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Frederick Philip Grove Biography

(1879–1948), In Search of Myself, Over Prairie Trails, Settlers of the Marsh, Our Daily Bread

fiction life prairie manitoba

Canadian novelist, born Felix Paul Greve in Radomno, Prussia (now Poland); he was brought up in Hamburg and subsequently attended university in Bonn and Munich. His picaresque early life involved associations with Stefan George and André Gide, a year in prison for fraudulently obtaining money from a friend, periods in Italy, Sicily, France, and Berlin, a host of translations, and the publication of a volume of poetry and a verse-drama. In 1909 he faked his death and fled to North America, where he invented a new identity for himself. Although he wrote an ‘autobiography’, In Search of Myself (1946), much of this work is fiction and it is hard to disentangle the facts of his ‘real’ life immediately after he settled in Canada. He probably worked as a farm labourer for a few years before later becoming a teacher in Manitoba. It was as Frederick Philip Grove, a writer of ‘realistic’ novels and a founding father of prairie fiction, that he became known. Perhaps his greatest fiction was himself. Grove's books include Over Prairie Trails (1922), a non-fiction account of travels in rural Manitoba, and the novels Settlers of the Marsh (1925), Our Daily Bread (1928), Fruits of the Earth (1933), and The Master of the Mill (1944). Despite his reputation as a realist, all his work contains passages in which romanticism intrudes.

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