Stephen Leacock

A picture of the author Stephen Leacock

Stephen Butler Leacock (December 1869 – March 1944) was born in England and moved to Canada when he was six years old. He became a Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humorist.

Though not as reknowned in modern times, during the early 1900s, Leacock was the most famous humorist writing in the English language. At one point, it was said that more people had heard of Stephen Leacock than Canada. At least one source estimates that between 1910 and 1925, Leacock was the most widely read author in the English speaking world.

Leacock's wit and humour were not trifled with easily. A critic wrote, "What is there is, after all, in Professor Leacock's humour but a rather ingenious mixture of hyperbole and myosis?"

Leacock unholstered his famous wit, took steady aim at the hapless critic and replied:

The man was right. How he stumbled on this trade secret I do not know. But I am willing to admit, since the truth is out, that it has been my custom in preparing an article of a humorous nature to go down to the cellar and mix up half a gallon of myosis with a pint of hyperbole. If I want to give the article a decidedly literary character, I find it well to put in about half a pint of paresis.

It's safe to say that one left a mark!

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