2017.02.11

“The roundness of the world is true! and the ends meet.”

In 1930, two German artists came to Victoria, via New York, to visit Emily Carr. This is a quote she attributes to one of them, Gerhard, in her story “The Round World.” Emily was born in 1871 and died in 1945, so she lived through both world wars, though far away from the action. Canada was a member of the allies, because we were still a part of England, but Emily had no male relatives left. War must have felt very far away to her.

“We were People and the world was round. There were no seams in her. She was all of a piece.”

It took a favourite preacher with a radio show for Emily to finally buy a radio for her home. She writes about the novelty in her journal, and to those of us living today, it sounds hilarious. She wasn’t afraid of the thing, but it was strange, even for a woman like Emily who did most everything in her life differently. It brought the world closer at the exact moment hers was growing smaller–because of age, health, and deaths in her family.

Even after her radio brought news of World War II, Emily continued to believe in the roundness of the world. She painted and wrote so we could see it, too.