German Mills

By John Steffler

German Mills
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Talented, privileged and ambitious, the young William Berczy is disaffected with the strictures of eighteenth-century European society. Quitting Germany to pursue a future of his own making, Berczy refashions himself as a secret envoy in war-torn Poland and a portrait painter ... Read more


Overview

Talented, privileged and ambitious, the young William Berczy is disaffected with the strictures of eighteenth-century European society. Quitting Germany to pursue a future of his own making, Berczy refashions himself as a secret envoy in war-torn Poland and a portrait painter in Italy before his charisma and skill for self-invention land him the ultimate romantic role?leading a group of German settlers into the American wilderness. After abandoning his deceitful partners and fleeing from the Gennesee Valley to Upper Canada with his settlers, Berczy’s facade of influence crumbles as he fails to secure either acceptance or success, his talent squandered on petitioning the powerful. Based on Berczy’s compelling, hyperbolic life, German Mills is a portrait of a man entangled in the vain romanticism and restless ambition that propelled the colonial dream and yet lurks just below the surface of Canadian society.

 

John Steffler

John Steffler’s critically acclaimed poetry collections include The Grey Islands, That Night We Were Ravenous, and Lookout, which won the Atlantic Poetry Prize. His novel The Afterlife of George Cartwright was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. Steffler served as Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2006 to 2008. He divides his time between Montreal and rural Ontario.

 

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