Mariposa Moves On: Leacock’s Darkening “Sequel” to Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town


While Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) remains the most important work of his career and the dominant focus of modern Leacock scholarship, his 1943 "sequel" to the Sketches—a cycle of short tales produced in aid of the Fourth Victory Loan and collectively called "Mariposa Moves On”—sheds unexpected light on the original Sketches while nevertheless having suffered from near-total critical neglect. The new sketches show Mariposa in the shadow of the Second World War, with the townsfolk coming together to raise money for the Loan. Through these eight short tales, Leacock conducts an ambivalent return to the little town in the sunshine that shows, in partial fulfillment of the melancholy warnings offered in the original work’s “Envoi,” that what remains fixed in memory will often be radically changed by experience.

This article “Mariposa Moves On: Leacock’s Darkening “Sequel” to Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town” originally appeared in Recursive Time. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 222 (Autumn 2014): 70-83.

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