Canadian Shakespeare News

Alexander W. Crawford and Early Canadian Shakespeare Criticism

CASP is pleased to make available the full 1916 version of Hamlet, An Ideal Prince and Other Essays in Shakespearean Interpretation, which represents the earliest known extended Canadian critical scholarship on Hamlet and indeed Shakespeare, by the University of Manitoba Professor of English Alexander Wellington Crawford. Crawford was distinguished for also offering a course in Canadian poetry at the University of Manitoba in 1919-20 (this at a time when English Literature courses in Canadian literature were rare), and has been recognized as a pioneer in the early teaching of Canadian literature. In 1909 the Departments of Electrical Engineering, English, Political Economy, and History were established at the University of Manitoba.  E.P. Fetherstonhaugh, Alexander W. Crawford, A.B. Clark, and Chester Martin were appointed as Chairs of these new departments.


Crawford, in addition to publishing Shakespeare criticism, published The Philosophy of F. H. Jacobi in 1905. He received his M.A. from the University of Toronto and his PhD at Cornell in 1902 working with Hiram Corson (1828-1911), who had published An Introduction to the Study of Shakespeare in 1889. Both works taken together, and made available for the first time as a pair, show the evolution of early Shakespearean criticism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in the U.S. and Canada. It is not surprising that there are pedagogical connections between the scholars producing this early criticism.


Click here to access links to the books on the CASP Essays, Documents, and Books site or click on the hyperlinked titles below to access each work.

 Alexander W. Crawford, Hamlet, An Ideal Prince and Other Essays in Shakespearean Interpretation (1916)

 Hiram Corson,  An Introduction to the Study of Shakespeare (1889)

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