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Hugh MacLennan (1907–1990)

Author of Two Solitudes

25+ Works 1,454 Members 36 Reviews 7 Favorited

About the Author

John Hugh MacLennan was born in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on March 20, 1907. He was educated at Dalhousie University, Oxford University, and Princeton University. He taught English at Lower Canada College and McGill University. His first book, Barometer Rising, was published in 1941. His show more other works included Each Man's Son, Return of the Sphinx, Voices in Time, and The Other Side of Hugh MacLennan. He won the Governor General's Literary Award three times for fiction for Two Solitudes, The Precipice, and The Watch that Ends the Night and twice for nonfiction for Cross-Country and Thirty and Three. He also won a Royal Bank Award in 1984 and in 1987 he became the first Canadian to receive Princeton University's James Madison Medal. He died on November 7, 1990. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Hugh MacLennan

Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by Hugh MacLennan

Associated Works

From Ink Lake: Canadian Stories (1990) — Contributor — 124 copies
A Book of Essays (1963) — Contributor — 26 copies


Common Knowledge



A classic novel on the immiscible French and English cultures of Canada.
sfj2 | 9 other reviews | Jun 11, 2022 |
3.25 stars

It’s 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Penny (a woman working at the shipyard – very unusual for the time)’s love (and cousin) has been at war and he’s missing. They all think he’s dead. So, when Angus (much older than Penny) asks her to marry him, she accepts. Only days later, the Halifax Harbour goes up in an explosion.

The book only follows just over one week. It took longer than I liked to get to the explosion. Leading up to it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the explosion itself and the aftermath, but not long after, it concluded mostly with their regular lives again. If there had been more focus on the disaster, I would have enjoyed it more, I’m sure. There was an afterword by another “classic” Canadian author, Alistair Macleod – one of those that analyzes the book; one of the ones that should never be an introduction but often is (because it gives away the story)! Luckily, it was an afterword.… (more)
LibraryCin | 7 other reviews | Jan 6, 2021 |
His books start off well and then get lost.
mahallett | 9 other reviews | Aug 2, 2020 |
This collection didn’t grab me the same way Cross Country did — the essays on the English culture felt somewhat pointless to this 21st-century reader. I would have liked more of the ones he wrote about Canada: the one about Diefenbaker was especially interesting, and I liked his descriptions of the weather in the Eastern Townships.

All of the essays in this collection were well written, but sometimes I couldn’t tell MacLennan’s actual position on an issue; was he talking about these things because he liked them or because he didn’t? Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention. This is probably one of those books that works better as a bedside book than something read on the bus in 20-minute spurts.… (more)
rabbitprincess | 1 other review | Aug 28, 2019 |



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Associated Authors

Pierre Berton Editorial Director
John de Visser Photographer
Jutta Knaust Translator
Theodor Knaust Translator
Hugo McPherson Introduction
Frank Newfeld Cover artist


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