Author Archives: UASC

TBT – Rare Online Showcase

Originally published November 2011 on our Rare Books Online Showcase: Diary of Private Evan Patterson

For the November edition of the Rare Books Online Showcase to celebrate Remembrance Day, the University of Saskatchewan is showcasing our World War I Diary of a Canadian Private Suffering in the Trenches by Private Evan Patterson dated from late May 1915, saving two early entries: December 30, 1914, “Signed on with 3rd Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles at Medician Hat Alberta Canada” and on 2 January, “My birthday, had poor time.” This manuscript is a handwritten diary of a soldier serving in the trenches with the 3rd Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles. On 22 September, he left for France, marked on his calendar for 9 weeks.

The 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles were raised 15 March 1915 in Medicine Hat and Edmonton, AB from the 21st Alberta Hussars and placed under command of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Brigade. However, once overseas, it was found that requirements for mounted units were lower than that for infantry. (from The beginnings of the diary include name, infantry division, height, age, complexion, and many other physical details about Private Patterson.


Many of the Diary’s entries are brief – one gets the impression that one would have but little time for reflection, but it paints a realistic picture of life in the trenches. There is excitement, but also concise, curt admissions like “feel miserable” or the mention of injuries and casualties. The diary also contains interesting tidbits regarding the travelling from place to place that was done and it gives a wonderful textual map of his personal war experience.


For more information about Remembrance Day visit the Wikipedia page here or visit the Royal Legion of Canada website here. The symbol of the poppy we wear in remembrance comes from the Canadian poet John McCrea poem “In Flanders Fields.”

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below…
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields…
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields…

The information contained in the Diary is at times very different from this high literary conception and the historical study of war relies on both forms of textual documents for a complete picture of what happened. To see the diary or other items like it come on up to the 3rd floor of the Murray Library and visit Special Collections.


The Great War


University of Saskatchewan, University Archives and Special Collections, Photograph Collection, A-1130

Link Gallery Exhibit: The Great War, November 2015 – January 2016, 1st Floor, Murray Library

On June 28, 1914, a young Bosnian nationalist in the then obscure Balkan town of Sarajevo shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  This violent but seemingly isolated act set in motion a series of policies that were to culminate in August 1914 in the outbreak of the most destructive war up to that time. The struggle, called by contemporaries “the Great War”, ended in November 1918, after nearly four-and-a-half years of fighting. It also had a great and lasting impact on University of Saskatchewan.

University of Saskatchewan, University Archives and Special Collections, MG 289, War 53rd

The Great War was the first truly global conflict. Over twenty separate countries and empires fought in the conflict that cost the lives of an estimated 15 to 18 million combatants and civilians. The bulk of the Canadian force was sent to the Western Front primarily in Flanders and France. Canadians also saw action in Macedonia, Dardanelles, Egypt and Palestine, North-West Persia and Caspian, Murmansk, Archangel and Siberia. The war opened in August of 1914 and closed in November of 1918 but its influence can be felt today. When peace finally came, three of the world`s great empires – Russian, Austria-Hungarian and Ottoman – no longer existed. The Great War changed everything. People would no longer view war as a romantic adventure. The era of Kings and empires was coming to a close. Germany and Turkey were republics and Russia was the first communist state. The nationalism that had sparked the conflagration was given legitimacy in the Treaty of Versailles and the Balkans was a patchwork of nation states. The Great War changed borders, politics, science, art and literature. It was the death of the old world and the birth of the world we know today. The war to end all wars did not.

University of Saskatchewan, University Archives and Special Collections, Diefenbaker fonds, JGD 68

The gallery contains material exclusively from the University Archives and Special Collections. The subjects covered are driven by the archival and printed sources in the collection. It is hoped that the presentation of one of a kind and rare material will aid in the research into and knowledge of the Great War.

Patrick Hayes



Please visit the RememberUS website for more Great War material at University Archives and Special Collections.

The web page was conceived by the University of Saskatchewan Great War commemoration committee that was formed in February of 2014. The site contains material scanned exclusively from the University Archives and Special Collections.

TBT- Rare Books Online Showcase 2011

Originally published June 2011 on our Rare Books Online Showcase; written and compiled by our maestro of digital projects (then supervisor), Joel Salt.

June: Ulysses

Marilyn Monroe reads UlyssesIn honour of Bloomsday, celebrated 16 June (the day in which the entire novel of Ulysses takes place), Special Collections will showcase its first edition of Ulysses published in 1922. Ulysses was banned from England until the 1930s so Joyce took it to Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris to first have it published, which was done quickly and with many errors. Special Collection’s edition was published by Egoist Press in London, but it was printed at Dijon, France. It was a limited edition print run; Special Collections owns number 512 out of 2000 copies. Ulysses is well-known for its difficulties in printing. According to Joyce scholar Jack Dalton the first edition of Ulysses contained over two thousand errors but was still the most accurate edition published. Several other attempts at correction took place, notably in 1932 by Stuart Gilbert for the Odyssey Press, the Bodley Head Revised Edition in 1960, and notably in 1984 by Hans Walter Gruber who used a computer to collate Ulysses manuscripts, though this edition has come under heavy criticism for a variety of reasons. Many publishers briefly used Gruber’s edition before going back to the 1960 text.

Ulysses edgesJoyce SpineUlysses spine

Bloomsday was invented in 1954 on the 50th anniversary of the day the events take place in the novel when John Ryan (artist, critic, publican and founder of Envoy magazine) and the novelist Flann O’Brien organised what was to be a daylong pilgrimage along the Ulysses route. Ulysses is renowned for its attention to the detail of its Dublin setting. Joyce once even joked that if Dublin were wiped off the face of the earth it could be rebuilt accurately simply by reading his novel. Joyce’s chef d’oeuvre mirrors the structure of Homer’s Greek epic poem The Odyssey, and Ulysses is the Latinized name for the eponymous Greek hero Odysseus. Headings suggesting a similar structure to The Odyssey were added later to quell certain allegations of obscenity.

Ulysses FrontisNegative InscriptionJoyce FrontisNew CoverEdgeRebinding

Ulysses was a polarizing novel when it came out. Certain critics, mostly those now called modernists such as Ezra Pound, immediately found it revolutionary.  Many other critics, along with government officials and the general public, found it offensive, obscene, lacking structure, and even at times bordering on the unintelligible. Random House eventually secured a court ruling in 1933 that deemed the book not pornographic, and hence not obscene, after a shipment of copies of the book was seized at the border. In Canada Ulysses was banned until 1949, though it was apparently still taught in class and illegal copies still resided in some University Libraries. ( In Australia the ban wasn’t finally lifted for good until 1953, over 30 years after it was first published.

Odyssey PressOdyssey PressUlysses Text

Ulysses is often called the perfect example of high modernism; some would say it was the culmination of modern beliefs and indeed had already started to become “postmodern.” Others reserve this latter claim for Joyce’s next novel, Finnegan’s Wake. Regardless, Ulysses is without a doubt one of the most important works of literature due to its allusive style, multi-lingual punning, parodies, and stream-of-consciousness style. Joyce once quipped he “put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant” and so far, it has proved true. It has also been described as using ‘every possible literary device available to him’ and it resides as the best novel on Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century list. It is a constant contender in academic debates, along with the likes of George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, for the distinction of best novel of all time.

James JoyceJames Joyce was born in Dublin into a Catholic family, but he would later renounce the church and be buried without a funeral mass because his wife “couldn’t do that to him.” Joyce was educated in Jesuit Schools then University College in Dublin. Joyce went on a first date with his soon-to-be wife Nora on 16 June 1904 (the day Ulysses takes place) and the two soon-after went into a self-imposed exile to Trieste and Zurich. In 1920 Joyce then went to Paris for what he thought was only a couple of days but turned out to be the next twenty years. There he hobnobbed with other fine modernist writers like Ezra Pound and Eugene Jolas, the man who would publish his final novel Finnegan’s Wake. Joyce fled the Nazis in 1940, going to Zurich where he died of a perforated ulcer in 1941. Swiss tenor Max Meili sang “Tu sei morta” (you are dead), sometimes refered to as “Addio terra, addio cielo” (goodbye earth, goodbye sky), from the then recently revived early 17th century composer Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo (1607) at the funeral service.

Special Collection’s copies of Ulysses can be found in the catalogue here; or, you come on up to the third floor of the Murray Library to see them yourself!

Some further resources:

Frank Delaney has a blog/podcast available here where he talks in depth about each page of Ulysses.
Ulyssesseen is a webcomic adapted from Ulysses.
There was a movie adaptation in 1967 entitled Ulysses.

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