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My Discovery of England

Stephen Leacock

Book Overview: 

"In the course of time a very considerable public feeling was aroused in the United States and Canada over this state of affairs. The lack of reciprocity in it seemed unfair. It was felt (or at least I felt) that the time had come when some one ought to go over and take some impressions off England. The choice of such a person (my choice) fell upon myself. By an arrangement with the Geographical Society of America, acting in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society of England (to both of whom I communicated my proposal), I went at my own expense."

And from thence follow the impressions of Canadian political economist and humourist, Stephen Leacock, after a lecturing visit to England.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Jim Smith's hotel and then take him either to the Y.M.C.A. Pool Room or else over to the tea social in the basement of the Presbyterian Church.

Unluckily the prince couldn't stay. It turned out that he had to get right back into his train and go on to Peterborough, Ontario, where they were to have a brass band to meet him, which naturally he didn't want to miss.

But the point is that it was a real welcome. And you could see that the prince appreciated it. There was a warmth and a meaning to it that the prince understood at once. It was a pity that he couldn't have stayed over and had time to see the carriage factory and the new sewerage plant. We all told the prince that he must come back and he said that if he could he most certainly would. When the prince's train pulled out of the station and we all went back uptown together (it was before prohibition came to Ontario) you could feel that the institution of royalty was quite solid in Orillia for a . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This book was published in 1922, and since it deals with Current Culture and Affairs, it's a bit like looking into a time machine.

Mr. Leacock published this volume of his impressions of the British Isles after going on a humorous lecture tour there, and he covers Prohibition, Education, Publishi...more

I have a soft spot for very old humour. This book is largely out of date in its view of england and the topics of the day (women in academia, for example) but surprisingly, a lot of its observations still ring true.
He is unsound on puns.

This was a fun book. Certain chapters held my attention more than others, but it was a happy read. He is so droll, so under the radar in his humour that time passes quickly. Add a half to that last star!

A few good lines, but very dated, not funny by today's standards (and not as funny as Leacock's other work). One chapter is more or less an Ayn Rand rant (Leacock was also an "Political Scientist") with no attempt at humor (and BTW, with 20/20 hindsight Leacock turned out to be wrong: He argues i...more

Very dry humor and interesting to read Leacock on serious topics.

He does not bash women herein as some reviews have insisted, rather he is against co-educating them, ie, schooling them alongside men.

Great fun, until he started bashing women, with no hint of satire in sight.

Layton's book involves him travelling to England, from his native Canada, and writing in the slightly patronising and earnestly parochial way that English writers favoured while touring North America. His description of English people coming to mine, and then sell, their impressions of America is...more