Twelve episodes in the everyday life of the community of Mariposa.
"Leacock had a wonderful ear for dialogue and was superbly skilled in creating polished, self-contained scenes and in evoking character with a few sure strokes." -- Will Ferguson
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 skillful brushstrokes of a great comic artist, the delightful inhabitants of Mariposa represent the people of small towns everywhere.
Set in the fictional landscape of Mariposa on the shores of Lake Wissanotti in Missinaba County, Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is an affectionate satire of small town life. This series of humorous connected sketches about graft, high finance, religion, love and romance is, on one level, an intimate, comic portrait of town life and local politics. On another level, the narrative is a powerful commentary on the workings of community values and on Canada’s place within the British Empire.
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: colorful, imaginative, and thoroughly entertaining.
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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 humor 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 humor almost every year.
Leacock also wrote popular biographies of his two favorite 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.Review:
"Although we have long celebrated Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town as a Canadian classic, we have had to wait until now for an edition that would put the best possible version of the text into our hands. It is wonderful to have that at last. The additional framing this edition gives Leacock's great work is invaluable. This new edition of Leacock's pastoral comedy should provoke new critical consideration of a literary work that is far more complex and richer than we have so far noticed." (Russell Brown, co-editor of The Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature )
"Carl Spadoni's edition of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town is a delight to peruse. As a critical edition it brings to twentieth-century textual study what the CEECT series accomplished for nineteenth-century Canadian books. Beyond that, Spadoni provides new information and revelations throughout his introduction, enriching our sense of the complex place that Mariposa held in Stephen Leacock's imagination and the welter of critical response that his apparently innocent book has engendered. It's an important work, worth at least a year of shaves and haircuts in Jeff Thorpe's memorable barber shop." (Michael Peterman )
"Spadoni's edition deserves a welcome place on the shelves of Canadian literature specialists and general readers alike." (Canadian Literature ) --Canadian Literature
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