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Morley Callaghan Biography

(1903–90), Three Stories and Ten Poems, That Summer in Paris, Strange Fugitive

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Burghers of Calais to Peter Carey Biography

Canadian novelist, born in Toronto, educated at Toronto University and Osgoode Law School. In 1923, Callaghan met Ernest Hemingway to whom he showed his Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923); Hemingway encouraged Callaghan to write, and took some of his work back to Paris with him. The day after his marriage in April 1929 Callaghan left for Paris. That Summer in Paris (1963) is an introduction to this period of his life and work; he met James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, Sinclair Lewis, and others, and had the rare experience of knocking down Ernest Hemingway in a boxing bout refereed by Scott Fitzgerald. After his return from Paris Callaghan spent time in New York, where he knew writers such as Sherwood Anderson, William Saroyan, and William Carlos Williams. Early fiction works were Strange Fugitive (1928), whose setting during Toronto's Prohibition period sharpened the focus on an individual unable to adjust to society; It's Never Over (1930); A Broken Journey (1932); Such Is My Beloved (1934); and More Joy in Heaven (1937). The poet F. R. Scott said at the presentation to Callaghan of the Lorne Pierce Medal for Canadian Literature in 1960 that ‘with the appearance of Strange Fugitive in 1928, Canadian fiction could no longer be regarded as a pale extension of the English tradition’. After 1933, Callaghan abandoned stress upon physical action, espousing an overtly Christian humanism which was to inform his subsequent writings. These include The Loved and the Lost (1951), The Many Colored Coat (1960), and A Fine and Private Place (1975). Later publications are the novel Our Lady of the Snows (1985) and The Lost and Found Stories of Morley Callaghan (1985); A Time for Judas (1983) was an extraordinary reworking of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. In 1982 Callaghan was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

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