Stephen Leacock

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How do the themes of economics and political science unify Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town?

What is the role of the narrator in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town?

What are some examples of wordplay in Leacock’s work?

What is meant by a short-story cycle?

What comic devices does Leacock use in his story “My Financial Career”?

Discussion Topics

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Examine the device of self-deprecating humor in Stephen Leacock’s work. How does he keep readers from taking this self-deprecation too seriously?

What is the difference between Leacock’s parody and burlesque?

Contrast the use of nonsense in Leacock’s Literary Lapses and the Alice books of Lewis Carroll, which Leacock admired.

Why should gentle humor, like that in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, infuriate the people of the town on which it is based?

Why has Leacock’s reputation declined, while those of Carroll and Mark Twain have not?


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Bush, Douglas. “Stephen Leacock.” In The Canadian Imagination: Dimensions of a Literary Culture, edited by David Staines. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977. An attempt to place the author within the broader context and development of Canadian literature.

Davies, Robertson. Stephen Leacock. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970. A short introduction to the author and his work, written for the Canadian Writers series by a well-known Canadian novelist and critic.

Legate, David M. Stephen Leacock: A Biography. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1970. An early biography by a journalist, literary critic, and friend.

Lynch, Gerald. Stephen Leacock: Humour and Humanity. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988. A study of Leacock’s political and literary ideas through the analysis of his two best-known works, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich.

Moritz, Albert, and Theresa Moritz. Stephen Leacock: His Remarkable Life. Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2002. An intellectual biography connecting Leacock to the major events and ideas of his time.

Spadoni, Carl. A Bibliography of Stephen Leacock. Toronto: ECW Press, 1998. The definitive bibliography of the author’s work.

Staines, David, ed. Stephen Leacock: A Reappraisal. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1986. A collection of critical essays on the man and his work.

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Critical Essays