David Adams Richards of the Miramichi

David Adams Richards of the Miramichi: A Biographical Introduction to His Work

TONY TREMBLAY
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 384
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttswh
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  • Book Info
    David Adams Richards of the Miramichi
    Book Description:

    InDavid Adams Richards of the Miramichi, Tony Tremblay sheds light not only on Richards' art and achievements, but also on Canadian literary criticism in general.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8720-2
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. Introduction: Cultural Life on the Miramichi
    (pp. 3-17)

    The Miramichi region of central New Brunswick extends the length of the main southwest Miramichi River from the lumber villages of Juniper and Boiestown in the west, past the coastal towns of Newcastle and Chatham, to the mouth of Miramichi Bay near Loggieville and Bartibog. From its headwaters to the harbour’s entrance, the river runs more than 150 miles laterally through the middle of the province, encompassing a great variety of communities, farms, mills, and other industries along the way. The region is resource-dependent, and its most important resource is the river.

    The river is unique in New Brunswick for...

  7. 1 Richards’s Ancestry
    (pp. 18-38)

    The earliest record of Richards’s descendants refers to his maternal great-great-grandfather, John Adam, born in Scotland sometime after 1775. John and his wife Elizabeth Gillespie were married in the small hamlet of Echt, Aberdeenshire, on 29 November 1806 and immigrated to Canada with four sons in 1817, settling in the Sillarsville–Kempt Road area of Restigouche, Quebec, a few miles northwest of Campbellton, New Brunswick. The Old Kempt Road, built when the English were forging overland pathways to Quebec to escape possible American invasion, extended from the Restigouche River towards St-Fidèle on the far St Lawrence shore. Its eastern section...

  8. 2 Richards’s Birth and Early Years
    (pp. 39-61)

    In the fall of 1950, almost three years after they had moved back to Newcastle, things were going well for Bill and Margaret. The movie business had stabilized and the two principal towns on the river were booming. The sawmills and mines were running at full capacity, a new pulp mill had just been built, the Chatham Air Base was expanding to accommodate a peacetime air squadron, and increased traffic between the two sides of the river had accelerated construction of a new bridge in Newcastle to replace the one lost to fire in 1947. Miramichiers were beginning to prosper...

  9. 3 Oliver Twist and the 1960s
    (pp. 62-101)

    By 1960, Richards had moved to Harkins Academy, the public school adjacent to St Mary’s. Much of the institutional landscape was familiar. Days were still highly regimented, the same Old World maps papered the walls (with Britain’s colonial holdings highlighted in pink), and ‘Oh Canada’ was sung each morning. The striking difference was the demographic mix: Richards now encountered kids from areassurroundingNewcastle, from the eastern end of Douglastown all the way upriver to Red Bank and Millerton. Many of the boys were strangers, and furthermore, the rituals of managing them were unfamiliar. Discipline was not maintained by the...

  10. 4 Stepping Outside and In: St Thomas University to Small Heroics
    (pp. 102-136)

    Richards faced a serious problem after high school. His grades were insufficient to get him into university, yet his relationship with his father had deteriorated to the point that he knew he must leave. He considered two options: travelling west to join the construction crews in Alberta, or moving to Fredericton to join the staff of theDaily Gleaner, where he had been offered a probationary job on the sports beat. The latter, at least, would allow him to write, perhaps even work next to Alden Nowlan, who had tried repeatedly to join theGleanerstaff. Richards had a summer...

  11. 5 Alden Nowlan and The Coming of Winter
    (pp. 137-176)

    The winter of 1972 was cold in Fredericton. The river had frozen early and a January thaw had left the landscape cratered and slippery. With icicles growing steadily outside their window, the young couple huddled next to an electric heater in their small King Street apartment to stay warm. Composing on his old Remington standard typewriter, Richards began the first draft ofWinterin conditions similar, he imagined, to those of the Russian masters he admired:

    [Winterbegan] in an apartment in a house … in Fredericton with my cat Pushkin lying across my neck. The house was torn down...

  12. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  13. 6 Ties of Friendship and of Blood
    (pp. 177-209)

    The period between the completion of Richards’s first and second novels was one of increasing activity for the now full-time writer. After a short break in the spring of 1973, he began working onBlood Ties, building to a pace to rivalWinter’s. (He would finishBlood Tiesin January 1975, thirteen months after starting.) Besides writing through the night, he was reading chapters of the new novel on Tuesdays at McCord Hall and dealing with the reviews ofWinter. He would disengage from friends for long periods, then return with a new story or chapter. Peer pressure was having...

  14. 7 ‘The great unwholesome anonymity of North America’: Lives to AA
    (pp. 210-255)

    The death of his mother, who had been his staunchest supporter, forced Richards to take stock of himself. He struggled to do this while sober, quitting the bottle for days at a time then lapsing into long binges. Friends would see him sitting in the graveyard looking out to the river. When they doubled back to talk, he’d be gone. Peggy’s witticism that ‘the only time he was happy was on the second day of a three-day drunk’ (quoted in Furlong and Kubaki) was doleful at best. His literary progress, though significant, continued to be hampered by a reception that...

  15. 8 Rebuilding the Base: Fredericton, Stilt House, and the First GG Nomination
    (pp. 256-298)

    The calm of sobriety smoothed Richards’s reconnection with a considerably narrower circle of family and friends. He began spending long hours with his brothers in the upkeep of their camp on Mullin Stream, forty kilometres northwest of Newcastle. It was at this time that he turned to the solitude of fly-fishing on the Sevogle and many of its small pools near their stretch of water. He’d spend entire days walking downstream six or seven miles, encountering no one while navigating the slippery rocks and low overhangs of the narrow brooks along the way. With brothers John and Paul, he also...

  16. Conclusion: Nights Below and Stars Above
    (pp. 299-326)

    Richards continued to forge ahead with his writing no matter what launch, reading, review, or award diverted him. Writing had become ritual and obsession. Without it he became out of sorts, edgy, a self-confessed addict in need of a fix. By the spring of 1986, he was well along with his next project, another leviathan he was callingAdele. True to his impatience with any one form, he was ready to put away laconic style and to return to the expansiveness ofLives. He was feeling robust and up to the challenge, confident now in his sobriety. He told Doug...

  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 327-344)
  18. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 345-346)
  19. Index
    (pp. 347-355)