Wacousta (John Richardson)
Status: On hold
Wacousta is a novel by John Richardson. Published in 1832, it is sometimes claimed as the first Canadian novel, although in fact it is preceded by Julia Catherine Beckwith's St Ursula's Convent; or, The Nun of Canada (Kingston, 1824). Wacousta is better categorized as the first attempt by a Canadian born author at historical fiction.
However, it is one of the first novels written by a Canadian-born author about Canada, and, in spite of its overwrought sentimentalism, it has been treated as a seminal work in the development of a Canadian literary sensibility.
In the period of publication, Wacousta was quite popular not only in Canada, but also in the United States. A contemporary novel it competed with was James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Where they differ is that Cooper's novel focuses on the efforts of the individual within the whole, but Richardson's novel concerns itself with broader cross-cultural motivations.