MacLennan, Hugh

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MacLennan, Hugh

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1907-1990

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Hugh MacLennan was a Canadian novelist, essayist and professor. He was born at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in 1907, the son of a Calvinist physician. He was strongly encouraged to study Classics by his father, and received a Rhodes Scholarship. While at Oxford he studied Greek and Latin, while also beginning to write poetry. He continued his education with a doctorate in Classics at Princeton University. He wrote his first novel while at Princeton, but was not able to publish it. He settled in Montreal and took a teaching job at Lower Canada College. After he failed to publish two finished novels, his wife convinced him to write about Canada. This resulted in his first published novel, Barometer Rising (1941), about life in Nova Scotia and the Halifax Explosion, which MacLennan had witnessed as a ten-year old. This was followed by his most famous novel, Two Solitudes (19145), which won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. MacLennan would win four additional Governor General’s Awards in both fiction and non-fiction: The Precipice (1948), Cross-country (1949), Thirty and Three (1954) and The Watch That Ends the Night (1957). In 1951, MacLennan became a professor at McGill University, where he would teach Marian Engel and Leonard Cohen. In 1967, he was a made a Companion of the Order of Canada. He died in Montreal in 1990.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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