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humanities 263 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 This book needs no further justification except for the caveat that even though it contains vintage selections, it is no substitute for reading the real thing, that is to say, Leacock=s books in their entirety along with the many other literary creations from his magic pen. (CARL SPADONI) Stephen Leacock. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Edited by Carl Spadoni Broadview. lxxxv, 322. $12.95 The contents of this new edition of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, in the Broadview Literary Texts series, are as follows (my numbering): Section 1 is an eighty-five-page introduction, divided into sections (my lettering): a. >Biographical Information about Leacock=; b. >The Writing and Publication of Sunshine Sketches=; c. >The Social and Political Context of Mariposa=; d. >Literary Reception and Criticism=; e. >Orillia and Mariposa=; f. >The Choice of Copy-Text.= Sections c and d break little new ground, and throughout the introduction Spadoni=s strength is rather in the information that he adduces, especially in his account of the circumstances of publication and the textual history of Sunshine Sketches, than in his interpretations of Leacock=s work and its relation to its times. Sections 2 and 3 are >A Brief Chronology= of Leacock=s life and work, useful in this condensed form, and the editor=s text of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, based on the first London edition. Section 4 is some ten pages of notes, which Spadoni acknowledges are reprinted >in revised and expanded form,= from D.H. Carr=s explanatory notes to the educational edition of Sunshine Sketches (McClelland and Stewart, 1960). University and college students and instructors alike are in need of good annotated editions of important Canadian texts, and this volume does well to make these helpful notes widely available. Nevertheless, this edition is a case of overkill when considered as a text for students and instructors, although its low price will be appealing. The rest of the volume is made up of some 150 pages of appendices (lettering in the original). Appendix A (>Leacock=s Outline and Tables of Contents=) is of limited usefulness, partly because it seems that Leacock wrote quickly and was not a very radical or meticulous reviser of his work. Apppendices B (>Leacock=s Correspondence with His Publishers=) and C (>Sunshine Sketches and Orillia= B a brief list of people and places in Orillia that provided Leacock with models) add little to our knowledge of the work itself. Appendix D, >Contemporary Reviews,= is of historical-critical interest, even if not all the selections merit inclusion. Such material, carefully culled, would be better collected in a volume of selected criticism on the model of the Casebook or Critical Heritage series; if criticism is to be included in an edition, it would be preferable to select the best, early and late, as the Norton Critical editions and the Tecumseh Press >Canadian Critical 264 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Editions= set out to do. To limit the selection to contemporary reviews smacks of historical pedantry, although it does reprint material not otherwise easily available. Appendix E, >Sunshine in Mariposa: A Play in Four Acts,= is the script of an unperformed play by Leacock (>hardly a masterpiece of any kind,= in Spadoni=s words), based on material from Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. This seventy-two-page appendix does not belong in such an edition and certainly cannot tell us much about the earlier prose work. Appendices F and G deal with textual variants in the manuscript and in the Montreal Daily Star versions; these sections are a step towards a >Variorum= edition, but suggest that there is not much to learn from Leacock=s variants. Appendix H is a list of a few changes made by Spadoni to his copy-text. The volume ends with a select bibliography; the list of primary texts duplicates entries in Spadoni=s A Bibliography of Stephen Leacock (ECW 1998), and the comprehensive listing of secondary literature will be useful to students, instructors, and scholars alike. Although a good deal of useful information, some...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 263-264
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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