Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Canadian authors - Germaine Guèvremont and Robert W. Service

These two stamps and the cover were issued in Canada on 17.8.1976 in honour of two great Canadian authors - Germaine Guèvremont and Robert W. Service.
The stamp on the left is regarding Germaine Guèvremont, born Grignon (April 16, 1893 – August 21, 1968) who was a prominent figure in Quebec literature.
Born in 1893 in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, she was educated in Quebec and Toronto, and worked as a journalist for women's magazines before marrying Hyacinthe Guèvremont and moving with him to Sorel in 1916. She was a housewife for a number of years, but later returned to journalism as a writer for The Gazette and an editor for Le Courrier de Sorel. The Guèvremonts later moved to Montreal, where Germaine worked as a court stenographer during the Great Depression. She also began to publish short stories, which were compiled into her debut book, En plein terre, in 1938.
The novel Le Survenant portrayed on the stamp was published in 1945, followed by the sequel Marie-Didace in 1947. The Outlander, an English translation of her two novels in one volume, was published in 1950, and won the fiction prize in the 1950 Governor General's Awards. The book was also published in the United Kingdom under the title Monk's Reach. She did not publish any further novels, but continued to publish journalism and short stories as well as writing radio and television adaptations of her fiction works. She began to write her memoirs late in life, but completed only two chapters before her death in 1968.
She was also a cousin of Claude-Henri Grignon, the author of Un Homme et son péché. Ironically, Guèvremont's novels are largely recognized as the last influential examples of romans de terre, the traditionalist form of Quebec literature in the early 20th century, while Grignon's Un Homme broke with that tradition and is recognized as one of Quebec's first influential modernist novels.
The Cremation of Sam McGee, depicted on the stamp on the right, is among the most famous of Robert W. Service's poems. It was published in 1907 in Songs of a Sourdough. (A "sourdough", in this sense, is a resident of the Yukon.) It concerns the cremation of a prospector who freezes to death near Lake Laberge, (spelled "Lebarge" by Service), Yukon, Canada, as told by the man who cremates him.
The night prior to the death of the title character, who hails from the fictional town of Plumtree, Tennessee, the narrator realizes that "A pal's last need is a thing to heed," and swears to McGee that he will not fail to cremate him. After McGee dies the following day, the narrator winds up hauling the body clear to the "marge [shore, edge] of Lake Lebarge" before he finds a way to perform the promised cremation. Robert Service based the poem on an experience of his roommate, Dr. Sugden, who found a corpse in the cabin of the steamer Olive May.
A success upon its initial publication in 1907, the poem became a staple of traditional campfire storytelling in North America throughout the 20th century. An edition of the poem, published in 1986 and illustrated by Ted Harrison, was read widely in Canadian elementary schools.
Thank you Hemant for this wonderful FDC.

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