Barr, Robert

Robert Barr, writer, journalist (b at Glasgow, Scot 16 Sept 1850; d at Surrey, Eng 21 Oct 1912). A popular novelist and short story writer at the turn of the century, he immigrated with his family to Wallacetown, Canada West, in 1854. He obtained a temporary teaching certificate, entered the Toronto Normal School to obtain a permanent licence in 1873 and became principal of Windsor Central School in 1875. He moved to the United States in 1876 and was on the staff of the Detroit Free Press. In 1881 Barr moved to England, where he co-edited The Idler and remained until his death. He wrote over 30 books and utilized a variety of fictional genres, including historical and contemporary romantic-adventure stories, crime fiction, social satire and farce. His notable works include a series of detective stories, The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont (1906), and 2 novels that draw upon his Canadian experience. His first novel, In the Midst of Alarms (1894), set in 1866 during the FENIAN raids in Canada, describes a largely farcical battle. The Measure of the Rule (1907), an autobiographical novel drawing upon Barr's experiences at the Toronto Normal School, is a satiric and bitter indictment of the school's quality of education, rigid discipline and indifference to students. Additionally, Barr completed Stephen Crane's unfinished novel, The O'Ruddy (1903), and wrote a travel book, The Unchanging East (1900).