Earlier today discovered the writings of Stephen Leacock. He was British born Canadian humourist who is now primarily known for the annual award named in his honour for Canadian humour. Prior to his posthumous award naming, Leacock was considered to be Canada’s preeminent humourist. Reading an anthology of his work I’m discovering just how clever and genuinely funny he was.
The Rembrandt Parables are my first attempt at humour. A few posts ago I mentioned that in order to be an effective writer its essential to be an avid reader. Having lapsed in my reading I gravitated to Leacock. I’d heard about him in relation to the award, but until now I hadn’t really read any of his writings. In my early assessment I am impressed with his sense of timing. He understands how to draw the reader in and carry them reader forward to his comic perspective. In one short story I read, “Lord Oxhead’s Secret”, Leacock carries the joke to the very end. In effect, the joke is on the reader. He draws us in to a story and makes us part of the conversation such that when we reach the punch line, we guffaw in embarrassed recognition of the jest.
I’m thoroughly enjoying his work. I’d long heard of his comic acuity. Having the opportunity to read him for myself, I now understand just how talented he was.