Monday, February 13, 2006

You Nicked Sam Slick?
Re: Letter to The Times re: 'Dickens Rival...'
The following is an unpublished-by-The-Times-response to an article about Sam Slick which appeared in the Feb 06/2006 edition of The Times.

While I was delighted to see that Thomas Chandler Haliburton`s nineteenth century character, Sam Slick, is due to be republished in England in the form of The Clockmaker, I was shocked to see that Canada`s first literary lion is celebrated as a British Tory who may have cast an ancient figure in the British House Lords. As an international rival to Charles Dickens, the article is a curious take on a born-and-raised bluenoser who left Canada at sixty years-old - well after he had established his law and writing career in Canada and abroad via the political broadside The Nova Scotian and the popular literary masterpiece The Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville. As a rival to not only Dickens but Mark Twain, Haliburton leaves an enduring legacy of Canadian popular sayings: "it's raining cats and dogs," "the early bird gets the worm" and "facts are stranger than fiction". The fact that Canada gets nary a mention in the article suggests a paucity of research. They have a saying in the Annapolis Valley, near Windsor, where Haliburton was born and raised. "Oh My Lamb?" What will they think of next?
John Stiles


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