1 minute read

John Metcalf Biography

(1938– ), The Lady Who Sold the Furniture, Going Down Slow, General Ludd

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: McTeague to Nancy [Freeman] Mitford Biography

Canadian novelistand short-story writer, born in Carlisle, England, educated at the University of Bristol; he emigrated to Canada in 1962. After teaching in Loyola College in Montreal he became a full-time writer in 1971. His abiding reputation as one of the finest prose stylists in contemporary Canada was established with the vividly observed and imaginatively disquieting stories collected in The Lady Who Sold the Furniture (1970). His first novel, Going Down Slow (1972), centres on the personal and professional conflicts surrounding a school teacher whose artistic and political idealism sets him at odds with a prevailingly materialistic cultural order. A similar disaffection characterizes General Ludd (1980), Metcalf's second novel, which satirizes the pretensions pervading contemporary higher education. The Teeth of my Father (1975), Girl in Gingham (1978), and Adult Entertainment (1986) are further collections of the short-stories and novellas which are often regarded as his best work; Selected Stories appeared in 1982. Metcalf's critical writings, which include Kicking Against the Pricks (1982) and Freedom from Culture (1987), frequently castigate Canadian literature for what he considers its provincial orientation. Writers in Aspic (1988) and The New Story Writers (1992) are among the numerous anthologies of fiction he has edited.

Additional topics