Service, Robert William

Service, Robert William, 1874–1958, Canadian poet and novelist, b. England, educated at the Univ. of Glasgow. He went to Canada in 1897 and held odd jobs in British Columbia and at Whitehorse in the Yukon. His famous ballad “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” appeared in Songs of a Sourdough (1907, repr. 1915 as The Spell of the Yukon). Celebrations of the rough ways of Klondike life continued in Ballads of a Cheechako (1909) and in the novel The Trail of '98 (1910). Service became a foreign correspondent in 1912 and drove an ambulance during World War I, an experience that gave him material for Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (1916). He spent the rest of his life, except during World War II, in France and Monte Carlo. His later works did not win the tremendous popularity of the earlier ones. His autobiography was issued in two volumes, Ploughman of the Moon (1945) and Harper of Heaven (1948).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Canadian Literature: Biographies