Poetry is the foundation of E.J. Pratt's eminence in Canadian literary history, yet there exists a significant body of his work which has not been widely available until now. Pratt was a prolific writer of prose and an important commentator on the literature and life of his day.
Pratt had a varied career as the theological student, psychology scholar, and professor of English. As editor of Canadian Poetry he fostered poets like Earle Birney and Dorothy Livesay, and the editorials he wrote while at the help of the magazine are important documents of Canadian literary history. His prose records both his dislike of modernism's 'obscurantist excesses' and his sympathy with its anti-romanticism. In his writing he was equally impatient with naive optimist and unrelieved pessimism, seeking a mean when he argued that 'messages of hope and faith need to be run through the bulletins of realism.'
In Pursuits Amateur and Academic Susan Gingell has gathered together stories, essays, editorials, reviews, prefaces, introductions, and lectures, some of them previously unpublished. This volume not only enhances our understanding of Pratt's poetry, but gives us considerable insight into both the rich dimensions of Pratt's life outside poetry and the cultural and intellectual life of his times.