Leacock, Stephen

Tagged: Author

(1869-1944) UK-born Canadian economist and author, in Canada from the age of eight, active as a writer from about 1890; of many books of humorous sketches, the most famous is perhaps Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (coll 1912), where he expresses a deeply conservative view of the world (his anti-Feminism included opposition to women's suffrage) with engaging warmth and humour. Sf often featured as the target of the more fantastical of his Satirical sketches, in spoofs like "The New Food", about the Invention of nutritional (but explosive) food pellets (see Food Pills), assembled with similar work in Literary Lapses (coll 1910); or "The Man in Asbestos: An Allegory of the Future", which parodies H G Wells's The Time Machine, and other stories assembled in Nonsense Novels (coll 1911); or the Alternate History spoofingly espoused in "If Germany Had Won" in The Hohenzollerns in America: With the Bolsheviks in Berlin, and Other Impossibilities (coll 1919); or "The Kidnapped Plumber: A Tale of the New Time", a Parody of the scientific detective tale assembled in Winsome Winnie and Other New Nonsense Novels (coll 1920). The Iron Man and the Tin Woman, with Other Such Futurities: A Book of Little Sketches of To-day and Tomorrow (coll 1929), the title story spoofing Robots, and Afternoons in Utopia: Tales of the New Time (coll 1932) contain the highest proportion of this sort of material – Utopias being a favourite target, as well (of course) as women – but examples can be found in many of his collections. [JC]

see also: Canada.

Stephen Butler Leacock

born Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire: 30 December 1869

died Toronto, Ontario: 28 March 1944

works (selected)

nonfiction

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