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Hugh Maclennan (John Hugh Maclennan) Biography

(1907–90), (John Hugh Maclennan), Barometer Rising, Two Solitudes, The Watch that Ends the Night

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Canadian novelist, born in Glace Bay, Cape Breton Island, educated at Dalhousie University (Halifax), Oxford University, and Princeton. One of Canada's best-known novelists, MacLennan was primarily a writer of allegorical fiction with a humanist message and a strong commitment to exploring the changing nature of Canadian identity. He took a complex view of his country, seeing Canada as occupying a middle ground between Old World classical humanist values and New World materialism. His first novel, Barometer Rising (1941), was set in Halifax in the First World War and centred on a devastating explosion in the city's harbour, which he views in the novel as signalling the end of the colonial era in Canada. Two Solitudes (1945) is set in Quebec and explores the social, cultural, and linguistic separateness of francophone and anglophone Canada. The Watch that Ends the Night (1959) contrasts the intersecting careers of two representative Canadian figures, the morally serious stay-at-home narrator and an adventurous and flamboyant internationalist. Voices in Time (1980), a science fiction novel set in a post-nuclear holocaust Montreal, reviews twentieth-century Western history and may be read as MacLennan's ultimate statement on the decline of Western civilization. Other works include The Precipice (1948), Each Man's Son (1951), Return of the Sphinx (1967), and three volumes of highly regarded essays.

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