Leacock@150




Today December 30th, 2019 is the 150th anniversary of Stephen Leacock’s birth, and as far as I can tell, no significant national events or commemorations are planned to mark the occasion.

This might baffle the many that regard Leacock as Canada’s greatest humorist and particularly those who know that he once enjoyed stature as our country’s best known writer, and, in some circles abroad, as the best known Canadian.

While many ardent Leacock admirers can be found within humour-loving and humour-writing communities, some others suggest that his sense of humour and sensibilities are somewhat irrelevant and speak to another time – one when Canada could be properly represented by the Anglican church, simple politics, small town concerns, and picnics. 

But reading more recent entries to the Leacock Medal competition, the institution that sustains Stephen Leacock’s memory, I find a fibre that runs through the mythical Mariposa of  Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and the humour that resonates with a modern, multicultural Canada.  It also echoes Leacock’s oft quoted definition of humour “the kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life, and the artistic expression thereof.”

With this comment Leacock intended kindly in the sense of one’s kin or kind – or one’s community.  I think that supreme humour of the type found in many Leacock Medal books in recent years can reflect a specific community but in a way that is universal and can touch us all.  

And this is what I am going to reflect on this day.  

I invite you to click around and do the same.