Stead, Robert James Campbell

Robert James Campbell Stead, writer, civil servant (b at Middleville, Ont 4 Sept 1880; d at Ottawa 26 June 1959). Raised in Manitoba, Stead began his writing career as a journalist and poet but he is best known for his novels. In his early poetry, such as The Empire Builders and Other Poems (1908), Stead mixed with styles of Service and Kipling to produce a virulently nationalist concept of Canada and Canadians. This strain was continued when he turned to novels in 1914, and wartime tensions seemed to exacerbate his prejudices. His postwar novels are calmer, more tolerant and less romantic than his first work, as his style shifted from Ralph CONNOR's romanticism towards F.P. GROVE's realism, this being most apparent in his seventh novel, Grain (1926). Although it retained some romantic elements, his fiction exemplified the tendency towards "prairie realism" in Canadian literature.