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270 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 important as a historical signpost; even for our era, perhaps, when supposed 'neoclassical' economics has been more doctrinaire and universalist than pragmatic. (DAVID LEAHY) Carl Spadoni. A Bibliography of Stephen Leacock Eew Press. 720. $45.00 This voluminous text from Carl Spadoni catalogues and describes the published works of Stephen Leacock from 1887 (Leacock, a student at Upper Canada College, was writing for the school newspaper, the College Times) to 1998 (Spadoni edited a volume for the University ofToronto Press containing Leacock's 1903 doctoral thesis from the University of Chicago, The Doctrine of Laissez Faire, and a previously unpublished essay, 'My Recollection of Chicago'). [See review above.] An eloquent proof of Leacock's prodigious and varied output, this descriptive bibliography has sections on separate book, chapbook, and pamphlet publications (134 entries); contributions to perioclicals (over 1000 entries); contributions to books (33 entries); and Leacock's work as a 'busy contributor to encyclopedias' and as collaborator both on articles for serial publication and on dramatizations of his sketches. Leacock's career as public speaker is also charted through a list of lectures, compiled from Leacock's lecture notebooks, and a descriptive directory of newspaper accounts (over 200 items). Spadoni hopes to benefit book collectors, antiquarian dealers,librarians, editors, and, above all, 'the scholar and reader who wishes to examine, enjoy, and discover Leacock's work.I He particularly foresees new editions of Leacock. I wonder whether even such an impressive work as this is going to spark a renaissance for Leacock. It certainly will attract Leacock fans and those who collect Canadiana. But the buzz these two groups have been able to generate over the past ten years would be drowned out easily by Dean Drone's snorings, I mean musings, in the garden over the untranslatable wonders of Greek. Few scholars are writing about Leacock: Leacock has shown up in 'Letters in Canada' only three times in the last ten years, and only a handful more pieces have appeared elsewhere, most of them reviews of the same three books (Gerald Lynch's Stephen Leacock: Humour and Humanity, David Staines's Stephen Leacock: A Reappraisal, and James Doyle'S Stephen Leacock: The Sage ofOrillia). Few Leacock titles are in print. Spadoni's bibliography catalogues 134 separate book publications, but the 1996 edition of Canadian Books in Print included only four of Leacock's original collections (Literary Lapses, Sunshine Sketches ofa Little Town, Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich, and HUMANITIES 271 My Remarkable Uncle). Therewere also anthologies selected by other editors, three of humour pieces and one of Leacock's social criticism. Finally, as Spadoni's fascinating entries on individual books show, Sunshine Sketches far outshines the rest in volume of sales, number of editions, and consistent availability. One indication that Leacock has become, even for scholars, little more than a one-book wonder is that Gerald Lynch confined himself to commenting on only Sunshine Sketches and Arcadian Adventures in his study of the connections between Leacock's humour and his socia] theory. Where does this sublime indifference corne from? Most people would hazard that Leacock jars the sensibilities of a multicultural, egalitarian Canada. Is it surprising that when women students discover that Leacock wanted women out of the university, they return the compliment? But there's more than chauvinism at work here. Leacock1 s humour, for all his emphasis on kindliness as an essential ingredient, can be Jarring, especially if one is expecting sentiment. Consider, for example, the following from 'Caroline's Christmas; or, The Inexplicable Infant/ in which 'the old sad story' is told of a baby abandoned by a desperate single mother: 'Once or twice she took it to Brooklyn Bridge and threw it into the river, but perhaps something in the way it fell through the air touched the mother's heart and smote her, and she had descended to the river and fished it out.' Other possible barriers to canonization: Leacock wrote for a popular audience, which makes him suspect among scholars; for an international English-speaking audience, which makes him suspect among Canadian nationalists; and in a medium, the humorous essay, not held in the same high esteem as...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 270-271
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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