Publication Year: 2008
Dry Water tells the story of Donald Strand, from the time of his arrival as a ten-year-old orphan at his relatives Manitoba farm in 1890 to his apogee as a successful farmer. It recounts the crises he faces during a troubled marriage and the great stock market crash of 1929. His life parallels the growth and development of Manitoba during the same period.
Stead considered Dry Water, written in 19341935, to be his crowning achievement. He was unable to find a publisher for it during his lifetime, although an abridged edition was published by Tecumseh Press in 1983. This new edition includes the complete typescript, a critical introduction, and explanatory notes that place this novel in its proper literary and historical context.
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Canadian Literature Collection
Title Page, Copyright
In the preparation of this edition, the editors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Anne Goddard and other archivists of Library and Archives Canada, Paul Banfield and Megan Kerrigan of Queen's University Archives, and the staff of the Arnold Guebert Library at Concordia University College of Alberta. For his editorial expertise and guidance in ...
Dry Water, a portrait of the growth of a farmer, his family, and his community from the late nineteenth century to the verge of the Great Depression, is Robert J. C. Stead's finest novel, surpassing his critically acclaimed Grain (1926) in its social and psychological insights, in the quality of its narrative style, and in its literary and historical ...
In the winter of 1890 the branch-line train to Alder Creek left Winnipeg before sunup. The occasion for its early rising was not apparent, for, once out of the yards, it abandoned all pretense of haste and lumbered amiably along the frozen bosom of the Red River Valley. But as it stood at the station in the gray morning awaiting its small quota of passengers it...
Donald Strand was twenty-one years old in August, 1901. He took the day casually, as other days; it did not seem to mark any particular milestone in his life. For years he had been a man, doing a man's work. Twenty-one meant that he would vote at the next election, but otherwise had no practical significance. ...
Mr. Donald Strand sat in the little room he called his office, making figures with a pencil on a sheet of paper. His room opened off the front vestibule, affording a place where he could meet those visitors who came on business, or through curiosity, or on the presumption of slight acquaintance, without disturbing his household. It sat ...
Dry Water contains numerous topical references, some of which are obvious, but many of which may go unnoticed because they appear so commonplace to a twenty-first-century audience. Many of the explanatory notes that follow are intended to reflect just how new so many inventions and institutions were in the time period covered in the novel and how significant they are to a full ...
In preparing this print edition we have whenever possible retained Stead's spelling preferences, which include a mixture of Canadian and American spellings. Certain rare spellings, such as the noun "sluff" for "slough," have been left unaltered. Variant spellings of the same words have been rendered consistent, "gol," for example, being emended to "goll as in "goll-darn."
There are numerous variants among the four extant typescripts of Dry Water, far too many to list here in their entirety. The following variant readings are intended to illustrate the main changes made between the first and second versions (the first typescript [TS1] and the third typescript [TS3]) as well as the extensive cuts made to TS3 in the preparation of the last version (the fourth ...