NCL 58 – Wacousta by John Richardson


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Wacousta by John Richardson (New Canadian Library N58) front coverSeries One

From the Back Cover:

Wacousta is a rousing tale of treachery, adventure, romance, and revenge on Canada’s turbulent frontier in the 1760’s. It is dominated by the mysterious Wacousta, a white man “turned Indian”, who gave invaluable aid to the Ottawa chief, Pontiac, in his brilliant campaign to capture Fort Detroit and Fort Michilimackinac from the British. Wacousta willingly encountered great risks because he was obsessed by a deep personal vendetta against the person and the family of Colonel De Haldimar, governor of Fort Detroit. The background of the story is drawn from the personal knowledge of the author who grew up on the Canadian border and who talked to some of the people who still recalled the days of the Pontiac.

Wacousta, highly acclaimed when first published in London in 1832, is an important landmark in the development of Canadian historical fiction. [John Richardson]


Wacousta by John Richardson (New Canadian Library N58)

Series Two

From the Back Cover:

Wacousta is a rousing tale of treachery, adventure, romance, and revenge on Canada’s turbulent frontier in the 1760’s. It is dominated by the mysterious Wacousta, a white man “turned Indian”, who gave invaluable aid to the Ottawa chief, Pontiac, in his brilliant campaign to capture Fort Detroit and Fort Michilimackinac from the British. The background of the story is drawn from the personal knowledge of the author who grew up on the Canadian border and who talked to some of the people who still recalled the days of the Pontiac. [John Richardson]


Wacousta by John Richardson (New Canadian Library N58) front coverSeries Three

From the Back Cover:

First published in 1832 as “A Tale of the Canadas,” this stirring romantic tragedy is an important landmark in the development of Canadian historical fiction.

Wacousta is an adventurous tale of treachery, romance, and revenge on Canada’s turbulent frontier in the 1760s. It is dominated by the mysterious Wacousta, a white man “turned Indian,” who gives invaluable aid to the great Ottawa chief Pontiac, in his brilliant campaign to capture Fort Detroit and Fort Michilimackinac from the British.

The background of the story is drawn from the personal knowledge of the author, who grew up on the Canadian border and talked to the people who still recalled the days of Pontiac. Richardson also depended upon his own youthful experiences in the War of 1812, and upon the sometimes melodramatic literary sensibilities of his day. The major events in the book show a rhythmic pacing of intense situations which culminate in sudden surprises: suspense and shock are practiced to the limit. Even beyond its historical significance, Wacousta is a rousing and intriguing read.


Wacousta by John Richardson (New Canadian Library) front coverSeries Four

From the Back Cover:

Set in the 1760s at the 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. In Major John Richardson’s vivid depiction, Pontiac’s 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.


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