the depiction of her principal characters. With her “small face”(I, 20), “little feet” (III, 198), “rose-white” skin (III, 204), “yellow hair” (II, 246) and “‘violet eyes’” (III, 97), Katie is the stereotypically beautiful, diminutive and, of course, innocent heroine of romance, a figure whose “varying fortunes”—to quote Sara Jeannette Duncan in the October 28, 1886 issue of The Week—”we breathlessly follow . . . from an auspicious beginning [her engagement to Max], through harrowing vicissitudes [two brushes with death], to a blissful close [a happy and fertile marriage] 46 Very much the “painted pivot of [a] merry-go-round” (to quote Duncan again), Katie sits at the centre of a turning world in which all the characters, sometimes almost as woodenly as Duncan’s amusement-park metaphor suggests, move along lines long-established by convention. Thus her “mildly possessive . . . father”47 functions, like Prospero in The Tempest, as a blocking charac ter who effectively postpones his daughter’s marriage until her suitor has proven himself worthy of her love. Thus Max, himself a typical romantic hero in his combination of sensitivity and toughness, adventurousness and domesticity, proves himself worthy of Katie, not by stacking logs like Ferdinand in The Tempest, but—in a nice adaptation of the convention to the Canadian reality—by clearing the land of trees in order to create a brave new world for his bride. And thus Alfred, the dastardly villain of the piece, resembles Shakespeare’s Edmund (and a host of other Machiavellian and melodramatic villains) in his hunger for material possessions and in the subsequent growth of his conscience—his feelings of “‘Remorse’” (IV, 259) over his past misdeeds and of “‘Pity’” (IV, 235) for his intended victims.

     Katie not only looks but acts the part of the romantic heroine: she blushes at Max’s extravagant comments (I, 35); she waits patiently and silently for Malcolm to come around to accepting Max (I, 133: II, 47-54); she employs “all the maiden, speechless, gentle ways / A woman has” (III, 89-90) to discourage Alfred; and, in the poem’s final Miltonic and Tennysonian vision of post-lapsarian happiness,48 she seems (though more of this later) to affirm the patriarchal myth of the man she loves and to defer with proper, self-deprecating modesty to his “larger soul” (VI, 132):

“Oh, yes! said Max, with laughter in his eyes;
“And I do truly think that Eden bloom ’d
“Deep in the heart of tall, green maple groves . . .
                       .     .    .    .

“And Eve was only little Katie’s height.”
“Hoot, lad! [replies Malcolm] you speak as ev’ry Adam speaks
“About his bonnie Eve: but what says Kate?”
“O Adam had not Max’s soul,” she said;
“And these wild woods and plains are fairer far
“Than Eden’s self.”
            (VII, 22-32)

In its Edenic vision of a married Katie in “The home of Max” with Malcolm dandling her child on his knee (VII, 3-7), the conclusion of Malcolm’s Katie appears unproblematically to fulfil a comic pattern reminiscent of Shakespeare, Tennyson, Milton’s Paradise Lost and a veritable bouquet of Victorian romances. On closer scrutiny, however, Crawford’s concluding depiction of “‘little Katie’” with her child and her father in her husband’s house seems to confirm what the very title of the poem already intimates: that Katie— “Malcolm’s Katie” and then Max’s Katie—is, as would legally have been the case in Victorian Canada, a possession of the men in her life, a chattel whose value derives less from her merit as a person than from her various positions as dutiful daughter, adoring wife and fertile mother in a patriarchal system whose continuity and genealogy she assures. As Luce Irigaray puts it: “woman is traditionally use-value for man, exchange-value among men. Merchandise, then. . . . Women are marked phallically by their fathers, husbands, procurers. This stamp(ing) determines their value in sexual commerce. Woman is never anything more than the scene of more or less rival exchange between two men, even when they are competing for the possession of mother-earth.”49 Surely it is not without significance that Crawford, whose “own fate was inextricably tied to her father’s . . .” 50 created in Katie a heroine who is nearly killed by a phallic log inscribed with her father’s initials—”the potent ’G.’ and ’M.’, / Which much he lov’d to see upon his goods . . .” (III, l66-167).51  Yet in the absence of detailed and decisive external evidence, the full psychological significance for Crawford of the treatment of her heroine’s father and marriage in Malcolm’s Katie must remain obscure. Is there perhaps an element of wish-fulfilment in the fact that the conclusion of the poem finds Katie happily married and her prosperous father rejuvenated (“‘Aye, these fresh forests make an old man young’” he says)? Or is there, perhaps, a neurotic or vengeful dimension to the fact that the same Crawford who dedicated Old Spookses Pass, Malcolm’s Katie, and Other Poems neither to her father nor to her mother but to an uncle, created a heroine with no living mother who, in the end, moves her widowed father into her own marital home where he will be comforted by a loving daughter but also, to an extent, beholden to her?

     Although Crawford ensures that most aspects of Katie’s behaviour, from her suasive silence in face of her father to her approving reinforcement of myths proposed by her husband, clearly fulfil expectations associated with both the proper lady and the romantic heroine, she also manages through the oblique and indirect means described by Poovey to ensure for her protagonist (and, by extension, for herself) a measure of articulation, both as a sexual being and as a female member (some would say, certain casualty) of patriarchal society. The first instance of Crawford’s oblique characterization of Katie as a sexual being occurs in the opening lines of the poem where she employs a very proper and romantic convention—the convention that any genuinely (and desirably) innocent young lady is utterly unaware either of her own beauty (which would imply vanity) or of her own sexual desires (which would entail guilt)52—to depict her protagonist as a young woman who is both physically attractive and sexually mature. The means used by Crawford to accomplish this preservation and subversion of propriety is to have Max explain Katie to herself and to the reader, using floral metaphors which at once conceal and reveal their sexual implications:53

          “. . . Kate, look down amid the globes
“Of those large lilies that our light canoe
“Divides, and see within the polish’d pool
“That small, rose face of yours,—so dear, so fair.
                    .        .       .
                             “I being gone . . .

                  .        .       .

“That sixteen-summer’d heart of yours may say:
“‘I but was budding, and I did not know
“‘My core was crimson and my perfume sweet;
“‘I did not know how choice a thing I am;
“‘I had not seen the sun, and blind I sway’d
“‘To a strong wind, and thought because I sway’d,
“‘Twas to the wooer of the perfect rose. . . .’”
         (I, 17-32)

A variation on the technique of describing Katie’s burgeoning sexuality indirectly through Max and obliquely through floral metaphors occurs in Part III of the poem, where Crawford has her heroine sing a “lily-song that Max had made, / That spoke of lilies—always meaning Kate”:

“Mild soul of the unsalted wave!
    White bosom holding golden fire!
             .        .       .

    Thou dost desire,
With all thy trembling heart of sinless fire,
    But to be fill’d
    With dew distill’d

From clear, fond skies, that in their gloom
Hold, floating high, thy sister moon.
Pale chalice of sweet perfume,
Whiter-breasted than a dove—
To thee the dew is—love!”
             (III, 183-197)

A powerfully sensual awareness of female sexuality is here, as earlier, conveyed to the reader in a manner which deflects responsibility for such awareness away from both Katie and Crawford, though it is, of course, the latter who communicates by indirection physical desires which in Victorian Canada proper ladies were forbidden to declare straightforwardly.

     Katie’s reply to Max’s initial description of her as a budding rose with “crimson [core] and . . . perfume sweet” includes a blush which may silently indicate either (or both) a properly modest or embarrassed response to his flattering remarks and a less innocent embarrassment based on a recognition of the sexual nature of his analogies: “‘O, words!”’, she says, blushing, “‘only words! / You build them up that I may push them          down . . . ’” (I, 35-36).  Nor is a worldly-wise blush inconsistent with what is known of Katie in the opening section of the poem. Although Max’s early observation, àpropos a rather unremarkable comment of Katie’s, that “‘womankind is wise’” (I, 12) seems to flatter as well as patronize her, she quickly emerges as a sceptical critic of her lover’s “‘words’” who, despite her scepticism, is prepared to play constructively with his analogies, relating them to her own experiences as a woman and turning them, like Crawford herself with the male-generated myths and metaphors of her culture,54to her own creative and self-expressive purposes. Notice Katie’s merely conditional acceptance of Max’s perception of her in floral terms (“‘If hearts are flow’rs. . . . If  I am a bud . . .’”), and her active redirection of a version of female sexuality which, though fairly outspoken in Victorian terms, leaves something to be desired as a full explanation of a woman’s maturation and desires:

“If hearts are flow’rs, I know that flow’rs can root—
“Bud, blossom, die—all in the same lov’d soil;
“They do so in my garden. I have made
“Your heart my garden. If I am a bud
“And only feel unfoldment feebly stir
“Within my leaves, wait patiently; some June,
“I’ll blush a full-blown rose, and queen it, dear,
“In your lov’d garden. Tho’ I be a bud,
“My roots strike deep, and torn from that dear soil
“Would shriek like mandrakes—those witch things I read
“Of in your quaint old books.”
             (I, 37-47)

Katie’s version of Max’s rose metaphor is remarkable for its realism and self-assurance: under no illusions about the mutability of both flowers and love, she has no doubt either about her creative and sustaining role (“‘I have made / Your heart my garden’”) in a relationship that Max must “‘wait patiently’” to see fulfilled. Far from being just a passive recipient of masculine attention and assessment, Crawford’s heroine possesses a depth and strength (“‘My roots strike deep . . .’”) which belie her status as a romantic heroine or, indeed, as an object of sexual fantasy. And more still can be leamed about Katie’s character and social context if attention is paid to the literary component of her response to Max.

     By her own admission well-read (and in this, very likely, a surrogate for Crawford), Katie draws on Renaissance and Victorian literature to image forth what must have been the darkest fear and brightest hope of most nineteenth-century women—the fear of failure and the hope of fulfilment in virtually the only socially-acceptable arena open to them: marriage.55 In darkly envisaging herself, if alienated from Max’s affections, as “‘shriek[ing] like mandrakes,’” Katie morbidly alludes to the “shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth . . .” that Juliet imagines in her dying soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, IV, iii. In adding to this allusion a metaphorical interpretation of her own— “mandrakes” as “witch things”—Katie implies that, if a tragic failure in love does not literally destroy a woman (as was the Renaissance convention), it may nevertheless turn her creative energies in the direction of the demonic. Margaret Atwood could almost be addressing this portion of Malcolm’s Katie when she observes in Survival that the denial of Venus, the “goddess of love, sex and fertility,” has frequently led in Canadian literature to the perception of a sinister Hecate figure as “the only alternative, as the whole of the range of possibilities for being female.”56 For Canadian women of Crawford’s generation, the climate in which these possibilities were assessed was to a considerable degree regulated by meditations on the characteristics, rights and education of women in works such as Tennyson’s The Princess (to which Malcolms Katie is greatly indebted)57, John Stuart Mill’s On the Subjection of Women (1869) and John Ruskin’s Sesame and Lilies (1871). Indeed, Ruskin’s lecture “Of Queens’ Gardens” in this last work appears to lie centrally in the background of Malcolm’s Katie as a model for the ideal of feminine behaviour to which Katie and Crawford, at least superficially, subscribe. Several passages such as the following from Ruskin’s essay find conceptual and imagistic echoes in Crawford’s depiction of her heroine:

. . . consider with me . . . what special portion or kind of... royal authority, arising out of noble education, may rightly be possessed by women; and how far they . . . are called to a true queenly power,—not in their household merely, but over all within their sphere. And in what sense, if they rightly understood and exercised this royal or gracious influence, the order and beauty induced by such benignant power would justify us in speaking of the territories over which each of them reigned as “Queens’ Gardens”.

[Shakespeare] presents [women] as infallibly faithful and wise counsellors,—incorruptibly just and pure examples. . . .

So far as [woman] rules, all must be right, or nothing is. She must be enduringly, incorruptibly good; instinctively, infallibly wise—wise, not for self-development, but for self-renunciation: wise, not that she may set herself above her husband, but that she may never fail from his side. . . .

[A girl] grows as a flower does,—she will wither without sun; she will decay in her sheath . . . if you do not give her air enough. . . . Let her loose in [a] library [of old and classical books], I say, as you do a fawn in a field.

Deep rooted in the innermost life of the heart of man, and of the heart of woman, God set. . . . Power to heal, to redeem, to guide, and to guard. Power of the sceptre and the shield. . . . Will you not covet such power as this, and seek such throne as this, and be no more housewives, but queens?

. . . flowers only flourish rightly in the garden of some one who loves them.58

No doubt, Crawford drew on a diversity of sources from the Song of Songs to Tennyson’s In Memoriam and Maud for her depiction of Katie as a fair lily and a “perfect rose.” But as this brief anthology of quotations from Sesame and Lilies suggests, Ruskin’s lecture “Of Queens’ Gardens” very probably provided the agenda for Crawford’s early characterization of Katie as a wise reader of “‘old books who will one day “‘queen it . . . / In [Max’s] lov’d garden’”, as well as for the Canadian poet’s description later in the poem of her heroine’s growth from “‘budding”’ adolescence to queenly maturity.

     That growth takes place most obviously in the third part of the poem, where the passage of two years (see III, 45) and an education in the city have given Katie the appearance of a “‘full-blown rose’” and the attributes of a Ruskiian queen59 on her father’s farm:

. . . Katie’s dainty raiment was as fine
As the smooth, silken petals of the rose;
And her light feet, her nimble mind and voice.
In city schools had learn’d the city’s ways,
And grafts upon the healthy, lovely vine
They shone, eternal blossoms ’mid the fruit.
For Katie had her sceptre in her hand
And wielded it right queenly there and here,
In dairy, store-room, kitchen—ev’ry spot
Where women’s ways were needed on the place.
            (III, 26-35)

In the ensuing description, based in part, perhaps, on Catharine Parr Traill’s accounts of the Canadian pioneer woman and heroine in The Backwoods of Canada (1836), The Canadian Crusoes (1852)60 and elsewhere, Crawford extends Katie’s education well beyond the spheres normally associated with farmers’ wives and daughters, let alone with proper ladies and Ruskinian queens:

And Malcolm took her through his mighty fields,
And taught her lore about the change of crops;
And how to see a handsome furrow plough’d;
And how to choose the cattle for the mart;
And how to know a fair day’s work when done;
And where to plant young orchards; for he said,
“God sent a lassie, but I need a son—
“Bethankit for His mercies all the same.”
            (III, 36-43)

By necessity or default, pioneering and post-pioneering Canadian women frequently had to acquire (or, as Crawford’s catalogue suggests, accumulate) skills traditionally associated with men—had to become, as it were, female Crusoes. While women such as Traill and Susanna Moodie felt justified pride in their ability to master tasks and responsibilities usually assumed by men, Katie and the reader are reminded by Malcolm’s closing remarks that, no matter how skilled a “‘lassie’” may become in male spheres, she will be regarded less highly in a patriarchal system than a man, particularly in this instance, a son and heir. Malcolm’s explicit identification of the Christian God as male (“His mercies”) may be construed as a wry, and, indeed, oblique, reference by Crawford to the curious coincidence of a patriarchal society having as its deity a patriarchal God.

     In terms of the plot of the poem, Katie’s immediate response to her father’s grudging and wistful gratitude for a daughter— “And Katie, when he said it, thought of Max . . . sigh’d, and thought, ‘Would he not be your son?’” (III, 44-46)—clearly points the way towards Malcolm’s acceptance of Max, not merely as Katie’s husband, but also as a substitute for his non-existent son and, hence, as an acceptable heir for the wealth, power and prestige (see I, 60-80) that he has accumulated during the course of his life. In the ensuing passage, which describes in more detail Katie’s response to her father’s statement, Crawford indicates with lucid economy the restricted and paradoxical position of a woman in a patriarchal society. Having acquired and inherited from her father qualities traditionally considered to be male, Katie uses these qualities, not actively to achieve or exercise power (a prerogative all but forbidden to women in Crawford’s day), but passively to reinforce her conventionally feminine reliance on reticence and patience. She conceives of Max as a “filial surrogate”61 to her father, “But all in silence, for she [has] too much / Of the firm will of Malcolm in her soul / To think of shaking that deep-rooted rock . . .” (III, 47-48). Instead of being active and articulate in persuading Malcolm of Max’s merit, she will be silent and passive, relying on a combination of her father’s increasing “love / For his one child” and “. . . some slight stroke / Of circumstance . . .” (III, 50-54) to bring about a softening of his attitude towards her lover. To the extent that Katie has now achieved the paradoxically self-negating and self-defining combination of strength and dependence that patriarchal culture values in a woman. her education and development are complete. As Ruskin puts it in his discussion of the education of a girl in “Of Queens’ Gardens”: “as the strength she gains will permit you . . . fill and temper her mind with . . . such knowledge . . . as may enable her to understand, and even aid, the work of men. . . .” 62  Not fortuitously, Katie’s very proper decision to wait quietly on her father’s change of heart is followed immediately by the appearance of Alfred, the “wooer . . . Max prophesied” (III, 55): it is now time, because fairly safe, to test the self-control and tact that she has shown herself amply to possess.

     During the initial stages of Alfred’s wooing, it is precisely Katie’s self-control and tact that are tested. Gifted both physically and intellectually, Alfred is attractive both to women (see III, 56-58) and to Malcolm, who sees him as a suitable heir for his estate (III, 69-70) and as a somewhat less suitable husband for his daughter (III, 66-68). Although Malcolm is inclined to refer such intangibles as affection and character to a financial norm (“‘I would there was a way to ring a lad / Like a silver coin, and so find out the true . . .’” [III, 85-86], he says), he does not, to his credit, place his desire for a financial heir over his daughter’s right to a free choice in the selection of a husband. Yet, despite Malcolm’s assertion that “‘Kate shall say [Alfred] ‘Nay’ or say him ‘Yea’ / At her own will’” (III, 87-88), he seems prepared, if necessary (i.e. if Katie should show signs of saying “‘Yea’” rather than “‘Nay’” to Alfred), to exercise the Victorian father’s right to forbid his daughter to marry an unsuitable man: “‘Nay, nay: she shall not wed him—rest in peace’” (III, 77), he exclaims at one point, and at another: “‘She shall not wed him—rest you . . . in peace’” (III, 253) Both of these exclamations are addressed, interestingly enough, to Katie’s dead mother, who apparently speaks to Malcolm in dreams, warning him of the unsuitability of Alfred as a husband for her daughter and, possibly, urging him to use his patriarchal authority to ensure their daughter’s happiness. This bringing into life of a dead matriarchal authority turns out to be unnecessary, for Katie is quite able to resist whatever attractions Alfred may hold for her and, moreover, to do so with the tactful silence required of a proper lady: “And Katie said him ‘Nay,’ / In all the maiden, speechless, gentle ways /A woman has” (III, 87-89). Needless to say, Katie’s rejection of Alfred merely escalates his desire for her and her father’s wealth until, after he has well-and-truly ingratiated himself by rescuing her from drowning in the river, she is forced to say “him ‘Nay’ at last, in words / Of such true-sounding silver that he knew / He might not win her at the present hour . . .” (III, 269-271). While Katie’s declaration of her position vis-à-vis Max and Alfred is obviously sincere and convincing, the narrator’s definition of it in terms of the commercial framework that governs all the men with whom she is involved (and, of course, she is involved only with men) indicates that in the world inhabited by Crawford’s heroine (and, indeed, Crawford herself) nothing, not even female integrity and self-expression, can escape being evaluated in economic terms. Where homo economicus rules all things—barns (I, 60), sheep (I, 63), corn (I, 111), mountains (I, 122)—even men, women and words become commodities, items for evaluation and exchange in an economy based on a gold, or, more often in Malcolm’s Katie, a silver, standard.

     Although Malcolm’s Katie nowhere explicitly addresses the question of what happens to a female sense of self in a society that is fundamentally commercial and patriarchal in its assumptions, the poem does, as we have seen, reflect this issue at several points, nowhere more obviously perhaps than in the narrator’s description of Katie when she disappears under her father’s “wooden wealth” as “the rich man’s chiefest treasure” (III, 216-217). If anything, more sinister from the perspective of the female psyche than Katie’s temporary disappearance under (and assimilation to) her father’s “wooden wealth” (III, 217), is the subsequent account of her integrity in terms of a precious jewel inscribed on its only surface and reflecting “thro’ all its clear depths” her future husband’s name:

. . . Katie’s mind was like the plain, broad shield
Of a table di’mond, nor had a score of sides;
And in its shield, so precious and so plain,
Was cut, thro’ all its clear depths—Max’s name.
And so she said [Alfred] “Nay” at last.
              (III, 265-269)

Katie’s single-minded devotion to Max, this passage tells us, constitutes her defence (“shield”) against Alfred and, moreover, enables her finally to articulate her rejection of the false suitor. But the passage also suggests that, though Katie’s diamond-like strength, value and simplicity are her own, her mind is so ubiquitously inscribed with “Max’s name” that little, if any, space remains there for an identity other than the one that inheres in her complete devotion to her future husband. One is reminded of Catherine’s famous description of her adamantine love for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights: “‘. . . I am Heathcliff—he’s always, always in my mind— . . . as my own being.’”63 Once again, Malcolm’s Katie articulates the paradox that, in patriarchal society, a woman gains her identity when she loses it, becomes most valued when she allows her self to be fully appropriated by a man.

     No one, except perhaps a complete cynic, would wish to argue that the consequences of the love of Max and Katie are entirely negative, either for him or for her. Love is in fact motivating and sustaining for both of them: it energizes Max’s pioneering activities; it buttresses Katie’s defenses against Alfred; it issues in the couple’s happiness at the close of the poem. But there is not a strict symmetry in the love that unites the couple, for, while Max is “Doubt-wounded” (IV, 192) by Alfred’s specious claim to have succeeded in winning Katie’s love, Katie retains throughout the parallel attempts of Alfred to alienate her affections from Max, an unwavering belief in her future husband’s fidelity, a belief which, interestingly enough, she twice grounds in statements of her own integrity: “‘he is true since I am faithful still’” (V, 131) and “‘He is as true as I am’” (VI, 70). While these and other statements by Katie are little more than reiterations of the axioms of romantic love, they also reveal, particularly in the context of Max’s earlier and temporary failure to sustain his faith in Katie, the extent to which love is more for Crawford’s heroine than for her hero the very root and sum of identity. Max survives his lapse of faith in Katie, in Love and in himself and returns, strengthened and enlarged by his painful experiences, to claim his waiting bride. Katie experiences no comparable lapse of faith but continues to grow inexorably towards the masculine ideal of the selfless feminine self. After fainting at Alfred’s thoroughly convincing assertion of Max’s death and then nearly drowning at the hands of the crazed villain, she awakens as a completely mature—which is to say, utterly selfless—wife for Max: “‘Do as you will, my Max’”, she says, as Max apparently hesitates between comforting her and rescuing Alfred,

                             “I would not keep
“You back with one light-falling finger-tip!”
And cast herself from his large arms upon
The mosses at his feet, and hid her face
That she might not behold what he would do;
Or lest the terror in her shining eyes
Might bind him to her, and prevent his soul
Work out its greatness. . . .
              (VI, 135-142)

Within moments of being rescued from drowning by Max, Katie has the presence of mind to shield her big, strong man from even the possibility of thinking (wrongly, of course) that she would deny him the fulfilment of his destiny. Here, clearly, is a mature woman and a suitable wife.

     The contradictory position into which Katie’s achievement of selfless self-fulfilment at the end of Malcolm’s Katie places her becomes fully evident in the final lines of the poem. After compounding her two previous disappearances (and near deaths) underwater by disappearing under the name of Eve in Max’s Edenic myth, “‘little Katie’” (VII, 27) surfaces to offer her vision of the new world as a post-Edenic refuge for old-world paupers. When seen in a positive light, Katie’s final speech appears to expand, in a quite radical way, Ruskin’s idea in “Of Queens’ Gardens” that “. . . wherever a true wife comes . . . home is always round her. . . . [H]ome is yet wherever she is; and for the noble woman it stretches far around her, better than ceiled with cedar or painted with vermilion, shedding its quiet light far, for those who else were homeless.”  Katie’s thoughtful, socialistic and female-centred elaboration of Max’s myth is framed, however, by fulsome comments about Max himself which recall Ruskin’s less-palatable contention that, while man is “eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender,” woman’s “great function is Praise: she enters into no contest, but infallibly adjudges the crown of contest”:64

“O Adam had not Max’s soul,” she said;
“And these wild woods and plains are fairer far
“Than Eden’s self. O bounteous mothers they!
“Beck’ning pale starvelings with their fresh, green hands,
“And with their ashes mellowing the earth,
“That she may yield her increase willingly.
“I would not change these wild and rocking woods,
“Dotted by little homes of unbark’d trees,
“Where dwell the fleers from the waves of want,—
“For the smooth sward of selfish Eden bowers,
“Nor—Max for Adam, if I knew my mind.”
             (VII, 30-40)

To the extent that it revalues both Max’s Edenic myth by rendering it post-Edenic and Milton’s post-Edenic myth (“A paradise within thee, happier far”) by rendering it external, this description of Canada is a ‘talking back’ to patriarchal mythology, a ’talking back’ which is reinforced by Katie’s figuration of the country in distinctly female and, in fact, matriarchal terms, with “‘woods and fields’” as “‘bounteous mothers’” enriching—indeed, fertiising—mother “‘earth / That she may yield her increase willingly.’” But Katie’s vision of a munificent and wilful female nature, her projection from within of an accommodating and unselfish Eden in which “‘pale starvelings” from the old world can make new “‘homes’” both from and among the western “‘woods’,” is compromised by a closing comment— “‘if I knew my mind’”—that seems to signal a final failure of self-confidence on her part or, worse, a chilling admission of alienation from her own thoughts, feelings, desires and perceptions, from the constituents of her very identity.

     A less pessimistic, though hardly sanguine, reading of Katie’s final words is that they do not represent a lack either of self-confidence or self-knowledge but, rather, the pretence of uncertainty and ignorance that was required in Crawford’s day of any woman who found herself in the position of wanting to work both with and against the patriarchal assumptions that governed her life. To articulate one’s ideas and, in the same breath, cast doubt on their authority is to be almost simultaneously outspoken and acquiescent. It is—to elevate Katie’s closing speech to the level of its implications for Crawford—to reconcile the demands of the proper lady and the woman writer by inscribing within a patriarchal discourse (the Tennysonian domestic idyl, the Christian myth of Eden) a version of the female consciousness that such potent forces of patriarchy as education and economics have rendered self-contradictory. Specific support within the text for the hypothesis that, in a manner analogous to Malcolm’s Katie as a whole, the final speech of Crawford’s heroine represents a paradoxical acceptance and contestation of patriarchal culture, can be found in the fact that Katie’s final expression of self-awareness and self-doubt— “‘if I knew my mind’”—echoes almost precisely (yet, note, not quite precisely) the closing words— “‘if I know my mind’” (III, 151)—of the violently nihilistic Alfred’s earlier meditation on the attractions “‘not of Katie’s face, / But of her father’s riches!’” (III, 121-122). Just as Crawford quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson, but with a difference constituted by such factors as her place, time, class and gender, so she makes Katie quote Alfred, but with one crucial difference: a change in tense from the present of “‘if I know my mind’”, a phrase which speaks of resolve or determination and, indeed, presence of mind, to the past of “‘if I knew my mind,’” a phrase which speaks by comparison of bewilderment and—the term seems almost inevitable— absent mindedness.65   Katie’s “‘if I knew my mind’” is less idiomatic and more self-reflexive than Alfred’s “‘if I know my mind’” but, paradoxically (and in an epitome of the contradictions attendant upon the female in Crawford’s narrative and society), it reveals a consciousness of the self, both past and present, as alien and inscrutable—as no longer what it may have been and uncertain about what it may have become.

     For the romantic reader of Malcolm’s Katie, the reader expecting only the “Love Story” promised by the poem’s subtitle, the irony inherent in the repetition at the querulous close of Katie’s final speech is not  destabilizing66 : it does not call seriously into question either the validity of the poem’s final vision of a “‘fairer’” Eden in the North American woods or, in textual terms, the fulfilment in the poem’s last section of a comic movement towards “a new world”67of harmony, love and fertility. But for a reader more attuned to the implications of the poem’s title,68 more alert to the ramifications for “little” Katie of her status as a possession first of her father and then of her husband (both of whom, it may be noted, have the initials M.G.—Malcolm Graem and Max Gordon69), Malcolm’s Katie becomes, as has been seen, a complex essay into the effects of patriarchal culture on the female psyche. Such feminist concerns will not be left entirely behind as the discussion now turns to consider further the characters of Alfred and Max in the poem and, beyond them, the overall pattern and texture of Malcolm’s Katie, particularly in terms of Crawford’s use of materials drawn from Greek and Amerindian mythology. Indeed, the first point to be made about Alfred and Max is that, as a pair, the two men are closely linked to what Jean E. Kennard sees as a dominant feature of Victorian fiction: “the convention of the two suitors” which, in the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and others, charts a “heroine’s progress towards maturity” in relation to an “unscrupulous or ‘wrong’ suitor and [an] exemplary or ‘right’ suitor. . . .” 70  As Kennard notes, this structure is “inherently sexist” in its equation of the heroine’s “attainment of maturity” with “the great reward”: “marriage to the right suitor,” which not only provides “a conclusion to the novel” but also indicates—if only on the surface—the woman’s “adjustment to society’s values.”71

III: Katie’s Two Suitors and the Forces of Construction and De(con)struction

More interesting than the mere presence of the two-suitors convention in Malcolm’s Katie is Crawford’s fairly complex handling of it—her depiction of the right suitor as a loving but somewhat taciturn and curiously faceless pioneer and her depiction of the wrong suitor as a selfish but highly articulate and physically attractive nihilist.72 Could it be that Max and Alfred are the products of a process of doubling on the part of their creator, a process of division within the contradictory feminine self whereby the former represents the right choice only for the proper lady in Crawford (or the acquiescent Katie) and the latter represents the powerful attractions for the woman writer (or the outspoken Katie) of rhetorical skill and articulated mind? Certainly, many readers of Malcolm’s Katie must have felt the intellectual appeal of Alfred, 73 and noticed, too, the imagistic and verbal parallels that link him to Katie—not least, his blue eyes and blond hair (III, 56-57) and—in addition to the repetition of  ‘if I know / knew my mind’—the awareness of language and its devices that he shares with Crawford’s heroine (and, obviously, with Crawford herself). “‘These myths serve well for simile, I see’” (IV, 234) observes Alfred in a suggestively metapoetic statement that finds an echo in Katie’s later “‘He is as true as I am / And did I seek for stronger simile, / I could not find such in the universe!’” (VI, 70-72). But while the repetition of the word “‘simile’” in these two quotations draws Katie and Alfred together, it also points the way towards a recognition of the essential differences between the two characters (and between Alfred and Max) in their attitude to words, to themselves and to the world, for while Alfred’s remark reflects his skeptical and manipulative approach to language (myth, simile), Katie’s statement is indicative of the utter sincerity of her belief in herself and in Max. In Crawford’s hands, the two-suitor convention becomes a vehicle for the presentation of a rich dialectic between various forms of construction and destruction, a dialectic in which the attitudes of Max, Alfred and Katie to words are as complex and telling as any other aspect of their characterization.

     Although Katie’s attitude to Max’s utterances and ideas in the opening section of the poem is playfully sceptical (not to say deconstructive in a quite literal sense: “‘words . . .  only words! ’”, she says, “‘You build them up that I may push them down’” [I, 35-361), she is not allowed by Crawford to develop her approach to language into anything like what it has the potential to be: a radical critique of male-generated discourse. On the contrary (and after employing her scepticism to good effect on Alfred’s various verbal deceptions), she arrives at a position in which she so completely identifies herself with Max that there is precious little difference between them to be expressed: “‘He is as true as I am’” is, in fact, less a “‘simile’” than a statement of identity (or sameness) and, as such, both a genuine affirmation of belief and an adumbration of the Katie who, at the end of the poem, has so identified herself with her husband that her own mind has become bewilderingly inscrutable. In profound contrast to Katie, and despite the increasing strength of his conscience, Alfred maintains throughout the portions of the poem in which he appears an intellectual position that is, as already intimated, thoroughly cynical, self-centred and, ultimately, nihilistic—a radically subversive position which makes possible, even inevitable, his assaults, not merely on Max’s beliefs about Love, God and nation-building, but also on the Christian-humanist teleology74 that, in Crawford’s day, undergirded conventional views of progress, language, mythology—the universe. Precisely to the degree that he conceives of a universe of “‘purblind Chance’” (III, 145), that he espouses a “‘faith in deep and dark unfaith’” (IV, 223), Alfred is able to cut words and myths adrift from their traditional contexts and referents, and to put them at the service of his own selfish and anti-social purposes—his own will to wealth and power. For Alfred, as the following exchange with Max indicates, words and myths are mere words and myths: having no truth value, no specific referent, they can be applied to anyone or anything, at the whim of their manipulator:

“I’d swear by Kate,” said Max; and then, “I had
“A mother, and my father swore by her,”
“By Kate? Ah, that were lusty oath, indeed!
“Some other man will look into her eyes,
“And swear me roundly, ‘By true Catherine!’
“As Troilus swore by Cressèd—so they say.”
             (IV, 149-154)

Whereas in this passage it is merely the legendary infidelity of Cressida that Alfred attaches to Katie, in a later statement, part of which has already been quoted, it is two Christian figures—the “devil” and the “soul”—that are reduced to a mere figure of speech in a play for power:

“And Katie shall believe [Max] false—not dead;
“False, false!—and I? O, she shall find me true—
“True as a fabl’d devil to the soul
“He longs for with the heat of all Hell’s fires.
“These myths serve well for simile, I see.”
             (IV, 230-234)

As part of the contrast between the good and the bad characters in Malcolm’s Katie, Crawford gives to her hero and heroine an almost medieval belief that a word is a bond, that there is a connection between language and inner reality, and gives to her villain the more resonantly modern view that whatever meaning any word or myth may have is capricious, floating and subjective.

     In the course of Malcolm’s Katie, Alfred is given several lengthy speeches in which he articulates in great detail and in memorable rhetoric his views of love, life and the universe. In the first of these speeches, an internal monologue “said in his wall’d mind” (III, 91) after his first rejection by Katie, Alfred immediately reveals his skill in using words to obscure rather than represent his feelings. Specifically, and with self-acknowledged insincerity, he takes a swatch of devices, terms and images conventionally associated with Petrarchan and Romantic love and weaves them into a skein of words that is as mystifying as it is serious-sounding:

“O, Kate, were I a lover, I might feel
“Despair flap o’er my hopes with raven wings:
“Because thy love is given to other love.
“And did I love—unless I gain’d thy love,
“I would disdain the golden hair, sweet lips,
“Air-blown form and true violet eyes . . .

                 .       .      .

“Unlov’d and loving, I would find the cure
“Of Love’s despair in nursing Love’s disdain—
“Disdain of lesser treasure than the whole.”
             (III, 92-102)

Like most of Malcolm’s Katie, this is written in blank verse; however, the repeated chiming of various words—most notably “love” and its cognates—throughout the passage, conveys the distinct impression of rhyme, and may even remind the reader of such specific repositories of sonnetal ingenuity and amatory cliche as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese.  Alfred concludes his meditation on what he “‘might feel”’ were [he] a lover’” with a phrase—“Not I, in truth!”—that neatly sums up the complete absence on his part of commitment to anything so idealistic and unselfish as a straightforward love of another person.

     After revealing in the opening movement of his monologue that he harbours no affection at all for Katie, Alfred proceeds to portray himself as a man who, having experienced the pleasures of love as transitory, has resolved to be a “‘lover—not of Katie’s face, / But of her father’s riches’” (III, 121- 122). This declaration is the key to an understanding of Alfred’s attitude to Katie, and the key also to a recognition of one of the major differences between him and Max. For while Katie’s right suitor aims to become a successful pioneer in order to win his bride, her wrong suitor aims to make her his wife in order to gain her father’s wealth. Like his repeated emphasis on his own “‘will’” (III, 109) and “‘wish’” (III, 123), Alfred’s motivating “‘Passion’” (III, 119) for “‘gold’” (III, 150) associates him with the great villains of Renaissance poetry and drama (Shakespeare’s Edmund, as already mentioned, but also Jonson’s Volpone and Milton’s Satan), figures who also suffer from a preponderance of will and passion over right reason. Nor are Alfred’s Renaissance associations inconsistent with other aspects of his character, such as his designation of “Blind Chance” (IV, 244) as his God and his denial of any reality other than mere nature (“‘the black ocean whence . . . life emerg’d . . .’” [III, 244]), which carry the imprint of the late nineteenth century. Those who “attribute the creation of everything to nature, must necessarily associate chance with nature as a joint divinity”75 observes Milton in a remark that admirably glosses Alfred’s espousal of the bleaker implications of Darwinism for the natural world and the human identity, and, in so doing, points towards the dark centre around which Crawford has constellated her villain’s chief characteristics: an ateleological position that is thoroughly inimical to the tenets of Christian-humanism, whether in the Renaissance or the Victorian period.

     In his second major speech, delivered in response to Max’s belief that he and his axe are doing “‘immortal tasks’” in “‘ build[ing] up nations’” (IV, 55-56), Alfred elaborates his ateleological position into a view of history as a ceaseless contest between constructive and destructive forces that is worked out in “‘worlds that walk / In the blank paths of Space and blanker Chance’” (IV, 75-76). On the side of construction Alfred places personified Time, a female figure whose forgetfulness of past cycles of construction and destruction encourages “‘Fool’d nations, and . . . their dullard sons’” (IV, 135) to dream with her that their “‘deeds and handiwork / Shall be immortal’”.  On the side of destruction Alfred places “‘Death” (IV, 136), a figure whose “‘immortality’” is that of a mathematical constant: a fixed and unchanging reflection of the “‘Nothingness’” (“‘O,’” “‘Naught’”) that circumscribes all life, past and present. Surely it is not simply fortuitous that Alfred’s concluding assertion— “‘Naught is immortal save immortal—Death!’”—is followed by Max’s articulation of two markedly non-mathematical concepts of the unchanging and invariable: “‘eternity’”, which is qualitatively different from Alfred’s linear notion of ceaselessness, and fidelity, which is, of course, the “‘constant’” in the bright religion of Love that Max opposes to what Alfred subsequently calls his “‘faith in deep and dark unfaith’”.

     That Crawford has gone to considerable pains to depict Katie’s right and wrong suitors as diametrically opposed to one another in word, deed and thought is even evident in the literary resonances that surround the expressions of their ideas in the opening and central sections of the poem. For example, the echoes of Dante and St. Augustine that can be clearly heard in the description of Max’s religion of Love in the second part of the poem (of which more in due course, and see Explanatory Notes, II, 184-190), contrast radically with echoes in Alfred’s speeches of such thorough-going sceptics as Matthew Arnold’s Empedocles (who, like Crawford’s villain, lectures at length on the “‘Gods’” that foolish men invent) and—especially in Alfred’s second long speech—C.F. Volney, whose Ruins; or, a Survey of the Revolutions of Empires offers a rational account, not merely of the rise and fall of ancient states, but also of the origins of various notions of God and systems of morality. Interestingly enough, Volney’s Ruins is the first book to which Mary Shelley exposes the monster in Frankenstein, and it is the source of the creature’s dismaying discovery of what Alfred, “Reputed wealthy” (III, 56) and hungry for gold, seems always to have known: “‘that the possessions most esteemed by [men are] high and unsullied descent united with riches.’”76   It is as if Frankenstein’s monster did not, after all, destroy himself in “the most northern extremity of the globe” but instead crossed the polar icecap to Canada to begin again under the name of Alfred in Malcolm’s Katie the inner journey from “mischief to “remorse”!77

     Delivered after Max has been “beat[en] . . . to the earth” (IV, 218) by the tree that he was felling, Alfred’s third major speech reveals both explicitly in its self-reflexive reference to the “‘devil’” and implicitly in its inverted allusions to the Bible that Katie’s wrong suitor, even as he feels the first stirrings of “‘Pity’” and “‘Remorse’” in his being, stands on the side of Satan and evil against God and good. Badly misreading the significance of the tree’s collapse on Max rather than himself (the tree is, of course, commanded by “A voice from God . . .” [IV, 200] to save Max from himself by pinioning him to the ground and thus preventing him from killing Alfred), Crawford’s villain interprets the event as an indication that, if there are “‘Gods . . . /They play at games of chance with thunderbolts . . .’”. No sooner has Alfred drawn from the tree incident confirmation of his “‘faith in . . . unfaith’” and assurance of his imminent possession of Katie, than he begins to feel the pangs of emerging compassion—“‘A strange, strong     giant . . . / . . . bursting all the granite of [his] heart’” and prompting him to rescue “‘poor fond and simple Max’” from what seems like inevitable death. The battle between Alfred and compassion that constitutes the core of the speech has the markings of a Christian psychomachia, but with the attributes traditionally associated with evil (the flesh, the serpent, the lower) being attached by Alfred to “‘Pity’” and “‘Remorse’”:

“. . . down, Pity! knock not at my breast,
“Nor grope about for that dull stone my heart;
“I’ll stone thee with it, Pity! Get thee hence,
“Pity, I’ll strangle thee with naked hands;
“For thou dost bear upon thy downy breast
“Remorse, shap’d like a serpent, and her fangs
“Might dart at me and pierce my marrow thro’.

                   .        .         .

“Down hands! Ye shall not lift his fall’n head. . . .”
              (IV, 235-24 1, 245)

Where St. Paul finds in his flesh an evil force that militates against his desire to do good (see Romans 7.18-23), Alfred finds in his hands a reprehensible urge to save Max. Where Christ says “‘Get thee behind me, Satan’”, Alfred says “‘Get thee hence, / Pity.’” Where Christian tradition associates Satan with a serpent that rises from below to tempt man, the Satanic Alfred conceives of “‘Remorse’” as the poisonous enemy to be resisted, and ends his speech convinced that he has successfully vanquished the forces of compassion and self-reproach which have threatened to impede his progress towards Katie’s father’s wealth.

     But Alfred has not conquered Remorse. In his last two lengthy speeches, in Parts V and VI of the poem, he continues to do battle with the “‘strange, fang’d monster’” (VI, 93) as his growing love for Katie herself threatens to eclipse both his desire for Malcolm’s gold and his commitment to his own self-interest:

                             “O Katie, child,
“Wilt thou be Nemesis, with yellow hair,
“To rend my breast? for I do feel a pulse
“Stir when I look into thy pure-barb’d eyes—
“O, am I breeding that false thing, a heart,
“Making my breast all tender for the fangs
“Of sharp Remorse to plunge their hot fire in?
“I am a certain dullard!”
             (V, 140-147)

Unwilling to succumb either to Love or Remorse, and unable to bear the frustration of not possessing Katie, Alfred focuses his thoughts increasingly in his final speeches on self-destruction, first simply on his own suicide and then—after the failure of a last, desperate attempt to destroy Katie’s devotion to Max—the attempted suicide-murder that leads to the denouement of the poem.

     As he contemplates suicide in his last inner monologue (V, 140-167), Alfred envisages his own extinction as a marriage, not to Death (“‘a fruitful wife’” who promises altogether too much continuity with life for his liking), but to the very antithesis of being and doing: “‘great Nothingness’”, “‘the blank-ey’d queen’” whose gifts are utter forgetfulness (her “‘wassail bowl / Is brimm’d from Lethe . . .’”) and complete oblivion (“‘her porch is red / With poppies’”). The sense in this monologue of a Hamlet who has become addicted to classical name-dropping (Nemesis, Lethe) continues with Alfred’s final speech, where a variety of classical allusions and references (to Cupid, the “‘Hydra,’” a “‘propylaeum’”, “‘lictors’” and “‘fasces’”) are embedded in a morbid disquisition on the sleep that is death. The speech ends with a clear echo of Hamlet’s “To die, to sleep, / To sleep— perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub . . .”:

“O you [Katie] shall slumber soundly, tho’ the white,
“Wild waters pluck the crocus of your hair,
“And scaly spies stare with round, lightless eyes
“At your small face laid on my stony breast.
“Come, Kate! I must not have you wake, dear heart,
“To hear you cry, perchance, on your dead Max.”
              (VI, 108-113)

The first four lines of this passage are amongst the finest in Crawford’s canon, and their combination of imagistic richness and verbal felicity helps to ensure that Alfred’s voice, heard in the majority of the most eloquent and extended speeches in Malcolm’s Katie, is not forgotten when he falls silent in the penultimate section of the poem. Indeed, so memorable is Alfred as a character and as a thinker that, even after he is silenced and Malcolm’s Katie has ended, his self-centred nihilism remains to contest the poem’s concluding vision of a loving and accommodating community and, moreover, to lend to the poem—particularly for a twentieth-century reader—the quality of a dialogue on the meaning and purpose of life, a dialogue that has been happily, but not ultimately, resolved. After all, it is Alfred’s “‘if I know my mind!’” that the reader hears in Katie’s “‘if I knew my mind.’” And is there not in Katie’s closing doubt a point at which the poem opens itself again, at the very moment of its apparent conclusion, to Alfred’s “‘blank-ey’d queen’”—the “‘great Nothingness’” whose gifts are forgetfulness and oblivion? Nevertheless, both the comic movement of Malcolm’s Katie and the trajectory of Alfred’s emerging conscience demand that in the final scene of the poem Katie’s wrong suitor must have abandoned his evil ways and developed the “heart” that he had earlier feared. Neither of these demands is frustrated in the poem’s last, explicit reference to Alfred:

Upon [Malcolm’s] knee [sat] a little, smiling child,
Nam’d—Alfred, as the seal of pardon set
Upon the heart of one who sinn’d and woke
To sorrow for his sins—and whom they lov’d
With gracious joyousness—nor kept the dusk
Of his past deeds between their hearts and his.
               (VII, 7-12)

Night has turned to day, and Alfred has seen the light, but it is still the dark Alfred—Alfred the eloquent nihilist—who sticks in the reader’s mind. Or, as another Canadian poet puts it: “Silence resettled testifies to bells.”78

     In comparison with Alfred, Katie’s right suitor seems to be a relatively straight-forward character—a doer rather than a thinker. Indeed, from Alfred’s metaphysical perspective, Max is a simple-minded “‘dullard’” (IV, 135), an analysis which Max himself does little to refute when he admits that Alfred is “‘too subtle’” for him, that he has no “‘argument’” with which to “‘oppose’” (IV, 157- 158) the cynical nihilism of the man who, unbeknown to him at this point, is his rival for Katie’s hand. Yet Max is not the deluded fool that Alfred makes him out to be. On the contrary, he possesses a coherent and motivating vision which, though it does not remain entirely unscathed by irony in the course of the poem, enables him to create in (and of) the Canadian wilderness79 a “‘little home unbark’d trees’” (VII, 37) in which, as evidenced by the baby Alfred and Max’s myth of Eden, love can flourish and life have meaning. As intimated by the very act with which Malcolm’s Katie opens—Max’s giving to Katie of a “silver ring” made from his first “wage” (I, 1-3)—the primary force behind his subsequent pioneering activities is his love for his future bride. Before the first part of the poem has come to a close, however, Max has expounded in two long speeches an idealistic conception of pioneering which is, in effect, both purposive and self-defining. (That Max is comparatively silent in the remainder of Malcolm’s Katie can be seen as a consequence of his physical exertions: hewers of wood—Max’s “‘thew’d warriors of the Axe’” [I, 109]—are seldom given to loquaciousness.)

     Max begins and ends his discussion of pioneering by manifesting a certain amount of hostility to Katie’s father,80 a self-made man who seems to him to be made of  “‘rock through all’” (I, 57) and, moreover, to evince an idolatrous affection for the products of his farm (II, 60-66). In Max’s eyes, and in an image that brings to mind the pioneering circles and clearings of Oliver Goldsmith’s The Rising Village81 and Al Purdy’s “The Country North of Belleville”,82 Malcolm’s farm is a series of “‘Outspreading circles of increasing gold’” (I, 111) in which the living (and Edenic) bounty of nature that will characterize Max’s own homestead, with its “wealth of drooping vines” and “rich, fresh fields” (VII, 3, 5), has been transformed by an unloving, snobbish homo economicus into “‘ingots,’” “‘golden fleeces’” and even golden calves (I, 62-65). But in the central portions of his discussion, under pressure from Katie, Max arrives at a more charitable construal of Malcolm and, in the process, articulates his own, very positive understanding of pioneering. In lines that anticipate his own reduction of the western forests to “great heaps of [burning] brush” (II, 174) and “blacken’d stumps” (II, 211), he describes the clearing of their land by Malcolm, his brother and their father in terms remimscent of the founding by Romulus and Remus of the settlement that became Rome:

“He and his brother Reuben, stalwart lads,
“Yok’d themselves, side by side, to the new plough;
“Their weaker father . . .
                    . . . in large, gnarl’d hands
“The plunging handles held; with mighty strains
“They drew the ripping beak through knotted sod,
“Thro’ tortuous lanes of blacken’d, smoking stumps;
“And past great flaming brush heaps. . . .”
             (I, 71-79)

The pattern here of an old man necessarily relying on the strength of his sons has an obvious relevance to the (near-oedipal) relationship between Max and his future father-in-law. It therefore serves, like much else in the passage, to reinforce the parallels and continuities between past and present pioneers. Nowhere is Max’s sense of kinship with Malcolm more evident than in his fervent response to the fact that the Graems were yeoman farmers who “‘OWN’D the rugged soil’” on which—and here his ambivalence about Malcolm’s commercial and social attitudes can again be heard—they “‘fought for . . . dear love of wealth and pow’r, / And honest ease and fair esteem of men . . .’” (I, 86-88).   “‘One’s blood heats at it!’”, exclaims Max, partly in anger, perhaps, but also with more than a modicum of enthusiasm.

     Despite his partial distaste for Malcolm’s “‘wealth and pow’r,’” Max proceeds in the remainder of his exchange with Katie to paint an idealistic picture of pioneering as an activity that is heroic in a way quite different from, and, to his mind, clearly superior to, traditional, European conceptions of the heroic. Whereas destruction and exploitation, iniquity and inequality, are the trademarks of Old-World heroism—that is, heroism in the service of King, country and Empire—the hallmarks of pioneer heroism in the New World—the heroism of clearing, ploughing and building on the land—are rural peace, unpretentious prosperity 83 and, above all, mutual love and equality under God. For Max, the pioneer labours heroically in the fields to achieve for himself and his wife a condition that echoes back to the one enjoyed by Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost (the direction of the allusion in “hand in hand”) and forward to that enjoyed by Katie and Max himself at the conclusion of Malcolm’s Katie (where the phrase “hand in hand” also occurs):

“. . . four walls, perhaps a lowly roof;
Kine in a peaceful posture; modest fields;
“A man and a woman standing hand in hand
“In hale old age, who, looking o’er the land,
“Say: ’Thank the Lord, it all is mine and thine!’”
              (I, 104-108)

“‘[F]our walls, perhaps a lowly roof’”—this is Crawford at, or near, her worst, sacrificing sense to syllables and, as a result, tinging with ludicrousness at the start a vision of sexual equality and mutual ownership that is only slightly compromised by the pre-eminance that it gives to “man” both in its allusion to Paradise Lost and in its invocation of a patriarchal God. Perhaps here, as elsewhere in the opening section of Malcolm’s Katie, Crawford has made Max the indirect spokesman for matters which, in her day as in ours, were of special importance to women in general and feminists in particular—in this case, the joint tenancy of marital property.

     There is little that is congenial to feminism, however, in Crawford’s depiction of Max in the central sections of Malcolm’s Katie. While Katie stays at home assuming a variety of postures that recall the relatively passive roles assigned to women in patriarchal mythology (like Penelope, she patiently awaits the return of her lover, like Pygmalion, she quietly absorbs the teachings of her father and, like Eve, she staunchly resists the blandishments of a tempter), Max is actively and, indeed, heroically engaged in his pioneering activities. Blessed by a Katie who assumes the traditional posture of the admiring female bystander (“prayerful palms close   seal’d”84) as she urges them on to prosperity with the words “‘God speed the axe!’” (I, 136), Max and his axe depart for the “Wilderness” (IV, 35). There they set about the task of building more than merely a homestead: an entire nation—a civilization whose growth, to judge by the choric comments and narrative juxtapositions at almost the precise, structural centre of the poem, represents a repetition in the western backwoods of the same eternal act of creation that leads, each spring, to the awakening of new light and life:

High grew the snow beneath the low-hung sky,
And all was silent in the Wilderness
In trance of stillness Nature heard her God
Rebuilding her spent fires
, and veild her face
While the Great Worker brooded o
er His work.
               (IV, 34-38)

Juxtaposed as they are with Max’s much-quoted dialogue with his axe (“‘Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree, / What doth thy bold voice promise me?’ . . . ’When rust hath gnaw’d me deep and red, / A nation strong shall lift his head!’” [IV, 39-40, 47-48]), these choric lines indicate a continuity, or at least an analogy, between the creativity (“Rebuilding”) of the “Great Worker”—the Holy Spirit described by Milton as “brooding on the vast Abyss” in Paradise Lost, I, 21—and the constructive activities of Max—the blessed pioneer whose “‘nation’”, the axe subsequently assures him, will rise in time to “‘the very Heav’ns’” and endure for “‘Æons’” (IV, 49-50).85  Whatever Alfred may say to the contrary (and, of course, he begins his assault on Max’s belief that he and his axe are performing “‘immortal tasks’” [IV, 55] immediately after the Axe’s prophecy), it would appear that in Malcolm’s Katie, as much as in The Rising Village or any other nineteenth-century Canadian poem on the theme of settlement, the pioneer process of building is to be seen as part of a providential design whose blueprint is the shaping and filling of an earth that is “without form and void” in Genesis I.

     In view of the Christian associations that inevitably make him appear Christ-like during both his temptation by the Satanic Alfred and his near-death among the “piercing branches” (IV, 217) of the tree that God wills to fall on him, it is hardly surprising that Max is both guided and contained by what Reaney calls the “daffodil apocalypse”86: an Augustinian vision of human love as a “trace of the Trinity” comprising “he that         loves, . . . that which is loved, and love”87  itself. As the smoke from his brush fires rises to the sky, Max cares “little for the blotted sun / And nothing for the startl’d, outshone stars” because

. . . Love, once set within a lover’s breast,
Has its own Sun—its own peculiar sky,
All one great daffodil—on which do lie
The sun, the moon, the stars—all seen at once,
And never setting; but all shining straight
Into the faces of the trinity,—
The one belov’d, the lover, and sweet Love!
               (II, 184-190)

By grace of his love for Katie, Max participates in a timeless heterocosm of the imagination, a visionary reality, which, though it does not entirely blind him to the effects of his pioneering activities or the external world, permits him to proceed in a relatively untroubled frame of mind with a process of construction that necessarily involves a preliminary stage of destruction. As Frank Bessai observes in a discussion that perceptively links the themes of love and violence, construction and destruction, at various levels in Malcolm’s Katie (including the redemption of Alfred through love and the depiction of the fierce North Wind of winter as a lover in the seasonal portions of the poem): “In Crawford’s moral scheme of things both man and nature suffer intensely from the destructive element inherent in all life, but never without the hope of the regenerative power of love.”88

     To the degree that they do blind him to reality, however, Max’s idealistic visions of love and pioneering are the source of some irony in the second part of Malcolm’s Katie. When the “women-folk” who are no more than “mostly” “happy in new honeymoons / Of hope themselves” (II, 242-244) refer to “. . . the black slope all bristling with burn’d stumps” where Max plans to build a home as “‘Max’s House’” (II, 252-253) there is a double irony—a gentle undercutting both of Max’s vision of love as eternal and of his ability to supplant the real with the ideal. This irony is quickly erased, however, by one of the poem’s interspersed lyrics, a paean to the transforming power of Love (“Love will build his lily walls . . . On cloud or land, or mist or sea— / Love’s solid land is everywhere!” [II, 262-265]) which places the narrator’s sympathies squarely behind Max’s constructive and imaginative activities.89 Of greater ironical force is the recognition that Max’s pioneering work, motivated as it is by love, is nevertheless similar in kind (though not degree) to activities which, in time, could destroy the pastoral harmony that is essential to his Edenic myth. Even as the first settlers in the “axe-stirr’d waste” (II, 190) are working hard to build a modestly prosperous future for themselves and their loved ones on “soil” (II, 228) that is becoming increasingly “familiar” (tamed, well-known, of the family), the machine has entered the garden: “shrieks of engines” (locomotives) can be heard “rushing o’er the wastes” (II, 195) and “smooth-coated men” can be heard talking

       . . . of steamers on the cliff-bound lakes;
And iron tracks across the prairie lands;
And mills to crush the quartz of wealthy hills;
And mills to saw the great, wide-arm’d trees;
And mills to grind the surging stream of grain;
And with such busy clamour mingled still
The throbbing music of the bold, bright Axe. . . .
             (II, 23 1-237)

Like the contrast between the driving repetition of this anaphoric passage and the markedly less strident blank verse that surrounds it, the contrast within the passage between the “busy clamour” of the mills and the “throbbing music” of the axe makes abundantly clear the distinction between the mechanistic Pandemonium that will be created by the “smooth-coated men” and the “sun-ey’d Plenty” (II, 208, 219) that is being sought by such yeoman pioneers as Max and the “pallid clerk” (II, 222)—men who are neither “big with machines” nor bent on “exploitation”90 but who are content to own and to cultivate their portion of a “kindly, valley bed . . .” (II, 206) in which no man, white or red, has previously set foot.91 Yet, despite considerable differences in motivation and consequence, no very clear line divides the yeoman settlers from the sleek entrepreneurs in Malcolm’s Katie: the sounds of axes and mills are heard together in the “primal woods” (II, 194), and the tree butchering of the former prepares the way for the quartz crushing of the latter.92 By limiting his awareness of the external world in which these continuities occur, the “daffodil apocalypse” thus does more than reconcile Max to the destructive aspect of pioneering; it shields him from an irony which, if perceived, might well poison his sense of pioneering purpose, if not his sustaining vision of building a new life based on heroic labour and human love in the North American wilderness.

     The major set-back in Max’s labour of love occurs, of course, when Alfred, after failing dismally to convince him of the futility of his constructive activities, attacks the very heart93 of the “daffodil apocalypse” by casting doubt on Katie’s fidelity. Only then, and only for a moment, does Max’s “bright axe falter . . . in the air” and his “arm [fall], wither’d in its strength” (IV, 171, 173). Following this, and the more serious physical set-back of the tree incident, Max evidently continues to use his strength and what Bessai calls his “love-and-progress axe”94 constructively, creating by the end of the poem what he perceives as a North American Eden, complete with “‘green maple groves, / With sudden scents of pine from mountain sides, / And prairies with their breasts against the skies’” (VII, 24-26). That Max’s father-in-law endorses this perception while Katie (as has been seen), enlarges and, to a degree, queries it, suggests that, though constructive vision (or fantasy) is a healthy and necessary component of the pioneering mentality (and certainly not to be regarded, with Alfred, as a mere delusion), there must, in the end, be an assessment of the vision in terms of reality, a grounding of the imaginary worlds of Eden and the “daffodil apocalypse” in the here and now of a North America inhabited, not by Adams and Eves, but by hardened settlers, displaced persons, “smooth-coated men” and, as Katie says, “‘pale starvelings.’” It could thus be said that the poem urges a recognition, not merely of the importance of constructive vision and harsh reality, but also of the need to modify each in terms of the other: to change the world in accordance with the hopes and aims of a dream and to open the dream to the joys and sorrows of the world.

     It is worth observing that Crawford’s double perspective on the matter of European settlement and its consequences, both positive and negative, in Malcolm’s Katie has occasioned some very sharp disagreements among her critics. Arguing that the poem is thoroughly “consistent in its intention and achievement, closely related to the major ideas of its time, and deeply thought out and reasoned by its writer”,95 Robin Mathews finds Crawford almost unequivocally approving of all those in Malcolm’s Katie who are involved in the business of settlement, nation-building and the accumulation of wealth, from Malcolm (“a properly successful man” in the view of Max, “his time and his author”) to the “smooth-coated men” (who suggest “alienation and exploitation” only to “the modem reader”).96 In Mathews’ view, Crawford’s poem is a “moral and optimistic” work which “does not express disapproval” of any aspect of nation-building, though it does suggest that “wealth and power” should be achieved within a context of “love and . . . virtue.’”97 In contrast, Robert Alan Burns offers a pessimistic and ironical reading of Malcolm’s Katie, particularly in its depiction of the “men of commerce and industry, who add the power of advanced technology to the work of the axe and the slashfire.”   “Crawford’s repeated criticism of business and industry” in her other poems, argues Burns, “provides a background against which to examine the process of industrial expansion as it is dramatized in Malcolm’s Katie.”98 To the extent that these antithetical views reflect an ambivalence about settlement / expansion on the part of Crawford herself and her poem, neither of them is entirely wrong. As Leo Marx has shown, many nineteenth-century writers and thinkers in the United States and elsewhere perceived “the patent inconsistency between industrialism and pastoral ideas,”99 and expressed this inconsistency in a profound ambivalence about the arrival of the machine in the garden. The following passage from Thomas Carlyle’s influential “Signs of the Times” (1829) is not atypical in its ambivalent attitude to technology and its implications:

[T]his age of ours . . . is the Age of Machinery, in every outward and inward sense of that word . . . On every hand, the living artisan is driven from his workshop, to make room for a speedier, inanimate one. The shuttle drops from the fingers of the weaver. . . . We remove mountains, and make seas our smooth highway; nothing can resist us. We war with rude Nature; and, by our resistless engines, come off always victorious, and loaded with spoils. What wondrous accessions have thus been made, and are still making, to the physical power of mankind; how much better fed, clothed, lodged and, in all outward respects, accommodated men now are, or might be, by a given quantity of labour, is a grateful reflection which forces itself on every one. What changes, too, this addition of power is introducing into the Social System; how wealth has more and more increased, and at the same time gathered itself more and more into masses, strangely altering old relations, and increasing the distance between the rich and the poor, will be a question for Political Economists. . . .100

The sense of a kinship between Carlyle and Crawford in their ambivalent attitudes to progress is reinforced by the fact that among the settlers in Malcolm’s Katie is a “lean weaver” who looks “No[t] backward . . . upon the vanish’d loom, / But forward to the ploughing of his fields . . .” (II, 216-2l8).101  For Crawford, it would appear, yeoman farming in the New World provides both a fresh start for the victims of the “Age of Machinery” and a balanced ideal against which the dubious advantages of industrial expansion and increased wealth are to be judged. In this last regard, Max’s modest home, with its “rich . . . fields” and bonded community, is the equivalent in Malcolm’s Katie of St. Edmundsbury Monastery in Carlyle’s Past and Present and, for that matter, Mariposa in Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.

     At the same time as he is engaged in the process of physical construction in the central sections of Malcolm’s Katie, Max is involved in a process of inner construction or Bildung—a spiritual development that takes him from an initial “boyish[ness]” (I, 4) to the mature adulthood that Katie immediately recognizes when, after he has saved her from drowning, she sees “within his eyes a larger soul / Than that light spirit that before she knew . . .” (VI, 132-133). In the opening section of the poem Max is indeed a “light spirit,” if not quite a light weight: he teases and condescends to Katie; he derides and scoff’s at her father; and—though he already owns “‘. . . some dim, dusky woods / In a far land’” (I, 114-115)—his arms are merely “‘indifferent strong’” (I, 115) because as yet untried by physical or moral exertion. As early as the end of the second part of the poem, however, a still “boy-like” Max has achieved a measure of spintual and physical maturity: his “thews” (muscles, but also, in an older sense, mental and moral qualities) are “practised,” and he is now described as “social-soul’d” (II, 240). And by the end of the poem Max has gained so much physical and moral fibre that he becomes, at great risk to himself the rescuer of both Katie and Alfred—a savior with “man’s triumph in his eyes” (VI, 159). The principal agencies in Max’s transformation from boy to man are hard work and intense suffering, aspects of life with which, thanks largely to the experience of pioneering and the efforts of Alfred, he becomes well acquainted in the middle portions of Malcolm’s Katie.

Nowhere is Crawford more insistent that Max’s growth through work and suffering is concomitantly physical and spiritual than in the following two passages:

                 Max . . . found
The labourer’s arms grow mightier day by day—
More iron-welded as he slew the trees;
And with the constant yearning of his heart
Towards little Katie, part of a world away,
His young soul grew and shew’d a virile front,
Full-muscled and large statur’d, like his flesh.
               (II, 167-173)

Who curseth Sorrow knows her not at all.
Dark matrix she, from which the human soul
Has its last birth
; whence, with its misty thews,
Close-knitted in her blackness, issues out
Strong for immortal toil up such great heights
As crown o
er crown rise through Eternity.
(VI, 1-6)

In the vale of soul-making and body-building that is life (or, rather, masculine life) in Malcolm’s Katie, “Sorrow can be construed as an Augustinian “trace” of the mater dolorosa for, as the continuation of the choric passage just quoted makes very evident, the “Dark Matrix occupies a privileged position in Crawford’s universe not unlike that envisaged by numerous Christian artists for the Blessed Virgin after her assumption:

Sorrow, dark mother of the soul, arise!
Be crown
d with spheres where thy blessd children dwell,
, but for thee, were not. No lesser seat
Be thine
, thou Helper of the Universe.
Titan planet on planet pil
d!—thou instrument
d within the great Creative Hand!
                (VI, 13-18)

Perhaps in this apotheosis of the “Dark matrix who brings Max to maturity there is more than a little trace of Crawford’s own experience with “Sorrow” in Paisley, Lakefield, Peterborough and, later, Toronto.

     One further aspect of Crawford’s characterization of Katie’s right suitor remains to be considered, namely the relation between the “Full muscl’d and large stature’d” Max and a mythical figure who appears quite frequently in Canadian literature of the pioneering and post-pioneering periods: the Herculean hero. Like the “Herculean”102   labourers of Adam Hood Burwell’s Talbot Road and the “broad-shouldered and deep-chested’”103 Abe Spalding of Frederick Philip Grove’s Fruits of the Earth, Crawford’s pioneer hero resembles Hercules most obviously in his possession, increasingly as the poem proceeds, of the physical and spiritual strength that is necessary to conquer and control the relative chaos of unsettled nature.104 Max also resembles “the most famous of Greek heroes”105  in his possession of an appropriately Canadian equivalent of Hercules’ “celebrated club”:106 the “bold, bright Axe” with which he undertakes his heroic labours in the wilderness. And it may not simply be a coincidence that there is a parallel between Hercules’ first labour, the slaying of the Nemean lion, and Max’s first pioneering act, the destruction of a “king”-like tree which, as it succumbs to his “bright axe”, emits “lion-throated roar . . . on roar” (II, 150-159). Nor is it perhaps coincidental that Crawford’s mighty-armed “labourer” plans to build a house with “‘pillars’” (II, 165) on his western farm (the Pillars of Hercules, it will be recalled, were built in the far west), or that his last heroic act, the rescue of Alfred, is a confrontation with death and the devil equivalent to Hercules’ final and most strenuous labour: the capture of Cerberus. Such precise equivalences are not, however, essential to a recognition that the Max who brings order to chaos and sets wrong to right, who slays a “‘King of Desolation’” (II, 160) and rescues a monster of depravity, is a New-World version of the Hercules whose “rudimentary civilizing efforts—he drains swamps, builds cities, and destroys wild beasts and tyrants”107 to quote G. Karl Galinsky in The Herakles Theme—made him, in C.M. Bowra’s words, “almost the ideal embodiment of the Greek settler.”108

     As if to illustrate Richard Payne-Knight’s remark, early in the nineteenth century, that “‘the adventures of some such hero [as Hercules] supply the first materials of history . . . in every nation,”109 Galinsky notes the assimilation of Hercules to Aeneas and Romulus in Roman thinking 110 and observes “the connection of Herakles . . . with the beginnings of England”111 in Elizabethan times. In addition to highlighting the element of national myth in Crawford’s herculean narrative, these quotations initiate a chain of associations within Malcolm’s Katie that add resonance to a number of aspects of the poem, from the allusion to Romulus and Remus in the ploughing of Malcolm and his brother Reuben to the scarcely-concealed rivalry between Max and his future father-in-law. Both Romulus and Hercules were “the stronger of a set of twin brothers” 112 and each, after supplanting his brother, went on to institute civilization in his respective country. The cognate myth of masculine rivalry in the Old Testament is, of course, the story in Genesis 4 of Cain, the “tiller of the ground” who first kills his brother Abel (“a keeper of sheep”) and then proceeds with his wife and son to found a civilization in a land “on the east of Eden”—the land God gave to Cain. Surely not coincidentally, the Reuben of the Old Testament is “a founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.”113 Could it be that the “‘red mark on [Max’s] temple’” (V, 113), the mark echoed in the “blood red on [Alfred’s] temple” (VI, 127) near the end of the poem, is the mark of Cain? If so, then could the blood-red marks of Max and Alfred be emblematic of the endless tension between destruction and construction which, in Crawford’s view, and, apparently, in the view of the classical and Christian myths that lie behind her poem, has always attended the institution of a new patriarchal civilization? Although these questions receive no specific answers in the text of Malcolm’s Katie, the vision of perpetual duality and dialectic towards which they point is one which several critics, including two to be mentioned in a few moments, have seen as characteristic of Crawford’s canon as a whole.

IV: Conclusion: Indian and European in Malcolm’s Katie

Running parallel to the settlement theme, the love story and the psychological development of Katie, Alfred and Max in Malcolm’s Katie is a large mythological pattern which, though not by any means unrelated to the Herculean elements of the poem, has greater relevance for the one major feature of Crawford’s work that remains to be discussed here: its use of materials drawn from Amerindian mythology, specifically, from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha. Widening the trail blazed by Reaney, who sees Crawford’s fallen world—the world outside the “daffodil apocalypse”—as composed of complete “opposites of one sort or another” (“Max against the forest, Max against Alfred”114 and so on), Catherine Ross has placed Malcolm’s Katie in the context of its author’s “subsuming interest” “in the solar myth of light’s cyclic contest with darkness,”115 a contest in which, according to the major nineteenth-century theorist and popularizer of solar mythology, F. Max Müller, “The whole of nature [is] divided into two realms—the one dark, cold, wintry, and deathlike, and the other bright, warm, vernal, and full of life.”116 Müller could be writing of his namesake (?) in Malcolm’s Katie when he charts the journey of the solar hero (so-called because his “story, so frequently told, localized, and individualized, was first suggested by the Sun”) through the course of a year that begins with the “dying [of] . . . his youthful vigor . . . at the end of the sunny season” (Max’s departure from Katie at the end of Part II), moves towards an encounter with “the thorn of Winter” (Max’s near-death among “the sharp / And piercing branches” [IV, 216-217] of the tree in Part IV), and culminates in his return in the spring to marry “the Earth . . . his bride”117  (Max’s return to marry Katie, who, significantly, greets him with “eyes /. . . slow budding to a smile” [VI, 129-130] in Part VI of the poem). While Crawford could have gleaned the solar pattern of Malcolm’s Katie from a variety of sources, including Müller’s own Chips from a German Workshop and several other works of comparative mythology suggested by Ross,118 she need have gone no further than one of the expanded editions of J. Lemprière’s Bibliotheca Classica which were ubiquitous in the nineteenth-century to discover what may well have furnished the programme for her poem: a description such as the following of Hercules as a solar hero:

Hercules . . . is none other than the Sun, and his 12 labours only a figurative representation of the annual course of that luminary through the signs of the zodiac. . . . [H]is marriage with Hebe, the goddess of youth, whom he espoused after he had ended his labours, denotes the renewal of the year at the end of each solar revolution.119

As already intimated, Crawford’s source for the Amerindian materials that constitute such a striking component of Parts II, III and IV of Malcolm’s Katie is neither the classical mythology of Lemprière’s Bibliotheca Classica nor the “Comparative Mythology” of Müller’s Chips from a German Workshop but, rather, Longfellow’s treatment of Hiawatha, an Iroquois hero who, through confusion with the Algonquin myth of Manabozho, conies in his work to sound very much like an “Indian Hercules” 120: “a personage of miraculous birth who was sent . . . to clear . . . rivers, forests, and fishing-grounds, and to teach . . . the arts of peace.”121 But, whatever similarities may exist among Hercules, Hiawatha and Max, it would be a mistake to argue that Crawford drew upon The Song of Hiawatha principally (if, in fact, at all) for the characterization of her hero in Malcolm’s Katie. On the contrary, her principal use of Indian materials from Longfellow is, as Elizabeth Waterston has argued, to      “signal . . . the passage of time”122 in her poem and derives, as Ross has suggested 123 (and as the Explanatory Notes in the present edition make clear), not so much from The Song of Hiawatha itself, as from the “Vocabulary” that the American poet included in an Appendix to his “Indian Edda”.124 And what Crawford does borrow in imagery and conception from The Song of Hiawatha, most obviously from the section of the poem entitled “The Four Winds” (where the taunting speeches of Mudjekeewis the West-Wind, for example, find echoes in similar passages in Malcolm’s Katie), she thoroughly subjugates to her chosen medium of blank verse so that little, if any, echo remains of the “thumping trochees”125 of Longfellow’s poem.  Compare the following two passages, the first a description of the South-Wind (Shawondasee) in The Song of Hiawatha and the second a description of the Summer in Malcolm’s Katie:126

From his [Shawondasee’s] pipe the smoke ascending
Filled the sky with haze and vapour,
Filled the air with dreamy softness,
Gave a twinkle to the water,
Touched the rugged hills with smoothness
Brought the tender Indian Summer
To the melancholy North-land
In the dreary Moon of Snow-shoes.127

“She [the Summer] will turn again and come to meet me [the Sun],
“With the ghosts of all the slain flowers,
“In a blue mist round her shining tresses,
“In a blue smoke in her naked forests—
“She will linger, kissing all the branches;
“She will linger, touching all the places,
“Bare and naked, with her golden fingers,
“Saying, ’Sleep, and dream of me, my children. . . .’”
               (II, 118-125)

The Crawford passage recalls Longfellow in its diction, its syntactical repetition and, above all, in its personification of external nature. But where Longfellow’s trochaic tetrameter forces him to rely heavily on nouns in his description of that nature (“Filled the sky with haze and vapour” is an extreme example), Crawford’s blank verse allows her more latitude to enrich her descriptions with colourful adjectives, sonorous pronouns and the like: “‘In a blue smoke in her naked forests— / She will linger, kissing all the branches; / She will linger, touching all the places. . . . ’” And, as indicated by this last quotation, where Longfellow is tenderly domestic in his accounts of the relationships between his anthropomorphosized winds and seasons, Crawford can be startlingly sensual. In the Amerindian portions of Malcolm’s Katie, as earlier in Max’s and Katie’s floral descriptions of female growth and desires, Crawford opens her poem to an oblique but explicit inscription of a female sexuality that is as actively sensual (“‘turn[ing],’” “‘linger[ing],’” “‘kissing,’” “‘touching’”) as it is gently maternal (“‘dream of me, my children’”).

     Although Crawford’s ability to subjugate the distinctive manner of Longfellow may derive, as Waterston suggests, from her “long practice in Tennysonian rhythms, diction and word placement”,128 the almost hypnotic cadences in which the changes in weather and landscape are rendered in the Amerindian portions of Malcolm’s Katie suggests an additional source for her poetic in these frequently “tranced” (II, 56) passages: the melodious sounds and extended syntactical units of A.C. Swinburne, especially, perhaps, the Swinburne of Atalanta in Calydon where the myths and images of ancient Greece could almost be mistaken for their North-American counterparts. Here juxtaposed are two quotations, the first from the opening speech of the Chief Huntsman in Atalanta in Cabdon and the second from the opening description of the Indian Summer in Malcolm’s Katie:

O fair-faced sun, killing the stars and the dews
And dreams and desolation of the night!
Rise up, shine, stretch thine hand out, with thy bow
Touch the most dimmest height of trembling heaven,
And burn and break the dark about thy ways,
Shot through and through with arrows; let thine hair
Lighten and flame above theflameless shell
Which was the morn. . . . 129

             . . . the Sun arose
Lusty with light and full of summer heat,
And, pointing with his arrows at the blue,
Clos’d, wigwam curtains of the sleeping Moon,
Laugh’d with the noise of arching cataracts. . . .
              (II, 99-103)

The similarities of rhythm, diction and sensual awareness between these two quotations are reinforced, of course, by the fact that both deal with the passage of time as it is revealed in the appearance and behavior of a highly anthropomorphic sun and moon. It is as if Crawford has taken her European models (Tennyson, Swinburne) and here, as elsewhere in Malcolm’s Katie, infused them with her North-American subject-matter—with words and images derived from her own experience in Ontario and from her reading of such writers as Traill, Longfellow, Bret Harte and the now all-but-forgotten John Hay.130 Possibly there could be no better image of this synthesizing ability, and of the sensibility that lies behind it, than the “half-breed lad” whose “deep Indian eyes” are “Lit with a Gallic sparkle” (II, 165-167) in the second part of Malcolm’s Katie.

     Or should the “half-breed lad” who works with Max to clear his land against the rich backdrop of Amerindian nature be seen as the embodiment of the continuity that Crawford apparently sees between the destructive/constructive activities of the European settler and the annual cycle of death and rebirth, destroying and rebuilding, that the “Great Worker has set in motion in the natural realm? Such a reading of the “half-breed lad”, and, by extension, of Malcolm’s Katie as a whole, does help to draw together the poem’s disparate strands—its pioneer plot, its emphasis on Bildung, its solar pattern, its Hiawathan elements and even its love story (for Katie is at once the bride of a settler and a bride of the sun, a developing woman and a cognate of spring)—into a complex and multi-layered unity.131 In the end, however, it is perhaps best to see the poem as existing in a state of tension between, on the one hand, such ordering (constructive) forces as the mythopoeic imagination and solar mythology which, unquestionably, draw it towards a condition of unity and, on the other, such destabilizing (destructive) elements as the antithetical vision of its villain and the contradictory nature of its heroine which, equally, push it towards disunity or, at any rate, polyphony.132 Not least at the formal and generic levels, where it places blank verse, interspersed lyrics and choric comments at the service of a narrative that subsumes elements from such sources as Shakespeare’s tragedies, Tennyson’s domestic idylls, Swinburne’s classical drama and Longfellow’s “Indian Edda”, Malcolm’s Katie shows itself to be a rich hybrid of Crawford’s interests and talents, an eloquent testament to an imagination that succeeded to an extraordinary degree in making of the diversity of late nineteenth-century Canadian culture the stuff’ of enduring art.

     Only a few months after Malcolm’s Katie was first published in the early summer of 1884, Barry Lane (John E. Logan) asserted in The Week that there could be no distinctive Canadian literature unless the country were to “produce a great writer . . . [who would] write in Anglo- Ojibbeway, and educate a nation to look upon Nana-bo-johu as a Launcelot or a Guy of Warwick.”133 Crawford is not a “great writer” (as a matter of fact, she was not even “the right man”134 that Logan envisaged for that title) and Malcolm’s Katie—despite its hybrid qualities—is not written in “Anglo-Ojibbeway.” But Max Gordon is the closest thing to a fully- developed pioneer hero in nineteenth-century Canadian literature and, of her generation (the men and women of the ’fifties), Crawford came nearest to being a writer of genuine stature. “Vivid, energetic, imaginative, intellectual,” said A.J.M. Smith of “the best poems” in Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie, and Other Poems, and he concluded of Malcolm’s Katie and one other Crawford poem (“The Canoe”): “In [these works] . . . the very spirit of the northern woods . . . has passed into the imagery and rhythm of the verse. If there is a Canadian poetry that exists as something distinct from English poetry, this—and this almost alone—is it.”135


The Present Text

As already stated (see Introduction, pp. xi-xiv, above), the present text of Malcolm’s Katie: A Love Story is based on the only authorized version of the poem: the version first published in 1884 in “Old Spookses’ Pass,’ “Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems. All departures from the first edition of Malcolm’s Katie are recorded in the list of Editorial Emendations that follows the poem.

     Only in the area of punctuation has unusual difficulty been encountered in editing the present text of Malcolm’s Katie. In the first edition of the poem, and also in the manuscript fragments (see Appendix A), there is considerable inconsistency in the use of quotation marks; for example, in the bulk of the poem (Parts III-VII), every line spoken by a character such as Katie or Max is introduced in accordance with Victorian practice by double quotation marks, but in Part I (and sporadically in Part II) the more modern practice is followed of introducing an entire speech with a single pair of quotation marks. For the sake of consistency and period ‘feel’ (and with an eye on the manuscript fragments of Malcolm’s Katie, where even in Part I Crawford appears to favour the Victorian convention), the decision has been made to introduce each line of dialogue throughout the poem with double quotation marks. This practice has not, however, been extended to those of the interspersed lyrics in the poem that are sung by Katie and others, for the reason that, printing errors oromissions aside, the poem appears to be consistent with itself and with Victorian convention in merely opening each of the stanzas in such songs with a pair of quotation marks.

      At the point where punctuation meets critical interpretation, a decision has been made which, it is hoped, will clarify the status of those portions of Malcolm’s Katie—the lyrics that conclude Parts I, II and V and the passages at Part IV, 34-48 and Part VI, 1-18—whose evident function is to comment chorically on developments in the poem. In the first edition (as in the present text), these lyrics and passages are, like all but one of the interspersed songs (the “‘Forget-me-not’” song in Part V), set off from the surrounding text by rules. They are also, like the interspersed songs, indented several spaces from the left-hand margin of the blank verse that surrounds them. The exception to this practice is the choric passage at Part VI, 1-18 which, though not spoken by an individual character in the poem, is enclosed within two pairs of quotation marks. (The song that closes Part V, it may be noted, has the first but not the second of its two stanzas enclosed by quotation marks.) The decision to put the choric lyrics and passages of Malcolm’s Katie in italics should clarify the status of these portions of the poem by differentiating them from all the other elements of the poem—the interspersed songs, the narrative blank verse and the dialogue.

     On the basis of Crawford’s comment that “Old Spookses Pass,’ “Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems is “decorated with press errors as a Zulu chief is decorated with beads,” the present edition of Malcolm’s Katie attempts, not only to correct the obvious errors in the first edition of the poem, but also to normalize where appropriate the hyphenation of compound adjectives, the capitalization of personifications (for example, “Love”) and the use of the apostrophe to indicate the omission of a letter or syllable in such words as—to quote from onlyo ne line in Part I—“‘polish’d di’mond’” (I, 85).  For the various reasons outlined in the Introduction to Archibald Lampman’s The Story of an Affinity,136 the first in the series of editions of early Canadian long poems of which this edition of Malcolm’s Katie is a part, no attempt has been made to regularize, let alone modernize, the spelling of Crawford’s poem. Just as the use of apostrophes in Malcolm’s Katie speaks of the poem’s Victorian milieu (and, indeed,  towards Crawford’s debts to Tennyson and Shakespeare), so the poem’s occasionally dated and sometimes inconsistent spellings—”’bourgeon” (I, 22) and “‘unco” (V, 75), “vigor” (II, 60) and “vigour” (III, 224)—speak of its origins in a nineteenth-century Canadian culture that could not be other than marked by its position within both the British tradition and the North American environment.


Notes to the Introduction

  1. “Isabella Valancy Crawford” in Our Living Tradition, Second and Third Series, ed. Robert L. McDougall (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1959), pp. 272 and 284. Although most critics assume that Malcolm’s Katie is set in Canada, there is no evidence in the poem to support an exclusively Canadian (as opposed to American) setting; indeed, the poem’s references to the settlement (presumably prior to 1884) of western “prairies” roamed by “vast, horn’d herds” (II, 6Sf.) accords as much, if not more, with American than Canadian history. It may well be that Crawford, who, by her own admission, wrote “largely for the American Press” (“Autobiographical Sketch” in Dorothy Farmiloe, Isabella Valancy Crawford: the Life and Legends [Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1983], p. [v.]), kept her poem’s setting fairly non-specific in order to strengthen its appeal to audiences on both sides of the border. It could even be argued that her use of Longfellow in Malcolm’s Katie (see the Introduction in the present edition, pp.xliii-xlvi), together with the prominent place in the volume and its title of an American dialect poem (see note 130 below), indicates a desire to appeal particularly to American readers. In light of all this, it has been decided in the present Introduction, and in the Explanatory Notes to Malcolm’s Katie to refer to the poem’s setting as North American, a term that should not be taken as denying the existence of a “North Americanism which is Canadian and not ’American’” (Malcolm Ross, The Impossible Sum of Our Traditions: Reflections on Canadian Literature [Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986], p. 23).[back]

  2. “The Narrative Tradition in English-Canadian Poetry,” Canadian Anthology, eds. Carl F. Klinck and R.E. Watters (Toronto: Gage,1974), p. 605.[back]

  3. “Crawford, Carman, and D.C. Scott,” Literary History of Canada, gen. ed. Carl F. Klinck (1965; rpt. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973), p. 408. Daniells’ view of Malcolm’s Katie echoes that of Desmond Pacey in Creative Wriing in Canada, 2nd. ed. (Toronto: McGraw Hill Ryerson, 1961), p. 70: “pasteboard characters [move] through a wildly improbable sequence of events. Violent deaths [!] and fortuitous rescues occur on almost every page, and the dialogue is stilted and unnatural. . . . The term for this type of art . . . is rococo: it is tastelessly and clumsily florid.”[back]

  4. “Crawford’s Achievement,” The Isabella Valancy Crawford  Symposium, ed. Frank M. Tierney, Reappraisals: Canadian Writers (Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 1979), p. 123.[back]

  5. See “‘Malcolm’s Katie’: Love, Wealth, and Nation Building,” Studies in Canadian Literature, 2 (Winter, 1977), pp. 49-60. See also Dorothy Livesay, “Tennyson’s Daughter or Wilderness Child? The Factual and the Literary Background of Isabella Valancy Crawford,” Journal of Canadian Fiction 2 (Summer, 1973), p. 164, where Livesay argues, for instance, that “if ‘Katie’ symbolically, is ‘Canada’ . . . then it is extremely significant that [she] rejects Alfred . . . ‘the Englishman.’”[back]

  6. See “Crawford’s Achievement,” Crawford Symposium, pp. 131-136.[back]

  7. See Isabella Valancy Crawford: the Life and Legends, passim, and pace Farmiloe’s remark that Malcolm’s Katie is “not autobiographical . . . [but] an idealized version of the pioneer experience” (p. 17).[back]

  8. See “The Democratic Vision of ‘Malcolm’s Katie,’ Contemporary Verse II, 1 (Fall, 1975), pp. 38-46 and Kenneth J. Hughes and Birk Sproxton, “Malcolms Katie: Images and Songs,” Canadian Literature, 65 (Summer, 1975), pp. 55-64.[back]

  9. See Crawford Symposium, pp. 152-155 for a Checklist of Crawford criticism (including Theses) to 1977 and Essays on Canadian Writing, 11 (Summer, 1978), pp. 289-3 14 for an Annotated Bibliography to 1978. More recent items on Malcolm’s Katie are listed in “The Year’s Work in Canadian Poetry Studies,” an annual, annotated bibliography, that has been appearing in the even (Spring/Summer) numbers of Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews since 1978.[back]

  10. Collected Poems, Intro. James Reaney, Literature of Canada: Poetry and Prose in Reprint (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973). Garvin’s edition was originally published in 1905 in Toronto by Briggs.[back]

  11. “Autobiographical Sketch,” in Farmiloe, p. [v]. See note 32, below for a detailed description of this volume, the very title of which (above) contains one of the errors mentioned by Crawford. Hereafter, the title transcription Old Spookses Pass, Malcolm’s Katie, and Other Poems will be used to refer to all issues of the first edition of Crawford’s poems, except which reference is being made exclusively to the first issue.[back]

  12. See Nineteenth-Century Narrative Poems, New Canadian Library Original, No. 8 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972), pp. 157- 190.[back]

  13. See, for example, The Evolution of Canadian Literature in English: 1867-1914, ed. Mary Jane Edwards et al (Toronto and Montreal: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), pp. 57-88 (a reprint of the first edition) and Literature in Canada, ed. Douglas Daymond and Leslie Monkman (Toronto: Gage, 1978), I, 267-301 (a reprint of Garvin’s edition). [back]

  14. “Garvin, Crawford and the Editorial Problem,” Crawford Symposium, p. 99.[back]

  15. Autobiographical Sketch, Farmiloe, p. [v].[back]

  16. See the headnote to Appendix A in the present edition.[back]

  17. Both Farmioe, p. 1 and Mary F. Martin, “The Short Life of Isabella Valancy Crawford,” Dalhousie Review, 52 (Autumn, 1972), 398 state that “Christmas Day, 1850,” the date given by Garvin in his entry on Crawford in Canadian Who Was Who (Toronto: Murray, 1938), has been “generally accepted” as the date of her birth; the latter seems more willing to countenance the “uncertainty” and contradiction of various accounts which do, nevertheless, point to a December birth date in c. 1850. Whatever its weaknesses, Farmiloe’s Isabella Valancy Crawford: the Life and Legends is the most complete published biography of Crawford to date, and I have relied on it extensively in my brief account of the poet’s life.[back]

  18. See Robert Alan Bums, “Crawford and Gounod: Ambiguity and Irony in Malcolm’s Katie,” Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 15 (Fall/Winter, 1984), pp. 1-30 for a discussion of a French source in Gounod’s Mireille for Malcolm’s Katie. [back]

  19. Isabella Valancy Crawford, Makers of Canadian Literature (Toronto: Ryerson, [1923]), pp. 2-3.[back]

  20. Farmiloe, p. 19.[back]

  21. Ibid., p. 28, and see also pp. 34-37.[back]

  22. John Ower, “Crawford and the Penetrating Weapon,” Crawford Symposium, p. 34. This essay is the seminal Freudian reading of Crawford’s work.[back]

  23. Farmiloe, pp. 39 and 36.[back]

  24. Ower, p. 33.[back]

  25. See Farmiloe, pp. 48-49.[back]

  26. For this and other information about Crawford’s newspaper and journal publications I am again grateful to Margo Dunn, “A Preliminary Checklist of the Writings of Isabella Valancy Crawford,” Crawford Symposium, pp. 141-155.[back]

  27. Farmiloe, p. 50. See also John Ower, “Isabella Valancy Crawford and ‘The Fleshly School of Poetry’,” Studies in Scottish Literature, 13 (1978), pp.275-281.[back]

  28. Farmiloe, p. 51.[back]

  29. See Dunn, “Checklist,” Crawford Symposium, pp. 154-155.[back]

  30. Hale, p. 113.[back]

  31. Under “Books” in The Globe from Tuesday, June 3, 1884, there appeared the following advertisement: “‘Old Spookses’ Pass,’ ‘Malcolm’s Katie,’ and other poems, by Isabella Valancy Crawford: price 50 cents. For sale at all book-dealers.”[back]

  32. Hale, pp. 113-114. The only copy of “Old Spookses Pass,’ “Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems in a public repository in Canada is held in the Rare Books Room of the Douglas Library at Queen’s University in Kingston. Originally owned by Lome Pierce. the Douglas Library copy of the volume contains a note in Pierce’s handwriting that reads: “‘Old Spookes Pass” etc. Published at her own expense. Some fifty copies were bound in salmon-coloured wrappers, and sent out to the reviewers. The balance of the small edition was bound in slate colored wrappers, with title page changed, and clippings from the reviews printed on back cover. My copy had the new wrapper pasted over the old and by a mere accident I discovered it, having them steamed apart. One of the rarest of Canadiana. Can’t be duplicated.” The “salmon-coloured” wrapper of Pierce’s copy reads: [Rule] / “OLD SPOOKSES’ PASS,’ / [Rule] / “MALCOLM’S KATIE” / AND / OTHER POEMS, / BY / [Type ornament] ISABELLA VALANCY CRAWFORD [Type ornament] / [Type ornament] / TORONTO: / JAMES BAIN & SON, / 1884. On the back of the wrapper is an advertisement for “James Bain & Son, Booksellers, Publishers and Stationers.” of “51 King Street East Toronto. The “slate colored” cancel wrapper of Pierce’s copy reads: OLD SPOOKSES’ PASS / [Double Rule] / MALCOLM’S KATIE, / AND / OTHER POEMS, / BY / ISABELLA VALANCY CRAWFORD. / —AUTHOR OF— / A LITTLE BACCHANTE, OR SOME BLACK SHEEP, / ETC., ETC., ETC. On the back of the wrapper are the “clippings from the reviews” of which Pierce writes; their sources are given as follows: Literary World (London, England), March 19, 1886; Graphic (London, England), April 4, 1885; The Week (Toronto), September 11, 1884; Spectator (London, England), October 18, 1884; Saturday Review (London, England), May 23, 1885; Rev. Harry Jones, Leisure Hour (London, England), March, 1885; Illustrated London News, April 3, 1886; Toronto Evening Telegram, June 11, 1884; Toronto Globe, June 4, 1884; and Toronto Evening News, June, 1884. The cancel wrapper also carries laudatory comments on Crawford’s poems by Lord Dufferin and the Marquis of Lorne. Copies of Old Spookses Pass, Malcolm’s Katie, and Other Poems (the second, or “‘author’s,’” issue) also exist with beige covers. In all respects other than the cover, all the issues of Crawford’s volume are identical: each contains the same dedication (“To John Irwin Crawford, Esq., M.D., R.N., This volume is Affectionately Dedicated By His Niece Isabella Valancy Crawford”) and each contains the same number of pages consecutively numbered [1]-224. Probably machine typeset and certainly machine printed (very likely on a steam press), the volume consists of gatherings of twelve. It contains several vignettes (one at the beginning and one at the end of Malcolm’s Katie), the stylized and anachronistic qualities of which could be said to complement the modernized (or transitional) old style type in which the poems are set. [back]

  33. Ibid.,p.114.[back]

  34. “Isabella Valancy Crawford,” The Week, February 24, 1887, p. 202.[back]

  35. See Farmiloe, p. 12.[back]

  36. Hale, p.8.[back]

  37. Quoted in Farmiloe, p. 43.[back]

  38. Quoted in Hale, p. 10.[back]

  39. “‘The Helot’ and the Objective Correlative: Ontario and Greece,” Crawford Symposium, p. 96.[back]

  40. “Isabella Valancy Crawford,”, p. 203. Farmiloe, p. 39, notes that Crawford’s “unfinished novel ‘Pillows of Stone’—a work which Harrison could conceivably have seen—depicts an affair between a white woman and her negro servant. This would certainly have constituted an “offence . . . against good taste” in Victorian Canada.[back]

  41. Hughes, “‘The Helot . . .’,”p. 96.[back]

  42. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984), p. 42.[back]

  43. Ibid., pp. xii and 42. In “Crawford and Gounod: Ambiguity and Irony in Malcolm’s Katie,” Burns astutely argues that in her newspaper publications Crawford “maintained her artistic integrity by indirection, double-entendre, and irony.”[back]

  44. The Madwoman in the Attic: the Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven and London:Yale University Press, 1979), p. 46.[back]

  45. See John Kenneth Galbraith, The Scotch (1964; rpt. Baltimore: Penguin, 1966), pp. 43-56 for an account of “The Men of Standing” at the top of the “highly stratified society” (p. 44) of the Ontario Scots. As a successful farmer with “a voice in Council and in Church” (I, 67), the evidently Scottish Malcolm Graem is very clearly a “Man of Standing” in Galbraith’s terms: “A man of standing was likely to have more than a hundred acres . . . to be a diligent worker and a competent farmer. . . . [H]is useful wisdom could not be confined to such areas of immediate or ultimate self-interest as his own farm or church. . . . He should certainly serve on the Township Council” (pp. 52 and 55). Galbraith’s chapter “Of Love and Money” (pp. 2 1-30) provides a useful gloss on the mentality of Malcolm (and, to an extent, Max and even Alfred) in Malcolm’s Katie.[back]

  46. “Saunterings,” The Week, October 28, 1886, pp. 771-772 I am grateful to Catherine Ross for reminding me of this article, and of her own excellent use of it as a springboard in “Calling Back the Ghost of the Old-Time Heroine: Duncan, Montgomery, Atwood, Laurence and Munro,” Studies in Canadian Literature, 4 (Winter, 1979), pp. 43-58. I am also grateful to Catherine Ross for calling my attention to several studies that have been very helpful in shaping the conception of romance that is put forward in this Introduction.[back]

  47. W.J. Keith, Canadian Literature in English, Longman Literature in English Series (London and New York: Longman, 1985), p. 32.[back]

  48. Catherine Ross, “Dark Matrix: a Study of Isabella Valancy Crawford,” Diss., University of Western Ontario, 1975, p. 231 observes that there are “eight explicit references to Adam and Eve” (specifically the Adam and Eve of Paradise Lost) “in the last twenty lines” of Malcolm’s Katie. And see John Killham, Tennyson and The Princess (London: Athlone Press, 1958), p. 260: the “vision of the married pair is elevated in Tennyson’s imagination: they approximate the archetypal figures of the Christian myth; but they exist in the future, not the past.”[back]

  49. “The Sex Which is Not One” (“Le Sexe qui n’en est pas un”), trans. Claudia Reeder in New French Feminisms: An Anthology, ed. Elaine Marks and Isabella de Courtivron (New York: Schocken Books, 1981), p. 105. Frank Bessai, “The Ambivalence of Love in the Poetry of Isabella Valancy Crawford,” Queens Quarterly, 77 (Winter, 1970), 414 suggests plausibly that “Malcolm’s Katie” is simply a “country idiom” consistent with the rural setting of the poem.[back]

  50. Farmiloe, p. 32.[back]

  51. The interconnected “K. and M.” (1, 7) on the ring that Max gives to Katie are both similar to and different from the “‘G.’ and ‘M.’” on Malcolm’s logs—similar because both suggest possession and different because, while Malcolm’s brand is merely his own initials, Max’s device is suggestive of community and, therefore, suggestive of a love that is at once less selfish and less materialistic. For a vigorous argument that “money compromises the basis of the bond that holds Katie and Max together . . .”, see Burns, pp. 7-9.[back]

  52. See Tama Modleski, Loving with a Vengeance: Mass -Produced Fantasies for Women (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1982), pp. 35-38 for the discussion of Harlequin Romances on which my discussion of romantic convention is at this point based.[back]

  53. The fact that Max also uses “the polish’d pool” as a minor in this passage would have considerable significance for a follower of Jacques Lacan, who argues in “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I,” Écrits (Pans: le Seuil, 1966), 1-7 that an infant’s first sight of herself in a mirror is a crucial phase in her initiation into patriarchal society and language.[back]

  54. To Burns, p. 8, Katie’s “elaborate response [to Max] is unconsciously equivocal,” as well as ironical and uncertain—a perception which (though I read the speech rather differently) would support my suggestion that Katie’s response to Max parallels her creator’s response to male discourse.[back]

  55. See Jenni Calder, Women and Marriage in Victorian Fiction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976).[back]

  56. Survival: a Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (Toronto: Anansi, l972), p. 199.[back]

  57. Several critics have noted the debt of Malcolm’s Katie as a “medley poem” (Burns, p. 1) to The Princess, including Livesay, “Tennyson’s Daughter . . .,” p. 165 and Elizabeth Waterston, “Crawford, Tennyson and the Domestic Idyll,” Crawford Symposium, p. 66. In addition to being a medley of narrative and interspersed lyric, Malcolm’s Katie is divided into seven parts like The Princess. Interestingly enough. a concern for female education (and feminist issues generally) is more centrally present in Tennyson’s poem than in Crawford’s. Another Canadian response to The Princess can be found in S.E. Dawson’s A Study; with Critical and Explanatory Notes, of Lord Tennysons Poem The Princess (1882; 2nd ed. Montreal: Dawson Brothers, 1884). Dawson regards the ideas that “woman is equal in all respects to the man, and that knowledge is all in all” as the “two fallacies which mislead the Princess” (p. 16). See also pp. 37-3 8 for his elaboration of the argument that “The true sphere of woman is in the family.”[back]

  58. These quotations are taken from “Of Queens’ Gardens,” Sesame and Lilies, 3rd. ed. (Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent: George Allan, 1876), pp.76, 81, 93, 102-103, 111-112 and 118.[back]

  59. Cf. ibid., p. 120.[back]

  60. See Elizabeth Thompson, “The Pioneer Woman: a Canadian Character Type,” Diss., University of Western Ontario, 1987 for an account of Traill ’s seminal role in creating the type of the Canadian pioneer heroine.[back]

  61. Burns, p. 17.[back]

  62. Sesame and Lilies, p. 96.[back]

  63. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1847; rpt. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1956), p. 70. For a discussion of the impossibility of Brontë’s Catherine knowing “either who she is or who she is destined to be,” see the chapter on Wuthering Heights in Gilbert and Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic, pp. 248-308, particularly p. 275 f.[back]

  64. Sesame and Lilies, p. 92 and 91. See Kate Millett, Sexual Politics (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1970), pp. 89-90, David Sonstroem, “Miliet Versus Ruskin: ‘Of Queens’ Gardens’,” Victorian Studies, 20 (Spring, 1977), 283-297 and Nina Auerbach, The Woman and the Demon: the Life of a Victorian Myth (Cambridge Mass, and London: Harvard University Press, 1982), pp. 58-59 for varying interpretations of Ruskin’s s essay.[back]

  65. Burns, p. 28 notes Katie’s unknowing citation of the unreformed Alfred, arguing that her final “‘if I knew my mind’” injects “a note of ambiguity at the very end of the poem. . . .”  “If Katie, like Alfred, does not know her own mind,” he suggests, “then her entire final speech may be read ironically.”[back]

  66. For repetition as irony, see J. Hillis Miller, Fiction and Repetition: Seven English Novels (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), pp l-21 and 73-115 and for irony as destabilizing or confusing see Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 3 11-336.[back]

  67. Reaney, “Isabella Valancy Crawford,” p. 287.[back]

  68. For a brief examination of these implications, see my review of the Crawford Symposium in “Letters in Canada 1979,” University of Toronto Quarterly, 49 (Summer, 1980), 453-455.[back]

  69. This was first pointed out in print by Mathews, p. 54.[back]

  70. Victims of Convention (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1978), p. 11.[back]

  71. Ibid., pp. 14 and 12.[back]

  72. See David S. West, “Malcolm’s Katie: Alfred as Nihilist not Rapist,” Studies in Canadian Literature, 3 (Winter. 1978), pp. 137-141.[back]

  73. Among those who have expressed their attraction to Alfred are Northrop Frye (see The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination [Toronto: Anansi, 1971], p. 134) and George Woodcock (see “The Journey of Discovery: Nineteenth- Century Narrative Poets,” in Colony and Confederation: Early Canadian Poets and Their Background, ed. George Woodcock [Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1974], p. 40). See also Burns, p. 5 for the suggestion that Alfred is the only character in Malcolm’s Katie who is not “one-dimensional” and p. 27 for the insight that he is supplied by Crawford with “a Heathcliff-like capacity for great passion. . . .”[back]

  74. See West, p. 139.[back]

  75. “The Christian Doctrine,” Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: Odyssey, 1957), p. 905. Burns notes that “Alfred’s argument reverberates with literary echoes from the Renaissance to the nineteenth-century. . . .”[back]

  76. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, 2nd ed. (1831; rpt. New York and London: Collier Macmillan, 1961), p. 102.[back]

  77. Ibid., p. 189.[back]

  78. A.J.M. Smith, “The Wisdom of Old Jelly Roll,” Poems New and Collected (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 155.[back]

  79. See Ronald Hatch, “Narrative Development in the Canadian Historical Novel,” Canadian Literature, 110 (Fall, 1986), p. 80.[back]

  80. See Mathews, p. 51 for a different view of Max’s attitude to Malcolm.[back]

  81. See ibid., pp. 52-53 for a series of links between the settlement theme in Malcolm’s Katie and previous Canadian works, including The Rising Village, whose expanding circles are perceptively discussed by Gerald Lynch, “Oliver Goldsmith’s The Rising Village: Controlling Nature,” Candian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 6 (Spring/Summer, 1980), pp. 35-49.[back]

  82. See The Collected Poems of Al Purdy, ed. Russell Brown (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986), pp. 6 1-62.[back]

  83. In A Native Heritage: Images of the Indian in English-Canadian Literature (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto, 1981), p. 132, Leslie Monkman astutely observes that, while “Max is [inevitably] an agent of white progress ,” “it is crucial that his ambitions be relatively modest.”[back]

  84. For a refusal to adopt this pose in relation to a male entity that desecrates nature/the female, see Atwood, “Backdrop Addresses Cowboy,” particularly in its original context, The New Romans: Candid Canadian Opinions of the U.S., ed. A.W. Purdy (Edmonton: M.G. Hurtig, 1968), pp. 10-11. In the light of the question seminally posed by Sherry Ortner in “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?,” in Woman, Culture, and Society, ed. Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976), pp. 67-87, the destructive/ creative activity of Max can be seen as a (re)-making out of (or on top of) another—the wilderness, the female—of a patriarchal system.[back]

  85. Notice, however, the ambiguity of IV, 50—“‘His crown the very Heav’ns shall smite . . .’” —a line which conjurs up the possibility that what Max is replicating in the wilderness is the Tower of Babel.[back]

  86. “Isabella Valancy Crawford,” p. 276. Opinions on the effectiveness of the “daffodil” image and passage have varied as greatly as those of Malcolm’s Katie as a whole. Daniells, “Crawford . . .,” p. 408 considers it “a superb passage, central to the poem”: E.K. Brown, On Canadian Poetry, 2nd. ed. (1944; rpt. Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1973), p. 45 categorizes it as “utter lawless wildness”: and Burns, p. 15 argues that Crawford intended it “to be an incongruous, outrageously excess image, which is appropriate and ironic as an embodiment of Max’s idée fixe. . . .” He also notes that “the daffodil is an import from Europe” and argues that, “as such, . . . [it] becomes an appropriate symbol for the pervasive influence of European culture and the British Empire—as foreign and colonial as the preconceived sense of order that Max imposes . . . upon the North American wilderness” (cf. note 84, above).[back]

  87. “On the Trinity” (De Trinitate), Basic Writings of St. Augustine, ed. Whintney J. Oates (New York: Random House, 1948), II, 787 (VIII, x).[back]

  88. Bessai, p. 88.[back]

  89. See Burns, pp. 16-17 for an ironical reading of “0, Love builds on the azure sea. . . .”[back]

  90. F.R. Scott, “Laurentian Shield,” The Collected Poems (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1981), p. 58.[back]

  91. Quoting Malcolm’s Katie, II, 84-92 (“For never had the patriarch of the herd / Seen . . . the red hunter . . .” and so on), Monkman, p. 133 observes that Crawford avoids “potential conflicts between the white conceptions of ownership and possession of the land espoused by Max and the Indians’ aboriginal rights” by sending “her pioneer into a landscape in which the red man has never set foot.”[back]

  92. Mathews, p. 52 quotes the following, pertinent passage from H.V. Nelles, The Politics of Development (Toronto: Macmillan, 1974), p. 183: “Lumbermen conveniently led the assault [on the forest], slashing their way through the finest timber stands, while pioneer farmers swarmed in behind, burning everything that remained. That such para-millitary destruction might be part of a golden rather than a dark age was to be explained by the fervour of civilizing instinct within a context of apparent abundance.”[back]

  93. Bessai, p. 415 suggests that “On the mystical mythological level, Katie represents das Ewig Weibliche [the eternal feminine]—the universal power of love incamate that flows in all directions and invests all positions.”[back]

  94. Ibid., p.415.[back]

  95. Mathews, p. 51.[back]

  96. Ibid., pp.51 and 57.[back]

  97. Ibid., p. 60.[back]

  98. Burns, p. 15.[back]

  99. Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 217.[back]

  100. Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (Philadelphia: A. Hart, Late Carey and Hart, 1850), p. 196. See Marx, pp. 170-190 for a discussion of this passage.[back]

  101. J.M. Zezulka, “The Pastoral Vision in Nineteenth-Century Canada,” Dalhousie Review, 57 (Summer, 1977), 237 associates the “lean weaver” with Alexander MacLachlan, the Scottish-born, one-time weaver and author of The Emigrant (published in 1861) whose “favourite phrase, ‘Mine own!’” Crawford apparently echoes in Malcolms Katie, II, 229.[back]

  102. The Poems of Adam Hood Burwell: Pioneer Poet of Upper Canada, ed. Carl F. Klinck, Western Ontario History Nuggets (London: Lawson Memorial Library, University of Western Ontario, 1963), p. 10.[back]

  103. Fruits of the Earth (Toronto and Vancouver: J.M. Dent, 1933), p. 7.[back]

  104. For further discussion of this pattern, see D.M.R. Bentley, “Large Stature and Larger Soul: Notes on the Herculean Hero and Narrative in Canadian Literature,” forthcoming (1987) in the Journal of Canadian Poetry and “Introduction,” Archibald Lampman, The Story of an Affinity, ed. D.M.R. Bentley (London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1986), pp. xiv-xxiii.[back]

  105. Sir Paul Harvey, “Herakies,” The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1937: rpt. Oxford: Clarendon, 1966).[back]

  106. J. Lemprière, “Hercules,” Bilbliotheca Classica: or, A Classical Dictionary, ed. and rev, by E.H. Barker with “extensive and valuable corrections, improvements and additions . . . indicated by brackets, from the seventh American edition” by Charles Anthon, 2nd. ed. (London: Black, Young and Young, 1832).[back]

  107. The Herakles Theme: the Adaptations of the Hero in Literature from Homer to the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1972), pp.148- 149.[back]

  108. Greek Lyric Poetry, cited ibid., p. 20.[back]

  109. Quoted in Lemprière, “Herakles,” Bibliotheca Classica (1832).[back]

  110. See Galinsky, pp. 127-140.[back]

  111.   Ibid., p. 207.[back]

  112. Ibid., p. 140.[back]

  113. Mathews, p. 54.[back]

  114. Reaney, p. 207.[back]

  115. Ross, pp. 215 and 232.[back]

  116. “Comparative Mythology,” Chips from a German Workshop (New York: Scribner and Armstrong, 1874), p. 108.[back]

  117. Ibid., pp. 106-108.[back]

  118. See Ross, pp. 117 and 325-327 (Bibliography: Books on Mythology). Ross makes extensive use of George W. Cox, The Mythology of the Aryan Nations (1870) and John Fiske, Myths and Myth Makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology (1872)[back]

  119. Lemprière, “Hercules” (addition by Anthon), Bibliotheca Classica. It is worth noting that Carlyle concluded “Signs of the Times,” Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, p. 196 by remarking: “For the present, as our astronomy informs us, [Earth’s] path lies towards Hercules, the constellation of Physical Power Go where it will, the deep HEAVEN will be around it.”[back]

  120. Henry R. Schoolcraft, “Preliminary observations on the Tales,” Schoolcrafts Indian Legends, ed. Mentor L. Williams (East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press, 1956), p. 23.[back]

  121. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Poetical Works, reprinted from the revised American edition . . . with Explanatory Notes” (London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden and Welsh, 1882), p. 615.[back]

  122. Waterston, p. 75.[back]

  123. See Ross, p.2lO.[back]

  124. Longfellow, The Poetical Works, p. 615.[back]

  125. Waterston, p. 75.[back]

  126. See also ibid., pp. 75-76.[back]

  127. Longfellow, p. 260.[back]

  128. Waterston, p. 75.[back]

  129. Algernon Charles Swinburne, Poems and Ballads, Atalanta in Calydon, ed. Morse Peekham (Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970), pp. 210-211.[back]

  130. Both Harte and Hay were prominent in the school of American dialect poets who flourished in and around the eighteen seventies. While their influence is more obvious in “Old Spookses’ Pass” than in Malcolm’s Katie, it is possible that the Scottish intonations of Malcolm in the latter poem owe something to Crawford’s interest in dialect poetry.[back]

  131. See Ross, p. 199ff. for Malcolm’s Katie as “Crawford’s first use of the technique of aligning three separate versions of the same plot”: “the love story of Max and Katie . . . the pioneering material and the indian mythology . . .”[back]

  132. Or (despite Bakhtin’s argument that “poetry . . . is always illumined by one unitary and indisputable discourse” [p. 2861), “novelistic”: see “Discourse in the Novel,” in The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M.M. Bakhtin, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas, 1981), pp. 259-422.[back]

  133. “National Literature,” in The Search for English-Canadian Literature: An Anthology of Critical Articles from the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, ed. Carl Ballstadt, Literature of Canada: Poetry and Prose in Reprint (Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1975), p. 117.[back]

  134. Ibid.[back]

  135. “‘Our Poets’”: a Sketch of Canadian Poetry in the Nineteenth Century,” University of Toronto Quarterly, 12 (1942-1943), 83.[back]

  136. See The Story of an Affinity, ed. D.M.R. Bentley (London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1986), pp. xxvi-xxvii.[back]