Literature & literary studies:

The Letter Bag of the Great Western;

Or, Life in a Steamer


Paperback / softback

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The Letter Bag of the Great Western; by Thomas Chandler Haliburton
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Aside from Sam Slick, the book which gained Haliburton the greatest notoriety was The Letter Bag of The Great Western; or, Life in a Steamer, published in 1840. Much of this book was composed for the diversion of the other passengers on Haliburton's steamship voyage from Bristol to New York in 1839. The book's ostensible function was the advertisement of the advantages of travel by steamship, but few, after reading the passengers' accounts of their voyage, would, if they took them seriously, ever venture off shore. The book's principal sources of amusement - infirmities of the human body (seasickness), the peculiarities of spelling and grammar that arise from faulty or defective education, the cultural mores of other races and lower classes, and the outrageous punning.

Author Biography

Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) was a politician, judge, and author who lived in the British Colony of Nova Scotia. He was the first international best-selling author from what is now Canada and played a significant role in the history of Nova Scotia prior to its entry into Confederation.
Release date NZ
December 15th, 1973
Edited by Douglas Lochhead
Illustrations, black and white
University of Toronto Press
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