by George J. Dance

Pelham edgar

Pelham Edgar (1871-1948), from Acta Victoriana, 1909. Courtesy Trent University.

Oscar Pelham Edgar FRSC (1871-1948) was a Canadian poet, literary critic, and academic.[1]


Pelham Edgar was born in Toronto, the son of Matilda (Ridout) and James David Edgar.[1]

He was educated at Upper Canada College, the University of Toronto (B.A., 1892), and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1897).[1]

From 1892 to 1895 he taught modern languages at Upper Canada College. He joined the department of French at Victoria College, University of Toronto as a lecturer in 1897, serving as department head from 1901 until 1910. In 1902 he also began to lecture in the department of English, where he served as department head for 28 years until his retirement in 1938.[1]

In 1893 he married Madeline (Boulton), who died in 1933. In 1935 he married Dona Gertrude Cameron (Waller), who bore him a child, Katherine Jane.[2]

Edgar b

Caricature of Edgar in Acta Victoriana, 1923. Courtesy Trent University.

He served as President of the Modern Language Association of Ontario and the Tennyson Society of Toronto; Secretary of the Canadian Society of Authors and the Ontario Education Society. He was also a member of the Athenaeum Club of London.[1]

In 1931 Pelham founded the Canadian Authors Foundation (which became the Canadian Writers' Foundation, Inc. in 1931), as a fund "for the benefit of any men or women of distinction in Canadian letters (or their dependents)…in destitution."[3]


In addition to many articles and reviews, Edgar published 3 books: A Study of Shelley: with special reference to his nature poetry (1899), Henry James: Man and author (1927), and The Art of the Novel: From 1700 to the present time (1933).[1] He also edited 5 books.[3] As well, he wrote the chapter on Canada in The Cambridge History of English Literature (1916), and served as Canadian advisor for the Dictionary of National Biography (1911).[1]


The Royal Society of Canada elected Edgar a Fellow in 1915, and awarded him its Lorne Pierce Medal in 1936.[1]

The Pelham Edgar Distinguished Visitor Endowment was established in 2004 at Victoria College to fund visiting scholars and scholarly activities, particularly in the humanities.[2]





Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Biographical Sketch, Pelham Edgar, Fonds #09, E.J. Pratt Library, Emmanuel College, Victoria University. Web, Nov. 8, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pelham Edgar, The Pelham Edgar Visiting Lecturer in the Humanities, Victoria College, University of Toronto. Web, Nov. 8, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 C.H. Little, Pelham Edgar: A tribute, Interest Stories, Canadian Writers Foundation. Web, Nov. 8, 2013.
  4. Search results = au:Pelham Edgar, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Nov. 8, 2013.

External linksEdit

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