Robert Calder

Distinguished Researcher Award - Spring 2005

The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member's contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge. Dr. Robert L. Calder, Professor of English, College of Arts and Science, is the recipient of the Spring 2005 award.

Dr. Calder earned a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, in English Literature from the University of Saskatchewan in 1964. He continued his studies at the University of Saskatchewan, earning his Master's degree in 1965, before going to Leeds University where he earned his Doctorate in 1970.

Calder is an internationally renowned scholar in modern British literature and, on the strength of his two books and twenty-three articles on the subject, is considered the world's leading authority on author Somerset Maugham.

Critics praised Calder's first book, W. Somerset Maugham and the Quest for Freedom, published in 1972, for both its thoroughness and readability. His next book on Maugham, Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham, published in 1989, is known as the definitive Maugham biography. It has attracted enormous critical acclaim and garnered Calder the Governor-General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, one of Canada's highest literary honours.

The author of six books, as well as a prodigious output of influential articles and book chapters, Calder is a scholar known for his remarkable breadth as much as for his focused expertise. His work deftly shifts from international stories to those with local and personal resonance.

In 2004, Calder published two major works, each in a different genre—Beware the British Serpent and A Richer Dust: Family, Memory and the Second World War. The former is a meticulously researched and pioneering work on the role of British writers in World War II propaganda. A Richer Dust is a moving family memoir that is at once personal and of universal interest. It examines Canadians' experience with shell-shock and the effect of psychological dislocation on succeeding family generations.

Beware the British Serpent won two Saskatchewan Book Awards in 2004, including Scholarly Book Award, while A Richer Dust was short-listed in both the non-fiction and Book of the Year categories.

Not content to limit his interests to the literary realm, Calder is also the co-author of a popular history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Rider Pride: The Story of Canada's Best-Loved Football Team. Calder also co-edited the anthology Time as a Human Resource, an ambitious and multidisciplinary work on the subject of time—something Calder knows how to use judiciously.

Calder has compiled his lengthy record of scholarly achievement while participating actively in the administrative life of the University and while being a devoted teacher to both undergraduate and graduate students. He chaired the English Department from 1979 to 1981, was Associate Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts from 1981 to 1984, and was Acting Head of the Department of Music between 1989 and 1999.

Acclaimed as he is in the fields of literary commentary, biography, criticism and literary history, Calder's achievements contribute greatly to the international reputation of this University and to the success of our students.