In the Village of Viger
Publication Date: January 29, 2008
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The ten stories in In the Village of Viger portray the life of a rural village as it faces the darkness of its own future. An established milliner, Madame Laroque, is upset by the advent of a younger, more popular rival. An innkeeper’s obsession with the Franco-Prussian War drives his descent into madness. A gardener longs to return to the village in France where his mother was born. At once comical, farcical, and tragic, this superb collection, first published in 1896, anticipates later collections of linked short stories including Alice Munro’s Who Do You Think You Are? and Margaret Laurence’s A Bird in the House.
Duncan Campbell Scott was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1862. He was educated there and at Stanstead College in Quebec. He entered the civil service in 1897 as a junior clerk in what would become the Department of Indian Affairs; by 1913 he had risen to the rank of Deputy Superintendent General, a position he held until his retirement in 1932.
Urged to write by his close friend Archibald Lampman, Scott became a skilled and popular poet, short-story writer, and casual essayist. His best-known stories, such as those collected in In the Village of Viger (1896), are delicate yet intense explorations of traditional communities and cultures struggling to adjust to a rapidly changing world. His poetry often reflects his concerns for and sympathy with the lives of Native peoples.
Duncan Campbell Scott died in Ottawa in 1947.