Other literary forms
Throughout his career, Hugh MacLennan was a prolific writer of nonfiction. Following his youthful attempts at poetry and the publication of his dissertation on a Roman colonial settlement in Egypt, Oxyrhynchus: An Economic and Social Study (1935, 1968), MacLennan began writing articles, reviews, autobiographical pieces, travel notes, and essays, publishing in a variety of magazines, including The Montrealer, Maclean’s, and Holiday. Journalism sometimes served as a necessary supplement to his income and occasionally was used to try out material later incorporated into his novels. It has been claimed that his talent finds truer expression in his essays than in his novels; while this may be a questionable judgment, there is no denying the excellence of much of his nonfiction. Selections from the more than four hundred essays that he wrote have been collected in four books, the first two of which won Canada’s Governor-General’s Award: Cross-Country (1949), Thirty and Three (1954), Scotchman’s Return, and Other Essays (1960), and The Other Side of Hugh MacLennan: Selected Essays Old and New (1978, Elspeth Cameron, editor). Additionally, his concern for Canada’s history and geography found expression in his Seven Rivers of Canada (1961; revised as Rivers of Canada, 1974) and The Colour of Canada (1967). Rivers of Canada, in which MacLennan provided the text to accompany the beautiful photography of John de Visser, contains some of his best writing.