Canada and Oxford (1848–1873)

  • Peter Morton


As the great St. Lawrence river streams out of Lake Ontario, with Canada on its western bank and New York State on its eastern, its waters flow over a bed of limestone. But here and there, partly obstructing the river’s passage, bosses of granite emerge from the water. They are the remnants of a band of tough Precambrian rock that is the geological underlay to the Thousand Islands. These shaggy, craggy islets, many more than a thousand in number, are thickly vegetated with pines and shrubs, and by the mid-nineteenth century they had become popular holiday havens. “Their beauty is so unlike anything that one may see anywhere else,” wrote Grant Allen on his return to the region. “Tiny little islands, placed in tiny little rivers, crowned with tiny little chalets, and navigated by tiny little yachts; it all reminds one so thoroughly of one’s childish dreamlands.”1 The dreamy memories were his own, for this curious riverine locality was the country of his birth.


Private Tutor Military Family Young Couple Parish Church Allen Family 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    GA, “Among the Thousand Islands,” Belgravia: A London Magazine, 36 (October 1878), 414; signed J. Arbuthnot Wilson.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    GA, “Among the ‘Thousand Islands,’” Longman’s Magazine, 10 (May 1887), 61. This was a second article with the same title.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Information about the Grant family and Joseph Allen’s social position is derived from Allan J. Anderson, The Anglican Churches of Kingston, Kingston, Ontario, 1963, 67–68.Google Scholar
  4. Margaret Angus, “Alwington House,” Historic Kingston, 40 (1992), 21–32 traces the history of the Grant/Allen home in very useful detail.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    George Saintsbury, “Oxford Sixty Years Since,” A Second Scrap Book, Macmillan, 1923. Saintsbury’s reminiscences are summarized in Dorothy Richardson Jones, “King of Critics”: George Saintsbury, 1845–1933, Critic, Journalist, Historian, Professor, University of Michigan Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    Joseph Allen’s employment at Queen’s University is described in D.D. Calvin, Queen’s University at Kingston: The First Century of a Scottish-Canadian Foundation 1841–1941, Kingston, Ontario: The Trustees of the University, 1941, 184.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    GA, “The Positive Aspect of Communism,” Oxford University Magazine and Review, 2 (December 1869), 97–109.Google Scholar
  8. 21.
    Quoted in Walter Leuba, George Saintsbury, Twayne, 1967, 18.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    J.G. Swift MacNeill, What I Have Seen and Heard, Boston: Little, Brown, 1925, 91.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    GA, “Modern College Education: Does It Educate in the Broadest and Most Liberal Sense of the Term?” Cosmopolitan, 23 (October 1897), 613, 615. Cosmopolitan was one of the new smart American glossy magazines, and Allen chooses his tone accordingly; but he repeated such ideas elsewhere.Google Scholar
  11. 26.
    Frank Harris, in Frank Harris: His Life and Adventures. An Autobiography with an Introduction by Grant Richards. Richards, 1947 reminisces as follows: “[a friend] came to me with the news that Grant Allen, the writer, had thrown up his post as Professor of Literature at Brighton College. ‘Why should you not apply for it; it’s about two hundred pounds a year’ “ (154). Harris then explains how he was soon appointed by “Dr Bigge,” the headmaster (actually the Rev. Charles Bigg). The truth is that Harris went to Brighton as a French teacher, and not until 1875. This was four years after Allen had left his post as a Classics teacher, and he was never, of course, “Professor of Literature” there.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Morton 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Morton

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations