Sunday, 30 January 2011

Earl Birney's Books In Malcolm Lowry's Library

Earle Alfred Birney, OC, FRSC (13 May 1904 – 3 September 1995) was a distinguished Canadian poet. He was twice winner of the Governor General's Award for Literature (for David and Other Poems, 1942, and for Now Is Time, 1945).

Birney was a professor in the English Department of the University of British Columbia when he and Lowry met in 1947. The Birneys and the Lowrys became friends and Birney actively supported Lowry's work and reputation.

Birney was born in Calgary, Alberta, and raised on a farm in Erickson, near Creston, his childhood was somewhat isolated. After working as a farm hand, a bank clerk, and a park ranger, Birney went on to college to study chemical engineering but graduated with a degree in English. He studied at the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of California, Berkeley and University of London.
Through a brief and quickly annulled marriage to Sylvia Johnston, he was introduced to Trotskyism. In the 1930s he was an active Trotskyist in Canada and Britain and was the leading figure in the Socialist Workers League but drifted away from the movement during World War II.

During the conflict, he served as a personnel officer in the Canadian Army, which inspired creation of the title character of his comic military novel, Turvey (1949), a saga of one hapless soldier's struggle to get to 'the sharp end' of the fighting in Holland and Germany during 1944-45. The character of Turvey is a fascinating melange of country boy innocent, common sense utilitarian and town fool, and seems to have been fashioned as a foil to the eccentrically pseudo-sophisticated Canadian military life as illustrated in the novel. The book has been described as "uproariously ribald",[1] winning the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

Birney published his second novel, Down the Long Table, in 1955.

In 1970 Birney was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

In 1995 Birney died of a heart attack.

The following books by Birney were in Malc's library:

Malc's copy was inscribed "With admiration, to Malcolm and Margerie Lowry. Earl Birney."

Malc's copy is inscribed "For Malcolm and Margerie Lowry in friendship and admiration Earle Birney"

Malc's copy is inscribed: "For Malcolm, no lady, Margerie, no sailor, with admiration and affection from Earle and Topsy Turvey". Malc aslo wrote a blurb for the dust cover for the McClelland & Stewart 1949 edition.

Malc also had a copy of Birney's anthology Twentieth Century Canadian Poetry published in 1953.

Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable or Beauties and Legends of Charlemagne of Mythology

Thomas Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 - May 27, 1867[1]) was an American writer, born in Newton, Massachusetts. Bulfinch belonged to a well educated Bostonian merchant family of modest means. His father was Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the Massachusetts State House in Boston and parts of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Bulfinch supported himself through his position at the Merchants' Bank of Boston. Read more on Wikipedia

Bulfinch's Mythology is a collection of the works of Thomas Bulfinch, renamed after him and published after his death. It is a classic work of mythology and is still in print 150 years after the first work, Age of Fable, was published in 1855.

See a full list of myths included in book

The Consolation of Philosophy (The Consolation of Philosophy; The Imitation of Christ; Religio Medici)

The above book was originally in Malc's Library but is currently missing according to the UBC Archive records.

The book consists of 3 religious texts - Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius,The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Religio Medici by Sir Thomas Browne introduced by Irwin Edman

Irwin Edman (November 28, 1896 – September 4, 1954) was an American philosopher and professor of philosophy. He was born in New York City to Jewish parents. Edman spent his high-school years at Townsend Harris Hall, a New York high school for superior pupils. He then attended Columbia University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1917, and his Ph.D. in 1920. He became a professor of philosophy at Columbia, and during the course of his career he rose to serve as head of the philosophy department. He also served as a visiting lecturer at Oxford University, Amherst College, the University of California, and Harvard and Wesleyan Universities. The United States Department of State and the Brazilian government in 1945 sponsored a series of lectures he gave in Rio de Janeiro.

Edman was known for the “charm and clarity” of his writing, and for being an open-minded critic. He was a popular professor and served as a mentor to undergraduate students, notably Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk (Columbia class of 1934), who dedicated his first novel to Edman.

In addition to writing philosophical works, Irwin Edman was a frequent contributor to literary magazines such as The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and Commentary.

In 1953, Professor Edman was elected vice president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Irwin Edman published many books on philosophy as well as poetry and some fiction. Some of his works include “Philosopher’s Holiday,” “Richard Kane Looks at Life,” “Four Ways of Philosophy,” "Philosopher's Quest," and “Arts and the Man – An Introduction to Aesthetics.”