Synopses & Reviews
Set in the 1760s at the time of Pontiacs Indian alliance against the British, Wacousta
combines elements of revenge tragedy and gothic romance in reconstructing a violent episode in Canadian frontier history. In Major John Richardsons vivid depiction, Pontiacs campaign against Fort Detroit is masterminded by the mysterious Wacousta, a Byronic anti-hero whose thirst for vengeance against the fortress commander borders on madness. Turning upon binary oppositions – garrison against wilderness, restraint against passion, mercy against justice – this suspenseful novel creates a world of deception and terror in which motive is ambiguous and the boundary between order and anarchy unclear.
First published in 1832, Wacousta anticipated many of the themes that would assume central importance in the Canadian narrative imagination. The New Canadian Library edition is an unabridged reprint of the complete original text.
McClelland & Stewart's elegant New Canadian Library series acknowledges and celebrates Canada's glorious literary achievements. Original Afterwords and bibliographies by leading writers complete each book.
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Set in 1760s at time of Pontiac's Indian alliance against the British, Wacousta combines elements of revenge tragedy and gothic romance in reconstructing a violent episode in Canadian frontier history.
About the Author
was born in 1796 in Queenston, Ontario. At the age of fifteen he enlisted as a gentleman volunteer with the 41st Regiment of the British Army. During the War of 1812, he was imprisoned for a year in the United States. His later military service took him to England and, for two years, to the West Indies.
The first Canadian-born novelist to achieve international recognition, Richardson began his fiction-writing career with novels about the British and French societies of his time. In his third and most successful novel, Wacousta (1832), he turned to the North American frontier for his setting and to its recent history for its historical framework. He followed the same practice in The Canadian Brothers, the sequel to Wacousta.
In 1838 Richardson returned from England to Canada, now promoted to the rank of major. He tried to earn his livelihood by writing fiction and by setting up a series of weekly newspapers. He was appointed superintendent of police on the Welland Canal in 1845, but was relieved of these duties the following year. In 1849 he moved to the United States and settled in New York City, where he continued to write fiction.
John Richardson died in New York City in 1852.