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The John Buchan Society    

No 32/Spring 2005


John Buchan come to learn about Wales, by Gareth Jones

Walter Scott to John Buchan: the handing over of a baton?, by Dairmid Gunn

John Buchan: His writing influenced our formative years, by Mahasara Gunaratne

The 2004 Queen's University Archives Roundtable

Introduction, by Gillian F Barlow

John Buchan and the invention of post-colonial literature, by Peter Henshaw

Race and the late-Victorian Imperial world-view: A Lodge in the Wilderness and Prester John, by Daniel Gorman

Is Francis Galliard a French-Canadian version of the young John Buchan?, by Michael Haslett

The Canadian impact of John Buchan's appointment as Governor-General: Catalyst to sovereignty, by J William Galbraith

John Buchan's legacy: The Governor-General's Literary Awards, by Joanne Larocque-Poirier

Notes and Queries

  • John Buchan Middle School, Germany
  • Library archiving systems
  • The John Buchan Bingo Board
  • Buchan's astrological chart, in French and English
  • Letters from the NY Times Review of Books, 1968
  • Buchan e-books available online
  • Buchan adopted by British right-wingers
  • Buchan and Thomas Nelson's
  • Salute to Adventurers
  • Recent citations in the popular press
  • Buchan the humanist
  • Buchan and Annie S Swan
  • Buchan in Sweden
  • Buchan for German readers
  • Buchan in Argentina


Of spats and moccasins Reflections on archiving and curating the John Buchan papers in Canada
Gillian F Barlow

Queen's University, located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, has the good fortune of counting among its holdings many of the personal papers and library of John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir. Lord Tweedsmuir was Governor-General of Canada from 1935 to 1940.

The Archives of the University, and the Special Collections unit of the university library together hosted a celebration of the life and work of Buchan on 19 October, 2004. The event, planned to coincide with the visit to Canada of the John Buchan Society, included the annually held Archives Lecture, and an exhibition of the books and papers from the Buchan Collections. The theme of the displays was based on the varied facets of the life and work of Buchan, his interests, talents and roles.

The image chosen for the poster of the John Buchan Exhibition at Queen's University and the Annual Archives Lecture of 2004 shows a young John Buchan, dapper in morning suit, with watch-chain neatly tucked into his waistcoat, and sporting on his feet the fashion of the day - spats. He presented a suave figure, with a cool gaze and lips closed on the bare glimmer of a wry smile. Buchan epitomizes the young man with a future; officer, lawyer, politician, publisher, author. And of course, he was all of these. But what of the other aspects of the character behind the smile and sophisticated clothes? Was there more to be discovered about JB?

Race and the late-Victorian Imperial world-view: A Lodge in the Wilderness and Prester John
Daniel Gorman

As a writer of both serious scholarship and what we would today call popular fiction, John Buchan's work provides an ideal sounding of late Victorian and early twentieth-century ideals. Indeed, his astounding industry meant that he at one time or another wrote about most of the concerns of the day. Buchan's popular work, what he termed his 'shockers', was crafted with an eye to the marketplace, and thus provides an especially good source for understanding the period's conventional thought and prevailing wisdom. I would like to examine Buchan's views on one of the more controversial topics of his age, namely race and the empire.

Buchan has often been criticized for perpetuating discriminatory stereotypes in his writing. The most common charge is that he was an anti-Semite. This claim is usually tied to the character Scudder from The Thirty-Nine Steps, Buchan's most famous novel. Scudder tells Richard Hannay that '[t]he Jew is everywhere, but you have to go far down the backstairs to find him,' and that at the heart of every crisis is 'a little white-faced Jew in a bathchair with an eye like a rattlesnake.' The critics usually fail to note, however, that Scudder's views are renounced in the book. Further, Buchan himself was a supporter of Zionism, and was on close terms with Chaim Weizman, president of the World Zionist Council and later the first President of Israel.

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