John Lennox is University Professor, Department of English, York University and a specialist in Canadian literature. His research interests focus on literary history, life writing, and editing. His recent publications include “Letters and the Editor” in CANADA: Society and the Individual (Siauliai University, Lithuania, 2006) and an introduction to Ralph Connor’s The Arm of Gold (Formac, 2007).
Personal Statement About Topic:
I have long admired Deacon. He left the practice of law to become a professional literary critic at a time when such an occupation was at best uncertain and most often perilous. Over his forty-year career as a well-known and widely read bookman in the pages of the periodical and popular press, he aimed to create a readership for Canadian writers and writing. Against all odds, he succeeded which was and is a tremendous achievement for him and for Canadian letters. Part of that achievement came from his early recognition of publishers as colleagues and his whole-hearted willingness to work with them in a common cause many years before the bulwark of the Canada Council, of other governmental cultural supports, and of the assured mass readership of high school and university curricula devoted to the study of Canadian literature. In good times and bad, Deacon never lost faith in his ambition for Canada. He simply worked on until he was no longer able to do so. For his contribution to the cultural making of this country in the first half of the twentieth century, he looms very large for me in the circle of extraordinary Canadians.