Roughing It in the Bush; Or, Life in Canada by Susanna Moodie

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Synopsis

Betty had plenty of potatoes, without the trouble of planting, or the expense of buying; she never kept a cow, yet she sold butter and milk; but she had a fashion, and it proved a convenient one to her, of making pets of the cattle of her neighbours.... we all looked upon Betty as a sort of freebooter, living upon the property of others.
-from Chapter V: "Our First Settlement,
and the Borrowing System"

A classic of Canadian frontier literature, this delightful volume was devoured by readers on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first published in 1852, who turned to it for an unvarnished portrait of homesteading in the woods of Upper Canada.

Though Moodie depicts a life that is harsh and dangerous in an unforgiving environment far from civilization, her sense of humor and embracing of adventure are extraordinary, and create an invaluable first-person document of a formative time in North American history.

Canadian writer SUSANNA MOODIE (1803-1885) was born in England and emigrated to Canada with her husband, a military officer, in 1832. The sister of author Catharine Parr Traill, Moodie also wrote Life in the Clearings (1853) and Matrimonial Speculations (1854).

 

About Susanna Moodie

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Susanna Moodie, born in Suffolk, England, was the youngest of five daughters, four of whom became writers of fiction and poetry. (Moodie's elder sister, Catharine Parr Traill, a lesser-known British colonial author, wrote The Backwoods of Canada). Before immigrating to Canada, in 1832, Moodie penned numerous poems and stories, all heavily didactic and decidedly second-rate. However, once she had settled in Upper Canada (now Ontario) with her husband, John Dunbar Moodie, the harsh life of the settler provoked a more realistic literary response. Her autobiographical Roughing It in the Bush, published in 1852, is a series of sketches stitched into a larger narrative. It is a book expressing the hopes and defeat, the pride and the anger the early settlers felt toward their new home, the Canadian bush. A sequel, Life in the Clearings versus the Bush, appeared in 1853. Throughout her life Susanna Moodie's literary output continued to be prolific. Yet it is the frank and colorful quality of Roughing It that has placed her in the forefront of early Canadian writers.
 
Published January 1, 1997 by Tecumseh Press. 534 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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