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Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town
by Stephen Leacock
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Long before Lake Wobegon became part of our collective fictional geography, there must've been other lakes on the radio. And there were. Stephen Leacock's Lake Wissanotti, right outside the town of Mariposa, was one of Canada's most popular and endearing fictional places. This reissue of a 1946 CBC Stage Series adaptation of Leacock's comic sketches and observations offers a double layer of nostalgia by taking a fond look back at early twentieth-century small-town Canadian life through the venue of 1940s radio. The voices, acting styles, big-production, and comic use of the well-written musical score are very representative of the best from that "Golden Age" of radio. Being faithfully transported to a gentler, simpler time provides a good introduction to Leacock's bright Canadian spirit. B.P. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Michael Peterman, Trent University
Carl Spadoni's edition of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is a delight to peruse...
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.
In the city, people never read the newspapers, not really, only little bits and scraps of them. But in Mariposa it's different. There they read the whole thing from cover to cover, and they build up on it, in the course of years, a range of acquirement that would put a college president to the blush. Anybody who has ever heard Henry Mullins and Peter Glover talk about the future of China will know just what I mean.
Inside Flap Copy
Affectionately combining both the idyllic and ironic, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is Stephen Leacock?s most beloved book. Set in fictional Mariposa, an Ontario town on the shore of Lake Wissanotti, these sketches present a remarkable range of characters: some irritating, some exasperating, some foolhardy, but all endearing. Painted with the skilful brushstrokes of a great comic artist, the delightful inhabitants of Mariposa represent the people of small towns everywhere.
As fresh, funny, and insightful today as when it was first published in 1912, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is Stephen Leacock at his best ? colourful, imaginative, and thoroughly entertaining.
About the Author
Stephen Leacock was born in Swanmore, Hampshire, England, in 1869. His family emigrated to Canada in 1876 and settled on a farm north of Toronto. Educated at Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto, Leacock pursued graduate studies in economics at the University of Chicago, where he studied under Thorstein Veblen.
Even before he completed his doctorate, Leacock accepted a position as sessional lecturer in political science and economics at McGill University. When he received his Ph.D. in 1903, he was appointed to the position of lecturer. From 1908 until his retirement in 1936, he chaired the Department of Political Science and Economics.
Leacock’s most profitable book was his textbook, Elements of Political Science, which was translated into seventeen languages. The author of nineteen books and countless articles on economics, history, and political science, Leacock turned to the writing of humour as his beloved avocation. His first collection of comic stories, Literary Lapses, appeared in 1910, and from that time until his death he published a volume of humour almost every year.
Leacock also wrote popular biographies of his two favourite writers, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. At the time of his death, he left four completed chapters of what was to have been his autobiography. These were published posthumously under the title The Boy I Left Behind Me.
Stephen Leacock died in Toronto, Ontario, in 1944.
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