Authors: Frederick Philip Grove

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Polish-born Canadian novelist

Author Works

Long Fiction:

Settlers of the Marsh, 1925

A Search for America, 1927

Our Daily Bread, 1928

The Yoke of Life, 1930

Fruits of the Earth, 1933

Two Generations, 1939

The Master of the Mill, 1944

Consider Her Ways, 1947

Short Fiction:

Tales from the Margin: The Selected Short Stories of Frederick Philip Grove, 1971 (Desmond Pacey, editor)


Over Prairie Trails, 1922

The Turn of the Year, 1923

It Needs to Be Said, 1929

In Search of Myself, 1946 (fictionalized autobiography)

The Letters of Frederick Philip Grove, 1976 (Desmond Pacey, editor)

A Stranger to My Time: Essays By and About Frederick Philip Grove, 1986

Children’s/Young Adult Literature:

The Adventure of Leonard Broadus, 1983 (in The Genesis of “The Adventure of Leonard Broadus”: A Text and Commentary)


Frederick Philip Grove was born Felix Paul Greve on February 14, 1879, in Radomno, Prussia. Grove’s most effective fictions were a result of the first thirty years of his life. His parents were middle-class citizens of Hamburg, and he attended the University of Bonn for a few years before dropping out for financial reasons and embarking on a career as a freelance writer and translator. Grove may have known André Gide and others in turn-of-the-century Paris literary circles, and he certainly did write and publish poetry, fiction, and even drama in addition to his literary criticism and extensive translation.{$I[AN]9810001850}{$I[A]Grove, Frederick Philip}{$S[A]Greve, Felix Paul;Grove, Frederick Philip}{$I[geo]CANADA;Grove, Frederick Philip}{$I[geo]GERMANY;Grove, Frederick Philip}{$I[tim]1879;Grove, Frederick Philip}

Grove’s migration to North America, in 1909 or 1910, provided him with new subject matter for his fiction. Whether he rode the rails as an itinerant workman, as he often said, is open to question. Most certainly he could have done so for only a year or two, and not for the much longer period suggested in A Search for America and reiterated in his autobiography. One can only speculate about his reasons for coming to America and for adopting so elaborate a disguise–of name, of parentage, even of the year of his birth. Perhaps he wished to transcend his modest social station, or to elude the law or creditors–Grove had spent a year in a Bonn prison for fraud–or perhaps to escape a constraining marriage.

In 1912, Grove was hired as a public schoolteacher in rural Haskett, Manitoba, which was the first of several appointments in a rather unhappy career that lasted fifteen years. In the summer of 1914, he married Catherine Wiens, a teacher in a school where he had become principal. They had a daughter and a son. The daughter’s death in 1927, when she was only eleven, climaxed a string of difficulties besetting Grove in the 1920’s, difficulties caused by the backward and often intolerant communities in which he found himself employed, by his own ill temper and inflexibility toward the rural mentality, by overwork and chronic financial hardship, and, perhaps most of all, by the erratic and ultimately unencouraging response of publishers and readers to his books.

In the late 1920’s, Grove’s fortunes turned somewhat as he became championed by a small but loyal and influential group of Canadian writers and academics. Increasing critical recognition of his work led to two lecture tours in 1928, to a brief career in the publishing business from 1929 to 1931, and to Grove’s receiving the prestigious Lorne Pierce Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in 1931. Meanwhile, Grove had left teaching and settled with his wife and son on a small farm near Simcoe, Ontario, where he lived until his death. Although his writing never made him much money, it won him growing acclaim. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1941, received several honorary degrees, and was given a lifetime grant of one hundred dollars per month by the Canadian Writers Foundation in 1944. A stroke that year left him partly paralyzed, and he died in 1948.

BibliographyHjartarson, Paul, ed. A Stranger to My Time: Essays by and About Frederick Philip Grove. Edmonton, Alberta: NeWest Press, 1986. Divided into four sections, each concerned with a Grove persona, the figures of the Other, the Immigrant, Estrangement, and Posterity. Thoroughly updates the evaluation of Grove and his contribution to Canadian literature. Includes an extensive, selected bibliography and an explicit index.Martens, Klaus. F. P. Grove in Europe and Canada: Translated Lives. Translated by Paul Morris. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2001. A biography of Grove that examines his homes and correspondence.Pacey, Desmond, ed. Frederick Philip Grove. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1970. Encompasses Pacey’s introduction, chronologically arranged critical essays by other authors, book review excerpts on Grove’s novels, and a bibliography of Grove’s entire canon. Reflects Pacey’s skill at providing a useful overview.Spettigue, Douglas O. Frederick Philip Grove. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1969. Spettigue, who has done the most to untangle the enigma of Grove’s origins, arranges this scholarly, objective book around a consideration of the interdependence between Grove’s personality and the themes and heroes of his novels. Notes and a bibliography enhance this important analysis.Stobie, Margaret R. Frederick Philip Grove. New York: Twayne, 1973. Stobie does as much as possible to discover Grove, the man, behind the central theme in his writing: human as social and natural being. Comprises an interwoven analysis of Grove’s life and his writing, presenting new insights gleaned from unpublished material and from personal anecdotes of people who knew him. Emphasizes Grove’s successes over his failures as a writer. A chronology, a selected bibliography, and an index contribute to the thoroughness of this admiring study.Stuewe, Paul. “The Case of Frederick Philip Grove.” In Clearing the Ground: English-Canadian Literature After “Survival.” Toronto: Proper Tales Press, 1984. Stuewe bluntly dismisses Grove as an inept writer but acknowledges his nonliterary value as a chronicler of social and historic themes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.Sutherland, Ronald, ed. “Thoughts on Five Writers: What Was Frederick Philip Grove?” In The New Hero: Essays in Comparative Quebec/Canadian Literature. Toronto: Macmillan, 1977. Sutherland calls this series of interesting linked essays, on the individualistic “new” hero emerging from Canadian literature, “para-literary.” The section on Grove reflects Sutherland’s fascination with that enigmatic personality and praises his writing as that of a literary naturalist, not a social realist. Includes notes and a thorough bibliography.
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