Disillusioned by the General Drudgery of his Job, Stephen Leacock resigned from his teaching position at Upper Canada College in 1899 to pursue graduate studies. 'At Chicago, ' Leacock wrote wryly, 'they made a genial pretense that I was fit for the graduate school in economics. It is a little hard to see why, except that I was obviously not fit to die.'Leacock graduated from the university in 1903. His dissertation, until now, was thought to be lost. Carl Spadoni's discovery of this thesis -- unread since its defense -- gives readers a unique opportunity to re-examine Leacock's philosophies. 'The Doctrine of Laissez Faire' reveals the early roots of his scepticism about political economy on which his later works of humour fed. In it, Leacock attempts to demystify the dogmatic opposition to state intervention based on this economic precept.In his introduction, Spadoni provides the historical background for an intellectual understanding of Leacock's thesis. The first part of this book is a short essay by Leacock in which he reminisces on his graduate years at Chicago. The second part consists of his newly unearthed thesis. Together, they provide a better understanding of one of the major figures of Canadian cultural theory.
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CARL SPADONI is the Research Collections Librarian at the McMaster University Library.
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