Canada, class, and colonization in John Galt's Bogle Corbet

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Abstract

This essay places Bogle Corbet (1831) by John Galt at a turning point in the British debate about the purposes of colonization, as arguments for ‘assisted emigration’, intended to relieve the home country of surplus population, were challenged by the doctrine of 'systematic colonization’, which aimed to reproduce the social and economic forms of the home country at the imperial frontier. It begins by identifying the relation of the novel's Upper Canadian colonists to the weavers who emigrated from Scotland in the 1820s. It continues by describing the expropriation of these working-class settlers by the novel's middle-class hero, Bogle Corbet, in circumstances that recall Edward Gibbon Wakefield's 1829 polemic, A Letter from Sydney; and concludes by considering the role of Bogle's autobiographical narration in legitimating this reproduction of capitalist social relations in Upper Canada.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-276
Number of pages18
JournalYearbook of English Studies
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2016

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