The Canadian Courier

Canadian Courier front

We know that Janie saw the Canadian Courier, at least occasionally. After all, she saved the clipping pictured above. Details from the back of the clipping identify it as taken from the last issue of 1913. (1) She must have thought that those cherubs would be a good subject to copy.

One of the articles in this issue is entitled “The Ideal Husband” by Keble Howard. It appears under the heading “Men We Meet,” as the sixth in a series of “Benevolent Satires.” (2) The Australian academic Peter Morton tells us that Keble Howard is the pseudonym of John Keble Bell (1875-1928), “an editor of The Sketch newspaper and a prolific writer of featherweight situation comedies and novels.”(3) The ideal husband of the sketch could only be an Englishman, with his Telegraph, his pipe, his holidays at the seaside, and his carefully rolled umbrella in the luggage rack of the train he rides to his office work.(2) Morton places Bell in the school of New Humorists, arising at the end of the nineteenth century:

The widening of public education in England had produced a generation of readers who delighted in tales of the “little man”—that is to say, the adventures of heroes drawn from the lower segments of the middle class; heroes who are not patronised by their creators but treated with affectionate and understanding humour.(4)

Better known than Bell’s books are Diary of a Nobody (1892, but first appearing in Punch) by George and Weedon Grossmith  and Three Men in a Boat (1889) by Jerome K. Jerome. Morton also links H.G. Wells to the New Humorists, especially for Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul (1905). (4)

(1) The Canadian Courier. 15:4 December 27, 1913. 5. Available from Early Canadiana Online
(2) The Canadian Courier. 15:4 December 27, 1913. 10.
(3) Peter Morton. “Keble Howard and the Smiths of Surbiton
(4) Peter Morton. “The New Humorists and the Literary Influence of the Diary [of a Nobody].”

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”

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