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Stephen Leacock

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1989. 157pp, paper, $4.95
ISBN 0-7710-9983-5. (New Canadian Library series). CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

Like other titles in the New Canadian Library series, Literary Lapses now has an attractive new cover, brightened with a reproduction of a David Milne painting. The forty or so humorous sketches are supplemented by a listing of all of Leacock's books and Robertson Davies's brief commen­tary on him as a comic writer.

Although this was Leacock's first book of humorous writing (originally published at his own expense in 1910), it contains many of his best pieces, including "My Financial Career," "Hoodoo McFiggin's Christmas," and "A, B, and C." Pre-teens would enjoy all of those, and students struggling with English literature in high school will also like "Saloonio" (a neat little spoof of Shakespeare) and "Half-Hours with the Poets," which skewers Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Longfellow.

While some adolescents will find Leacock entirely to their taste, others may be deterred by lack of familiarity with his world and such things as five-cent whisky and soda, Sandow exercises, sealing wax, and celluloid collars. And mature readers will regret to see that Leacock used some of the racial stereotypes accepted in his day— a grasping suitor "of that Anglo-Semitic character," and "a genuine, dirty-looking Indian guide."

Pat Bolger, Renfrew, Ont.
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