Canadian Family Essays

Canadian Family Essays-6
Near the end of his life, the American comedian Jack Benny recounted how he had been introduced to Leacock's writing by Groucho Marx when they were both young vaudeville comedians.Benny acknowledged Leacock's influence and, fifty years after first reading him, still considered Leacock one of his favorite comic writers.Leacock's mother was the half-sister of Major Thomas Adair Butler, who won the Victoria Cross at the siege and capture of Lucknow. P., had already conceived plans eventually to send his son out to the colonies, but when he discovered that at age eighteen Peter had married Agnes Butler without his permission, almost immediately he shipped them out to South Africa where he had bought them a farm.

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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.

He opposed giving women the right to vote, and had a mixed record on non-Anglo-Saxon immigration, having written both in support of expanding immigration beyond Anglo-Saxons prior to World War II He was a staunch champion of the British Empire and the Imperial Federation Movement and went on lecture tours to further the cause.

Despite his conservatism, he was a staunch advocate for social welfare legislation and wealth redistribution.

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.Soon after, his father left the family again and never returned.In 1887, seventeen-year-old Leacock started at University College at the University of Toronto, where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity. He was the third of the eleven children born to (Walter) Peter Leacock (b.1834), who was born and grew up at Oak Hill on the Isle of Wight, an estate that his grandfather had purchased after returning from Madeira where his family had made a fortune out of plantations and Leacock's Madeira wine, founded in 1760.Stephen's mother, Agnes, was born at Soberton, the youngest daughter by his second wife (Caroline Linton Palmer) of the Rev.He was closely associated with Sir Arthur Currie, former commander of the Canadian Corps in the Great War and principal of Mc Gill from 1919 until his death in 1933.In fact, Currie had been a student observing Leacock's practice teaching in Strathroy in 1888.Also, between the years 19, Leacock was the most popular humourist in the English-speaking world.A humourist particularly admired by Leacock was Robert Benchley from New York.He was puzzled as to why Leacock's work was no longer well known in the United States.During the summer months, Leacock lived at Old Brewery Bay, his summer estate in Orillia, across Lake Simcoe from where he was raised and also bordering Lake Couchiching.


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