Brown, Edward Killoran

From Senior College Encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search

English /Literary Criticism


After Edward Killoran Brown had obtained his B.A. in Modern Languages he became a student in Paris, Edinburgh and London between 1926-1929. He developed two theses: "The French Reputation of Matthew Arnold", and one on Edith Wharton for which he was awarded the doctorat d'etat by the University of Paris in 1935. The former he used to contribute to Studies in English by Members of University College Toronto when Malcolm Wallace offered him a lectureship in 1929.

Harris, Robin S. English Studies at Toronto A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.

Although a major portion of his career was spent outside Canada, E.K. Brown was considered to be the country's most important literary critics of the first half of the twentieth century, and one of the scholars most responsible for the identification and articulation - and fostering - of an authentic Canadian literary tradition. Brown was born in Toronto, and completed his first degree at the University of Toronto in 1926. After a period of scholarly exploration in England, he finally chose the University of Paris for his doctoral study, completing a Docteur-ès-Lettres there in 1935, focusing his study on the work of Edith Wharton and Matthew Arnold. Brown had begun teaching in the Department of English at the University of Toronto in 1929, and continued in that institution until 1941, with the exception of a two-year period (1935-1937) when he served as Head of the Department of English at the University of Manitoba. Brown moved in 1941 to Cornell University as Head of that institution's Department of English until 1944. At that point, he moved to his final appointment, as Professor of English at the University of Chicago, where he was teaching at his early death in 1951.

In recognition of his career-long contribution to Canadian literature, Brown was posthumously accorded the Lorne Piece Medal by the Royal Society of Canada. He left a rich legacy of scholarly publications - perhaps most significantly On Canadian Poetry (1943), which was accorded the Governor-General's Award for academic non-fiction in 1944, and is considered to have been a shaping influence in the subsequent development of the field. In addition to these scholarly publications,  Brown played a significant role in a number of the enterprises that were struggling to understand and to foster the Canadian literary tradition. During his time at his home University, Brown acted as a co-editor of both the Canadian Forum (1930-1933) and the University of Toronto Quarterly (1932-1941), in the latter of which his most notable contribution was perhaps the annual 'Letters in Canada' reviews. ADG


Groening, Laura Smyth. E.K. Brown. A Study in Conflict. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993

David Staines, ed. Responses and Evaluations: Essays on Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart (NCL), 1977