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by Stephen Leacock
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Stephen Butler Leacock (1869 -1944) was a Canadian writer and economist. Leacock, always of obvious intelligence, was sent to the elite private school of Upper Canada College in Toronto, where he was top of the class and so popular he was chosen as head boy. Early in his career Leacock turned to fiction, humour, and short reports to supplement and ultimately exceed his regular income. His stories, first published in magazines in Canada and the United States and later in novel form became extremely popular around the world. It was said in 1911 that more people had heard of Stephen Leacock than had heard of Canada. Although he wrote learned articles and books related to his field of study, his political theory is now all but forgotten. Leacock was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal in 1937, nominally for his academic work.
I intend, he announced, "to try a bold, a daring experiment, which, if it succeeds, will bring us into immediate connection with the world of spirits. My plan is to leave two sovereigns here upon the edge of the table during the night. If they are gone in the morning, I shall know that Q has contrived to de-astralise himself, and has taken the sovereigns. The only question is, do you happen to have two sovereigns? I myself, unfortunately, have nothing but small change about me."
About the Author
STEPHEN LEACOCK (18691944) was born in Hampshire, England, but grew up in a small town in Ontario, one of eleven children. He studied with Thorstein Veblen at the University of Chicago and later taught in the Department of Economics and Political Science at McGill University. In 1906, he composed a textbook, Elements of Political Science, which was used throughout the world, and in 1910 the publication of Literary Lapses, a collection of humorous magazine pieces, brought him fame as a comic author. Thereafter, Leacock wrote prolifically, gaining international popularity with such works as Nonsense Novels (1911), Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912), and Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich (1914), as well as biographies of his literary heroes, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. An ardent imperialist and nationalist, Leacock was in great demand as a speaker, undertaking an international tour for the Rhodes Trust in 1907 and 1908 and a Canadian tour to promote national unity in 1936. During his life he was awarded the Mark Twain Medal and the Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, among many other prizes. The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour has been awarded annually since 1947.
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