Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada

Overview

In 1836, Anna Jameson sailed from London, England, to join her husband in Upper Canada, where he was serving as attorney general. Shaking off the mud of Muddy York with mild disdain, young Mrs. Jameson swiftly sallied forth to discover the New World for herself.

The best known of all nineteenth century Canadian travel books, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada is Jameson’s wonderfully entertaining account of her adventures, ranging from gleeful observations about the ...

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Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada

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Overview

In 1836, Anna Jameson sailed from London, England, to join her husband in Upper Canada, where he was serving as attorney general. Shaking off the mud of Muddy York with mild disdain, young Mrs. Jameson swiftly sallied forth to discover the New World for herself.

The best known of all nineteenth century Canadian travel books, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada is Jameson’s wonderfully entertaining account of her adventures, ranging from gleeful observations about the pretensions of high society in the colonies to a “wild expedition” she took by canoe into Indian country.

Jameson’s keen eye, intrepid spirit, irreverent sense of humour and staunch feminist perspective make this journal an invaluable record of life in pre-Confederation Canada.

From the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780771017056
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
  • Publication date: 1/29/2008
  • Pages: 612
  • Product dimensions: 5.07 (w) x 7.79 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Brownell Jameson was born Anna Brownell Murphy in Dublin, Ireland, in 1794. Her family moved to England in 1798, settling first in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and moving in 1806 to London, which became the family’s permanent home. Her father, Denis Brownell Murphy, was a miniaturist and portrait painter.

Anna Murphy worked as a governess from the age of sixteen until her marriage in 1825 to Robert Jameson. When he left England in 1829 for an appointment as chief justice of Dominica, his wife, already aware of their incompatible relationship, stayed in England, where she was gaining increasing fame as a writer of biography and travel literature.

In mid-December 1836, Anna Jameson joined her husband, somewhat reluctantly, in Toronto, where in 1833 he had become attorney general of Upper Canada (Ontario) and was hoping to become Vice-Chancellor of the Court of Chancery, the highest legal post in the province. In September 1837, having reached a separation agreement with her husband, Anna Jameson left Upper Canada for England. Written in the form of a journal to an absent friend, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838) records both her winter in Toronto and her summer trip throughout Ontario.

Upon her return to England, Jameson devoted most of her time to art history, and her impressive art catalogues and art history books commanded her scholarly attention for the final decades of her life.

Anna Brownell Jameson died in London, England, in 1860.

From the Paperback edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Toronto, — such is now the sonorous name of this our sublime capital, — was, thirty years ago, a wilderness, the haunt of the bear and deer, with a little, ugly, inefficient fort, which, however, could not be more ugly or inefficient than the present one. Ten years ago Toronto was a village, with one brick house and four or five hundred inhabitants; five years ago it became a city, containing about five thousand inhabitants, and then bore the name of Little York; now it is Toronto, with an increasing trade, and a population of ten thousand people. So far I write as per book.

What Toronto may be in summer, I cannot tell; they say it is a pretty place. At present its appearance to me, a stranger, is most strangely mean and melancholy. A little ill-built town on low land, at the bottom of a frozen bay, with one very ugly church, without tower or steeple; some government offices, built of staring red brick, in the most tasteless, vulgar style imaginable; three feet of snow all around; and the grey, sullen, wintry lake, and the dark gloom of the pine forest bounding the prospect; such seems Toronto to me now. I did not expect much; but for this I was not prepared. Perhaps no preparation could have prepared me, or softened my present feelings. I will not be unjust if I can help it, nor querulous. If I look into my own heart, I find that it is regret for what I have left and lost — the absent, not the present — which throws over all around me a chill, colder than that of the wintry day — a gloom, deeper than that of the wintry night. . . .

Yet am I not quite an icicle, nor an oyster — I almost wish I were!. . . . I am like an uprooted tree, dying at the core, yet with a strange unreasonable power at times of mocking at my own most miserable weakness. . . . Everywhere there is occupation for the rational and healthy intellect, everywhere good to be done, duties to be performed, — everywhere the mind is, or should be, its own world, its own country, its own home at least. How many fine things I could say or quote, in prose or in rhyme, on this subject! But in vain I conjure up Philosophy, “she will not come when I do call for her;” but in her stead come thronging sad and sorrowful recollections, and shivering sensations, all telling me that I am a stranger among strangers, miserable inwardly and outwardly, — and that the thermometer is twelve degrees below zero!

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