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Stephen Butler Leacock- A Brief Bio

Stephen Butler Leacock, FRSC, was an internationally popular humorist, and an author of more than 30 books of lighthearted sketches and essays. He was born on December 30, 1869 in Swanmore, England; and died in 28 March, 1944 in Toronto. Between the years 1915 and 1925, he was the best-known English speaking humorist in the world. His two masterpieces are Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) and Arcadia Adventures with Idle Rich (1914). The first humorously anatomizes business, social life, religion, romance and politics in the typical, small Canadian town of Mariposa. He also wrote Humour: its Theory and Technique (1935), a discussion of his humour, and The Boy I Left behind Me (1946). Leacock believed that the best humour resides at the highest reaches of literature. Leacock’s humour is typically based on a comic perception of social foibles and the incongruity between appearance and reality in human conduct and his works is characterized by the invention of lively comic situations

He was awarded the Mark Twain Medal for humour in 1935, The Royal Society of Canada’s Lorne Pierce Medal in 1937 and the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction for My Discovery of the West (1937) in 1938. The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour was established in his honour in 1947. It awards an annual cash prize to the best humorous book by a Canadian author, selected by a jury. In 1968, Stephen Leacock was designated as a National Historic Person. On the centenary of his birth in 1969, Canada post issued a six cent stamp to commemorate his life and career.

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